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Lets see how we disagree Michal.
I show artists reproductions all the time myself. I will also try
to give some time and consideration to how I will present them,
how individuals in my class will respond to them, and what
accomodations might be useful. I try never to give an assignment
based on an original or a reproduction where I don't think that a
majority of the class can do almost as good a job as or better
than their parents. (Have we ever looked at parent work BTW?
Visiting parents get the same assignments as the kids in my
classes. Kids, not infrequently, produce the better work.
Parents, not infrequently produce at a level comparable to 1st or
" > my students all know " Well yes, of course the know,
especially if you remind them frequently. But what exactly does
that mean? My students "know" an incredible amount of data which
is essentially meaningless to them, but they know that they are
supposed to know and so they do---as long as necessary.
BUT, How do they FEEL about practice? Is it worth the effort for
them or do they only "practice" because it is assigned and
assumed to be required? If we walk out to the basketball court we
can look at what students do when the teacher isn't around. If we
walk around the school we'll see if we find the same amount of
energy being put in to art practice---as represented in our
classrooms---without teacher input. We can look at the artwork
associated with assignments in other disciplines--history and
biology for example. How well does it reflect an exposure to the
reproductions which we choose and practice of the lessons of
" > but these are also my laziest kids who want the results
without the work. "
How seriously do they believe that the work will lead to success
FOR THEM? Is it worth the effort FOR THEM? It's easy to put the
responsibility on the kids; but it's only fair to a limited
degree. There is, most likely, a lot more going on than kids
simply being lazy. Check it out. These kids ARE very probably
working hard on something somewhere--maybe not something academic
or artistic however. Still, that's NOT being lazy; it's merely an
efficient use of energy. "Work on what is important." If they are
not working on art WHY NOT? Oh yeah, sure. They would like to do
better BUT ART ISN'T IMPORTANT ENOUGH TO THEM is one message
which I can find here. . . . MAYBE. Just because I can interpret
things in a certain way doesn't make it so or even reasonable.
"Criticism" is just as often a creative and imaginative endeavor
with little if any actual relationship to its subject. Being
RIGHT isn't as important as exploring alternatives and finding
what fits the best and where.
My job as an elementary art teacher--the precise reason I became
one--is that I had encountered too many little kids, who, in
primary grades already "knew" that they wouldn't be artists or
have any important relationship to art. I'm not in the classroom
to improve anyone or their skills. I'm there to try and get my
charges engaged, in some way, in aesthetic practice. Improvement,
especially at the k-5 level, seems kind of jumping the gun
considering the state of art in North America today where hardly
anyone grasps how central certain aspects of art and aesthetics
are to their lives and identities. I'd argue to save practice
leading towards "improvement" for self-identified specialists in
high school and college--but that's me.
One thing I am NOT in the ArtEd classroom for is to specialize in
building consumers for the broad arts industry which includes:
galleries, auction houses, museums, interior designers, mall
poster shops, and the clearance shelves at Walmart. We have an
entire planet, full of people who are engaged in art in one way
or another and the vast majority of them never enter such places
and generally have a quite different relationship to art. Seeing
as that relationship is not based on commercial interest and
potential profit I have a little more respect for it. Again,
that's me--not what anyone is supposed to think.
Now there is a lot of stuff which I don't know. I may have an
idea what my kids know but I have no confidence that I actually
KNOW anything highly significant about it. I am constrained to
"know" about my kids competence interms of academic protocols but
I don't have a tremendous amount of confidence in them either.
I believe that "real" art is for everyone. I really have an
antipathy towards activity art which uses materials not found in
the 'real" model, and provides reasons for making"Art" from some
original model which do not correspond to the purpose behing the
existence of the original "real" work. I believe in "real" art
tools and materials. The reason that artists want to use the best
materials is often because they art the easiest way to accomplish
superior work and I see no reason to make student work more
difficult by being cheap.
" > Now if I took the Remington in and expected the kids to
> they saw in clay, then yes, I can imagine frustration. "
My original post was more about what THE KIDS EXPECTED; more
specifically, what I expected of myself as a kid. Clearly I was
not typical. Further it was about what THE KIDS BELIEVED was
expected of them; specifically, what I believed could expected of
me as a kid. Again, clearly I was not typical. If today I only
teach to the typical kid then it seems that I would probably be
willing to accept that kids who were less than typical would fall
through the cracks and that there was, in education, a viable
notion of "acceptable losses." I don't accept that.
One of my reasons for showing up and posting on this list is to
say that "Hey, there was once a kid in art class who had these
kinds of experiences and WAS generally allowed to slip through
the cracks. If you don't have someone like me this year maybe it
will be next year." I represent a small statistical minority in
Art Ed classrooms. I'm even a greater rarity because I continued
to pursue art despite a label of "Lazy Kid" while a greater
percentage probably just became frustrated consumers and
non-practicing connoisseurs. (How many of us do you suppose
actually become Art Teachers?)
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