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RE: Pushing Quality

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From: C Kerch (ckerch_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Thu Mar 24 2005 - 00:32:25 PST


I love this discussion and it is something my middle school team speak
about. We go round and round about pushing quality of work from our
students not only in Art but in all subject areas. Here is my 2cents on the
subject which I hope doesn't offend anyone.

How do you push quality and what does it look like? For example, I have a
terrific art piece done by a former student who allowed me to keep it for
future example of "quality". I show it to my students at the beginning of
each year as a demonstration on what "quality" can look like then I show
them a piece of "lesser quality" from a student who didn't put any effort
into his piece and rushed through it just to finish the project. I tell my
students the grade of each piece and emphasize the need to put in Effort in
order to achieve Quality or an A. BUT I also show them another piece of
"quality" from a former student with little skill and less gifted as the
first but who put in such great effort, time and enthusiasm that although it
might fit what most people consider as "quality" the student still received
an A because in this case "quality" is defined as producing the best that
one can with one's skill level. I might be wrong in my method of pushing
quality to my students but my goal is to help my students reach their
potential without feeling intimidated by the "best" artist in the room. I
have art students who have been with me for two years and still can't draw
well or create a simple pinchpot but to tell them that they are not creating
"quality" work because it isn't at the skill level of their classmates does
more damage then good. Honestly, I often feel that I've failed my students
when they don't move beyond a certain skill level and sometimes I feel that
these same students are not producing quality pieces but then I have to
remind myself that I'm not here to produce little Da Vinci's. The reason I
became an art teacher was to nurture my students appreciation of art and
build their creativity not kill it. Isn't that considered pushing for
quality?

Mahalo,
Cathy
Honolulu, HI

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