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Knott Just Another Quote


From: Patricia Knott (pknott_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sat Jul 19 2003 - 12:10:52 PDT

Judy embarrasses me.

I just do my homework. I am possessed with research and I think that is
something that should be a rule for teachers --- don't let "it" get beyond
you, keep up with what is going on. There is a lot of crap to weed through
and mostly it's "what 's new is old again." But you have to be on top of
things in order to argue and defend.

I was a child of the 50's when Lowenfeld was the model, and you know what
--- lot's of experts are saying let's revisit Lowenfeld. As we have become
immersed in DBAE and Standards we have forgotten the stages of development
and maybe failure in art comes from expectations that are not
developmentally valid. My research indicates that the most crucial time for
art is between the ages of 11-15--- middle school --- where what do they get
? A marking period at the most? So then I get them in high school with
certain expectations and they don't have it.

Judy and I have had a bit of a private discussion about grading. (Judy, I
hope you don't mind, but I have something to say) I, in my 10 years, have
maybe failed a handful of kids (I teach high school) Those kids were
problems beyond what I can do. I will never penalize a kid that tries. The
expectation may not come close to my rubric, but the doing something is not
a failure. I have wonderful rubrics, but my heart always gives the kid a
break. (And I only say that because I work with somebody who will never give
an A because they couldn't be that good)
I don't understand the standards--- what is proficiency in art? I'm 51
years old and I ain't proficient.

I guess I think our job as art teachers is to provide experiences that are
not Standard. We are different, we don't "fit." We need to celebrate and
advocate that we are different and not try to fit the mold. I guess I'm
just asking that you not try to fit into a 'way" but trust your instincts as
artists and make the "way." The only way we will survive is by being
leaders, not followers, by trusting the instincts that made us artists in
the first place, and by recognizing all those kids that just don't fit. And
give all of them the opportunity to just express.
The best thing that keeps me going are the kids that come back to me and
thank me for just giving them the space to say what they need to say. They
may remember some of the of the standards crap I gave them, but mostly they
remember that I gave them freedom.
That's my lesson to myself.