I recently had three teenage boys drop the computer
graphics class at the beginning of the sixth week.
All three boys were seniors, two had recieved high D's
and one a high B on their interims for the quarter.
I had spoken with them on more than one occassion
regarding off-task behavior and inappropriate
language. My main pet peeve was their chatter during
instructional time, read disrespectful.
I moved them to seperate areas of the lab and gave
them enough work that challenged and seemingly
thrilled them. They'd all taken the course before and
had would presumedly have a more etxensive skill set
to draw from.
The two that received the D's earned the grades
because they did not turn work in or bring materials
to class. The student that had the better grade
started working, reduced the poor behavior and
produced gradeable work.
There was one student amongst the three that just went
with the flow,based on the alpha male in the group...
I asked him why he dropped the class
( he's in my homeroom) he told me that I'd given him a
"D", my retort "you earned the grade". I asked him
why he thought he'd earned the "D", he told me because
he did not do his work... So clearly he was aware of
his culpability and made the decision to be outside
the boundaries of the class.
Students make decisions based on their core needs and
in the case of my precious ones it was the need to get
an easy "A" and hang out with one another. When I
interrupted that paradigm for two of them by awarding
them the "D's" , I put a crack in their plan.
When I stuck to my guns about the class expectations
for behavior and work produced that added yet another
chink in their armor. And , the student that was
doing well, just fell in with the other two and bailed
on the class too.
I think that we need to understand that there is a
growing culture of students that don't care if they
learn anything, especially in art classes. They want
the points and the grade and could care less about
attaining transferable skills.
We know that a visual art class offers students a
myriad of higher level learning opportunities and we
need to stick to our message and be unwavering in our
high standards and expectations. We've been to
school, it's their turn.
Let that reality inform how we facilitate our classes.
State the expectations, post the expectations in the
classroom, on the syllabus, excerpt them into the
signature line of your emails to parents and
Site stats about the value of art education...Folks
love stats and they also go for quotes from folks that
they agree with...you can find qoutes by current and
past presidents and their spouses about the arts, use
I am thinking about having my art foundation students
publish a newsletter about what is happening in
Art has been taught in schools in this country for
many years, yet we are still trying to convince folks
that their is value and worth in this field-WHY?
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