I teach middle school kids (6th, 7th & 8th) and I mostly do two part lessons. I focus on technique as a way to combat the "I can't do it" syndrome that is very prevalent in my classes, but always devise an open ended more unique and personal project as a way for them to "do something" with the technique. This works with most media, themes, and concepts. I am doing color and value with 6th grade and we start with a basic color wheel, move onto a abstract color and value design and end with a abstract emotion piece that uses the properties of color to express a mood or emotion that is significant to them. I try to find a balance and it seems to work for my kids. I get less frustration because they "know how" to do something, but I don't do little cookie cutter lessons with no individuality.
Sarai in Michigan
Clarenceville Middle School
Clarenceville School District
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Chayne, perhaps you can email me back off the list. I am very
interested in your question. I find most teachers are more apt to
work on technique these days. I think this may be the result of DBAE
and the strong swing away from affective/emotive art making from the
60s and 70s.
Many teachers are not sure how to motivate for expression, and from
my research are sometimes uncomfortable with results. If encouraged,
students may make works of art that are close to their concerns, such
as school violence (the top fear of children according to one poll),
but the images they create may not be considered "school appropriate"
I would love to know what you and others on the list think. The list
is familiar with my queries on teaching contemporary art (last two
decades) and viewing controversial art, even historical subjects if
nudity is involved.
Your question seems relevant to my studies. What is going on in your
school? Do preservice teachers talk about school regulations and
censorship of student work? Of the work of art teachers (their art
practices)? Let me know. Thank you