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Re: [teacherartexchange] HS teenaged boys


From: Marvin Bartel (marvinpb_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Wed Mar 01 2006 - 10:37:19 PST

>on 3/1/06 7:55 AM, Rebecca Burch at wrote:
>> I have all these teenage boys...
>I have a several boys who I have trouble "hooking" and reeling in to do art
>projects. I suspect they are in my class rather than study hall...a captive
>I did notice some life yesterday when I introduced altered books, but after
>some thought I have a niggling suspicion about the enthusiasm of the boys.
>MY girls bounded off to the library for discards...and made plans to car
>pool to Hobby Lobby...[ I was preening at such enthusiasm for art]
>Yesterday glued the edges of the books together weighing down the glued
>books with every heavy object in the building... with the intent of
>hollowing out the book...I had an example which was innocent and lovely.
>I am not sure the intent of the lads is so innocent.
>I don't really know how to get them on something...without pulling on the
>nose thru the ring effort...
>in her 8th week of HS art


You are making some astute observations. This has potential--both good and bad.

Many artists have created great art under the influence of hormones and desire. According to a story told by one of his students, soon after he moved from Montana to California, Peter Voulkos was doing a potter's wheel demonstration for a group of visiting coeds from a nearby college. He became so motivated and animated that he invented abstract expressionist ceramics on the spot in the presence of the coeds.

I had a high school boy who attended faithfully, but never lifted a finger to do any artwork. We teachers had just been lectured by the vice principal that students do not fail, teachers fail. We were told to stop sending the slackers to study hall where they would learn nothing at all.

I tried every kind of motivation to no avail. My slacker student told me that the art course did not matter, since he could graduate without the credit. I felt he was a negative influence in the class, so I got the paper work done to send him to study hall. I told him it only needed my signature, and I would sign it the first day he failed to do his work. He said he would rather stay in the class and he would start working. I asked him why he now wanted to work, he said, "My girl friend is in the this class." He worked every day for the remainder of the semester.

Young males have a strong need for attention and admiration. Art projects provide a healthy way to show off. Like fire, animal instincts can be very useful, but also very dangerous. My advice is to use them and exploit them knowingly as ART motivation, but keep very careful watch. Have an experienced teacher with whom to discuss details. Many teachers have lost their careers and more because of poor judgement.

My first job out of college was to replace a teacher who crossed the line with students. I only learned about it after I befriended the custodians. They had been the ones to blow the whistle on the teacher I replaced.


Dr. Marvin Bartel, Ed.D., Professor of Art Emeritus
Goshen College, 1700 South Main, Goshen IN 46526
studio phone: 574-533-0171??
"You can't never know how to do it before you never did it before." ... a kindergarten boy working with clay for the first time.

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