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Re: Is art education dead?


From: Patricia Knott (pknott_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Mon Jun 10 2002 - 21:08:34 PDT

Well if it isn't dead we will beat it to death :)

From Teresa:
> I like to think that what is dead in our educational
> systems and our approaches is just compost for new
> growth.

I really like this notion, kind of like making chicken soup out of chicken
I'm feeling very sarcastic because a part of my heart wants the whole public
school system to fall apart, forcing us to take a look and start over. The
other part of my heart wants us to take a look before it totally falls apart
(without us having taken a particular look)

I sit in faculty rooms and meetings and listen to whining and complaining
mostly about teacher needs. And most of that whining and complaining is
about the inconvenience of a "change."

> Learning
> would be more the responsibility of the learner.
> I think it takes leadership within teachers,
> administrators, and school boards to initiate such
> changes. But if we are going to take our students to a
> new future, we need a new way of teaching and learning
> now.

The responsibility of the learner is a huge concern of mine. Currently I sit
on the Strategic Planning Committee of my district. Everything being written
is teacher responsibility. We teachers are looking for some student
responsibility. Teresa, since you are in Europe, perhaps you don't
understand the "legal " fears that drive the initiatives here. It seems
everybody can have everything without any consequences because of the fear
of law suit. It makes no never mind what learning takes place or what
accommodations are made for that learning, if mommy or daddy threatens with
a lawyer ---- all methods are out the window.
Perhaps you don't understand
a class of 30+ half of which have an IEP Forget any intellectualized
method of delivering information- if an IEP says every ten minutes you have
to tap a kid on the shoulder to make sure he is awake and if you don't ,and
he fails, then it's the teacher's fault and he passes anyhow. I will have,
next year, a Downs Syndrome child whose mother is "whacked.' She demands
every lesson, handout, test, a week ahead of time so she can drill the
child. This mom knows the laws and has got the district by the proverbial
"balls' (sorry to be crude) My stomach is in knots with the prospect of
having this mother (not the child).

I just want to know how I'm supposed to be so innovative with concepts when
I am so saddled with Individual Educational Plans and parents so eager to
sue when you don't meet those plans. God forbid, I should do something
outside the IEP.

Unfortunately , I think public school teachers work more under fear, then
innovation. We've come to the point that we just go along with the program
.... 'cause if you deviate you may come under scrutiny. I don't know if
this is the case everywhere , but there certainly is a paranoia where I am.

More and more my job becomes a matter of documentation and not innovation.
When you are under scrutiny by evaluators that may not understand the
innovations, evaluators operating under assessments that may not be so
relevant anymore, you begin weighing the evaluation against the innovations.
I have been battling for years the Madeleine Hunter model for evaluation,
because that's what they use, and I just don't see the fit with art... but
they still use it.

I absolutely agree that there is a need for a new way...
but first ... "we need to get the lawyers"

> To me, the point of engagement has to originate within
> the student, and no longer from within the teacher to
> the student. I believe that the real issue is the
> point of origin and the trajectory for this aspect of
> learning. Teacher-designed or student-designed
> assignment? Teacher-directed or student-initiated
> assignment?
This has to start from day one. I don't know how to suddenly, at the upper
levels, to expect student responsibility, when they have gone through a
system that has coddled, cajoled, hand- fed, and cow-towed to a fear of a
law suit.

It's not only art Ed that is sickly, the whole system is on a respirator
that is waiting for the plug to be pulled.