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[teacherartexchange] Abstract or concrete


From: Pam (pgstephens_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Wed Jul 20 2005 - 07:10:23 PDT

Hi, Maggie:

>>I have been reading this exchange with interest. Pam and Diane, I view
your role as challengers of the norm, asking us to think before we do.
That being said, I wonder how you would, if only being given 4 1/2
weeks--or 9 weeks-- with your pre-service art education students--what
would you teach? The abstract or the concrete?<<

First let me say that I taught at the elementary level for 11 years and then
spent another four as a mentor for TETAC. I know the challenges of seeing
kids only a few moments each week or every other week or whatever. The last
elementary where I taught had the additional challenge of being a United
Nations sort of place with about 23 cultures and 50 plus languages at any
given time.

Now, let me explain how my pre-service courses are set up. I have a
learner-centered, problem-based program wherein students identify a problem
to solve and they solve it during the course of the semester. So, from that
standpoint, I deal with the abstract to the concrete. In addition to this,
there is a continual thread through the semester that requires reading and
discussion of text.

In my own college experience I found too much theory and not enough
practical application. My students get a balance. I expect them to
demonstrate knowledge through application. Pencil/paper tests are not my
mode of evaluating what student know. They have to demonstrate knowledge
through application.

To answer your question, abstract or concrete, I couldn't pick one or the
other. My teaching is a blend. Both are important to learning and to the
development of quality art teachers.


Join us in June 2006 for Paris, Avignon, and the French Riviera
Space is limited --- E-mail this address for details
For art teaching resources, professional development, & travel, visit:
For information about the NAU art education program:
Pamela G. Stephens, PhD
Northern Arizona University
Art Education
P.O. Box 6020
Flagstaff, AZ 86011-6020
928.523.2432 (voice mail) 928.523.3333 (fax)

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