I think peer teaching and cooperative learning is essential in the
studio classes. I think it can be useful in eliminating much of the
problems and concerns we have with student attention. Giving more
and more responsibility to the students for investigating , and
figuring -- and teaching each other, has eliminated a lot of stress
I teach photo. The physical situation makes it impossible to do large
group demos ( they just can't see. especially in the darkroom)
Students are divided into groups. I demonstrate to representatives of
the group and then they are responsible for partner learning. I
switch partners so none is always the teacher. Of course, I always
keep an eye to the peer teaching to correct and help.
When introducing new refinements in photo, I distribute research
work sheets that all have to complete in groups. They decide in
their group who researches what. I ask that each determine what
technique he/she will teach to the group. I make sure that they truly
understand the process, and they they teach. Just an aside, I have
never been able to do a solarization. I know the steps but it rarely
works for me. By having the kids do the research and the practice --
they have taught me new ways. Kids really take a special pride when
they figure something out. I have found that kids are very happy to
show what they know, especially when few others are getting it. I
don't think I could teach photo anymore without peer teaching. And,
kids like to be monitors and policemen. They are very adept at
telling each other when they are not following proper procedures.
Every period when I go into the darkroom and ask "who needs help?" I
usually find few because they are helping each other. High school
kids will ask each other before they ask me.
In my fine art classes:
I give all "choice" projects so my students are usually doing 20
different things at a time. I have them keep daily logs/reflections.
At least once a week on these objective logs they need to have a peer
make a comment. I try to group similarities in student pursuits. I
may show a few students a "new technique." They pass it on
without me telling them to. I just make sure there are no safety
concerns and then I encourage more exploration.
I always have at least 2 "peer crits" while a project is in process,
before the final crit. I find that kids put themselves into their
own groups and rely on the buddy support. I try to mix that up
often. My question is always -- see what somebody else thinks? and
then weigh the alternatives or stick with what you think. Justify
what you think! Sometimes it's hard to get kids to be willing to say
things that are negative. That's when I have to direct the questions
and remind them of the composition stuff. It's only with practice
and repetition that they relinquish "nice" and "I like it" for
I'm not teaching computer classes now, but in the past it was al
about peer teaching. Anyone who has computer classes know that there
are kids who can do everything and kids who can hardly navigate. And
you have to do is match them up. I would often ask a student to come
to the presentation station and show something. I never got refused.
My rubric varies according to just how much I expect. But at the
minimum it has " Have you participated/ and or incorporated peer
More and more I find that kids are willing to participate in group
interactions with specific duties. They seem to love to do
presentations, which scared the heck out of me when I was a kid . At
least where I teach, we demand that students do more and more oral/
Peer teaching depends on trust. If the art room does not have an
atmosphere for learning, then you just open up discipline problems.
I need to establish first ,that everybody has ideas and solutions
and none may not be better than another. But, being open to ideas is
foremost. I am constantly amazed at relationships that develop when
learning is student centered. And, I'm constantly amazed when they
knock me down, with justification, for not doing what I thought I had
I think it is imperative that we teach kids how to learn and convey
the learning as opposed to regurgitating and mimicking.
So my question is-- Art has always been considered a solitary
pursuit, It's individual. It's sometimes consuming. How do I
compensate for the student that wants no part of the group -- because
that would have been me.
On Jul 11, 2008, at 1:00 PM, Marvin Bartel wrote:
> I am writing an essay about peer learning in studio art classes. Do
> you do intentional things to encourage and guide peer coaching in
> the studio art classroom? Do you have questions about how to
> encourage peer teaching/learning in the art studio classroom? Do
> you have a rubric that helps students understand successful team
> participation. If so, please respond to the list or directly to me.
> Marvin Bartel, Ed.D., Professor of Art Emeritus
> Adjunct in Art Education
> Goshen College, 1700 South Main, Goshen IN 46526
> studio phone: 574-533-0171