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Re: Is art education dead?


From: henry taylor (tortolitascom_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sun Jun 09 2002 - 09:28:23 PDT

> ----- Original Message -----
> I especially liked the comment: "I think we need to
> > let go of trying to figure out the how, why, when,
> > what and where of learning. Instead, we need to
> > simply engage in it and let it take care of itself."

There are times I really want to rush out to embrace
this perspective. In fact, for a good part of last
year I even made the misguided and premature attempt.

I'm in my fifties. I've come into the profession late.
In my head at least I understand a lot of the theory
and ideology being slung around in the colleges of
education and art ed. I've always been prone to get
ahead of myself and the institutions of education, with
one exception, have always been perfectly happy with it's
graduates using a default mode of exposure to curriculum
followed by social promotion. My grandmother would have
called it "a lick and a promise'.

The institution rushed me out the door (along with
everyone else) after I got the idea but before I could
demonstrate adequate skill in practicing what they taught.

Sure, I know all about Behaviorism, Constructivism, and
Differential Teaching but I have those 50 years of
embodied experience to act as my default mode. Give me
half a chance and I'll fall right back into teaching as
my own parents and teachers did because it's comfortable
familiar and, intuitively, it feels "right".

When I'm alone in a classroom with 30 kids and push comes
to shove I drop into what I know SO WELL that I don't have
to think about it--THE OLD WAYS. If I know any better it's
always a mistake to make that jump and "just do it".

That's why we can't afford to "let go of trying to figure
out the how, why, when, what and where of learning" and
carry it over into our didactic practice.

I said that there was one exception. It's the Martial Arts.
It doesn't matter how old you are. You start with one belt
color and rise through the rainbow of rank at your own pace
after passing each level in front of judges. The chance of
the academic world adopting such practices appears to be nil.
So, don't worry.

In martial arts you practice each form until you can do it
in your sleep, with out thinking about it or even being fully
aware of what you are about to do next. In academics there are
no forms only theories. Well, actually Behaviorism might have
gone that way but "the Bright Young Things" in education took
Skinner and re-emphasized the theoretical and intellectual
complexities to the point that few could succeed. Animal
trainers just learned Skinners simple original model and
succeeded. If you are curious there's "Don't Shoot the Dog"
by Karen Pryor.

So if you've forgotten more about Constructivism than I'll
ever know then by all means "let go of trying to figure out
the how, why, when, what and where of learning." You've "got
it" so "Just Do It!" If you ain't there yet... please, step
away from that edge, and don't jump!