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Re: [teacherartexchange] What's TAB Choice?


Date: Wed Mar 01 2006 - 16:52:13 PST

-----Original Message-----
From: Sheri Fried <>
 << I have never heard of TAB. Do

Hi Sheri and Rebecca,

I appreciate Judy's prompt response to your query.

I began a choice based program in 1974 with the help and mentoring of a
gifted painter, who was not an art education major. He went on to be
head of painting at RISD a few years ago.

TAB stands for "Teaching for Artistic Behavior"

Choice-based teaching and learning delivers in-depth curriculum in the
context of student-centered work. This is an art teaching concept which
allows for curriculum to be presented in-depth within the context of
work chosen by student artists. Given broad responsibilities and high
standards, children are able to organize the reality of their lives and
interests into vigorous images. Classrooms are arranged as studios, and
the effective organization of space, time, and materials enables
students to create work which is individual and compelling. The
Teaching for Artistic Behavior Partnership (TAB) is a professional
group supporting this nationally recognized, choice-based
(studio/learning) centers approach to teaching art. Developed in
Massachusetts classrooms over thirty years, and through courses and
research at the Massachusetts College of Art, this concept allows
students to experience the work of the artist through teaching which is
responsive to their needs and interests. We are committed to supporting
and encouraging teachers who would like to provide authentic art making
opportunities for students in schools.

<<How do I ensure that all my students learn
the concepts that I wish to teach?>>

The very first concept that choice based teachers want their students
to learn is what artists do. As our honored colleague Pauline Joseph
used to say "The job of the artist is to have an idea and then find
the best material to express it. Or, to find a material that leads to
an idea." We believe that this is the real work of the artist and our
primary goal is to provide opportunities for students to do this real
work. Instruction is provided each week, of techniques, materials, art
history, etc. in brief whole group presentations. Students may then
use that information immediately, or go to a center in the classroom to
do the work of their choice. Everything in the centers has been
introduced in these brief but thorough demonstrations. In a full
fledged choice program students choose subject matter and medium each

Classrooms are highly organized so that students know where to find and
return all materials. Students are taught how to set up and care for
their own materials. Responsibilities are clearly deliniated and
students are expected to be in charge of their learning. Students can
be accountable to any grading system required in their school.

Choice based teachers recognize the difference between what we teach
and what students have learned. We believe that, as Peter London says
"authentic learnng is consentual and self-sustaining". All students
choose to learn or not. I chose to forget every part of my high school
chemistry experience as soon as I had passed the final. But we know
what we teach and we can see what students know and do not know as we
carefully observe them working independently.

The TAB Partnership has an extensive web presence and is included in
80,81 (Davis Publications, 2005)

We are the visual art content providers for the Department of Education

Our listserv is at

Other sites and web logs include:
"Recent Art Work from TAB Classrooms at NAEA" This is a virtual tour of
a national exhibition of work from 14 schools in 6 states at the
Arnheim Gallery in Boston.
"Choice-Based Art Education" This is a growing resource for
choice-based art education by Clark Fralick and Staci Konesky.
"Teaching for Artistic Behavior" Judy Decker (part of Incredible Art
Department website)
"Teaching for Artistic Behavior" Katherine Douglas (elementary art,
"Transition to Choice Based Art Education" Clyde Gaw (elementary art,
"The Wonderful World of Discovery" Clark Fralick (elementary art,
"Art at RMS" Nan Hathaway (gifted and talented school K-8, Colorado)
"My Choice-Based Art Room Carolyn Kinniery (elementary art,
"Choice Based Art for Students with Disabilities" Kathy Velon (Vermont)
"Elmwood's Art Studio" Bonnie Muir (elementary art, Massachusetts)
"A good thing happened in the art room today" Laurie Jakubiak
(elementary art, Massachusetts)
"TAB-choice Art at McAuliffe Elementary" Ann Gray (elementary art,
"Art at Jackman" Heather Scott (elementary art, Ohio)
"The Virtual Classroom" Cynthia Gaub (middle school art, Washington
"parklane choice" Deborah Gilbert (elementary art, Colorado)>>

This is probably much more information than you wanted, but I love to
talk about it.
I have been teaching elementary art since 1969 and I love to go to work
every day.

kathy douglas
in massachusetts

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