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RE:[teacherartexchange] teacherartexchange digest: July 03, 2005

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From: Perry Schafer (pschafer_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Mon Jul 04 2005 - 21:30:32 PDT


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I teach years 7 - 12 and find that in the junior (7 - 9) years playing music
can be problematic in that too much time and energy is directed away from
artmaking. I tell them that when their music teacher allows them to paint or
sculpt in her class, then I may consider it. I try to make it a 'rite of
passage' thing with them. In year 10, 11, and 12, if asked I OK it on the
basis of: nothing inappropriate (i.e. nothing that they wouldn't be prepared
to sit down, listen to and discuss with the principal and their parents)
and, they play one of theirs, I play one of mine. Different classes have
different responses. Some classes, the system continues, others lose
interest and don't bother with the music for long stretches but like to know
that it's a possibility.
Recently I asked for a show of hands in a year 8 class on the question of
how many of them watched TV while they did their homework. While I was
expecting a response in the majority I was surprised that the answer was
almost 100%. I decided that I would test their multi-tasking abilities and
offer to run some movies, of my selection, during classes. I chose
appropriately rated movies with an emphasis on visuals rather than
narrative. If one person would prefer not to have the movie on, then it
would not run. This does happen, albeit infrequently and I am constantly
surprised by the acceptance of the rest of the class when it does. The
volume is turned down so that it is unobtrusive and the movie is paused when
I needed to address the class. All in all the exercise has been successful,
and the kids, while still working to the required standard, are also being
given access to examples of an artform that many of them would otherwise not
see. I don't know what I can extrapolate from this, and maybe I just lucked
out with this bunch of kids, guess I'll find out with the next group.

Cheers from Perry in Oz

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