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[teacherartexchange] Regarding the solitary within the group

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From: Kevan Nitzberg (knitzber_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sun Jul 13 2008 - 06:25:07 PDT


Patty's reflection about the process of creating art being a solitary one
even within the framework of a group struck a chord with me and so I thought
I would respond to it.

I look at the expectations that I have for how my students ought to be
involved with the work being done in my classes and the experiences that I
had when I was in college as a student (my high school art experiences,
unfortunately, were predominantly not a good measure), as well as the
experiences I continue to have as I am still taking classes and workshops
involvong art-making.

I think that in both cases both the solitary and the group experiences are
essential in the development of the understanding of the material being
taught. The engagement with one's own work certainly becomes the keystone
of what we think of in terms of our own artistic expression. All of the
conscious and subconscious decision-making and interaction with the artwork
that takes places is essential to the creation of the work at hand. All
artists have their own processes, procedures and 'inner eye' point of view
that helps to provide the unique lens through which the work in conceived
and concretized. The classroom, however, brings another dimension to the
learning process, though, that is invaluable to being successful as a
student artist. I tell my students that it will be as much from each other
that they learn to work with the media at hand as they will from the
material that I present along the way. They have the unique opportunity in
the artroom to see as many different ways of working and points of view as
there are students. In addition to passive observantion of the development
of each other's work, the peer and group critiquing sessions help them to
both hear and share what the intent of the works around them are expressing
and how each individual student is attempting to arrive at communicating
those intents. Providing an atmosphere where students feel at ease and can
also exchange comments and ask questions of each other is also a critically
important part of what I feel a successful classroom ought to encourage.
Students can be helped to focus that 'social energy' that they come to
school with to the work at hand and through those exchanges, they can take
more ownership of the learning process.

Kevan

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