From: Diane C. Gregory
Subject: Re: [teacherartexchange] What is TAB?
How would you say that this approach is different or not, than say, a
constructivist teaching philosophy? Do you see TAB as a constructivist
approach or do you see it as something totally different?>>
Yes! We are very informed by our readings in Constructivist
theory. We feel that is just makes sense as a study of how people
learn best in general, and, although I think it is often used in
science and math settings, it is a productive point of view for art
educators also. For those who are interested in reading more on this I
would recommend IN SEARCH OF UNDERSTANDING: THE CASE FOR CONSTRUCTIVIST
CLASSROOMS by Brooks and Brooks (ASCD, Alexandria, VA 1993) It is very
inexpensive on Amazon.com and is also available there in digital form.
Here are some of my favorite parts of that book:
"Constructivist teachers encourage and accept student autonomy and
initiative." (p. 103)
"Constructivist teachers allow student responses to drive lessons,
shift instructional strategies, and alter content." (p. 105)
"Constructivist teachers inquire about students' understandings of
concepts before sharing their own understandings of those concepts."
"Constructivist teachers engage students in experiences that might
engender contradictions to their initial hypotheses and then encourage
discussion." (p. 112)
"Constructivist teachers provide time for students to construct
relationships and create metaphors." (p. 115)
"Constructivist teachers nurture students' natural curiosity through
frequent use of the learning cycle model." (1. open ended interaction
with materials, ie. discovery 2. teacher provided concept introduction
3. concept application...working on new problems to use knowledge. (p.
We are also interested in the writings of Vygotsky related to the "zone
of proximal development".
We are informed by Peter London's writings in NO MORE SECONDHAND ART,
although we do not generally use his creative encounters.
We are informed by George Szekely's philosophy of the student as
artist, although most of our play experiences are not as elaborate as
Pauline Joseph, TAB teacher Emeritus/Extraordinaire says "The job of
the artist is to have an idea and search for the best material to
express it, or, to find a material that leads to an idea. That is the
real work of the artist."
What we have done is create realistic, do-able practices which allow
this real work to take place in busy school classrooms. I have used
this concept successfully with a schedule of 960 students per week: 30
classes of 30+ students each, a small room and relatively minimal
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