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Please read this from Patty Knott


From: Judy Decker (jdecker_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sat Jul 19 2003 - 13:09:53 PDT

Sorry ArtsEdNetters, I am reposting in case you didn't catch the original
subject heading from Patty was important. I ALWAYS read everything Patty
writes. This was much more than an art quote.

I spent sooo long trying to say what I wanted to say and Patty, the
BRILLIANT one, has said it so well. Thank you Patty for saying what I
didn't know how to say - but it was on my mind. I know you folks don't mind
that I decided to send it anyway. I just got back in from talking to my
husband about all this that was on my mind - we had a laugh or two.

I guess what has really been "eating away at me" is that my former school
has cut art from the middle school curriculum (that was my job).....I know
ART is the important subject for many of those kids. I will get "over it".
.......And lo and behold - Patty posts this gem:

>>My research indicates that the most crucial time for
>>art is between the ages of 11-15--- middle school

The entire message from Patty:

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.

Back to Judy .... From now on I will leave the figuring out what is wrong to
someone else (smile). Patty, I think we are on the same page as far as
grading goes. I am glad I did talk about how I felt - I needed that. I will
be over all of this soon -- smile. I will just go back to "my job" of making
your job easier. Just too much thinking today. I found my way to teach by
discovering that other people's way didn't work for me or my students.
I haven't kept up with the research. I am glad I wasn't too far off base.

Judy Decker - Ohio
Incredible Art Department