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The Accidental Docent

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From: Woody Duncan (woodyduncan_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Thu Mar 31 2005 - 14:33:14 PST


I was shadowing my fourth tour this morning when I was asked
to show a group of 2nd graders where the next exhibit area
was. Only there was no docent at that station to guide them.
So, I did it. I used the old question and response technique
and it went great. The students were full of information and
eager to be so involved. After I took them to the next area
I was asked to go back to do it again with another group.
I used 4 to 5 of the paintings in an area where old Taos
artists were exhibited so I knew the work. But it would not
have mattered because the kids did all the work. It felt
great to be interacting with students again. The kids were
aware of the mix up and knew I had never done this before.
One little black girl said, "Woody, you are going to be in
real trouble." I told her not to worry, that I could take
the heat. The teachers accompanying the groups said I did a
good job. It felt good.
        As art teachers we know that if it's a good painting
everything you need to know is in the work itself. I'm
seeing too many docents talking too much and not really
involving the students. The Albuquerque museum is a great
resource but you want these students to come back and bring
their parents. The children should feel comfortable looking at
and explaining art to their parents.
                Woody, Retired in Albuquerque

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