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ceramics and constructivism


From: dawn stien (dawnstien_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Tue Jun 11 2002 - 03:09:23 PDT

O.K. folks,

I'm ready to play clarification time again.

In many ways I see exploring art studio courses as
constructivist, in general. Students are exploring
the process and making their own inner conclusions.
They should be able to express them through dialogue
or by demonstrating them in a product of some kind.
There can be established criteria that cover essentail

This is different than writing down answers on a

I think that a good facilitator would be able to help
avoid some of the possible problems with their
knowledge. For example, a good facilitator would make
students aware of the fact that an air bubble in the
clay will possibly make the object explode and thereby
destroy that piece and the work of others. This is
not knowledge that needs to be constructed with each
class. If they honestly didn't know, its O.K., they
are constructing knowledge; If they let it happen
again, no knowledge was constructed. Maybe they
forgot, but eventually learning should be

> I have to comment that in my own classes which I am
> almost always paying for, I expect and demand that
> my teachers know the outcomes first and have long,
> detailed answers to my questions--not just a
> bubbly, gee, I don't know, Let's find out together!!
> Sid

Do you take professors/teachers word as the absolute
truth, or do you come to your own conclusions? I
think Constructivism has to do with how you put
everything together.
I also expect there to be some guidelines - I want to
know the assignments, the criteria, and the percentage
each is worth.

I think this what you're getting at with grades is an
assessment issue, more than a learning issue. Yes,
they go together, but they are 2 different areas that
have many different theories.

Maybe Bruner addresses learning and assessment, but
most of what I've read about Constructivism does not.
I think that the Tochon article about poetry that was
linked to here awhile back showed that you can teach
poetry and it can take on many different forms, and
maybe even a life on its own. It doesn't have to be a
regurgitation on paper at a student's desk.

In the same vein, I would say that a mug, does not
have to be a mug. It can be a mug, the mug may take
on different shapes, but if you understand the
formation of mug, then you should be able to
demonstrate them in any form. I may have to be a
vessel that holds water and has a handle or handles.
As a facilitator you teach them the methods and let
them figure out what to do from there. There may be
limitations with the materials, but after you
demonstrate the process of building such a thing that
they must learn, but ultimately its about learning.

Reply or don't. I'll be looking through my resources
in the meantime. Dawn

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