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[teacherartexchange] Regarding students who 'go along' and appear to have no by in into the art experience

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From: Kevan Nitzberg (knitzber_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Mon Mar 06 2006 - 04:26:43 PST


Hi all,

I think that all of us as art educators (perhaps more so at the secondary
level), have had students who simply opt out of what is going on in class.
Teaching in all sorts of schools and levels over the past 3 plus decades,
small, large, rural, urban, private and public, I think that that 'opting
out' is certainly not relegated to art but any, and sometimes ALL, subjects.

Unfortunately there is a per centage of kids who have not been able to
achieve the level of student. This is not a facetious or even a demeaning
statement, but a rather sad commentary on a portion of our society who has
little time for what has been negatively regarded by many as the
academically educated. There is still an abundance of people who believe
that school is a convenient place to drop off children so that the parents
can get on with their days. Others see school as simply a tool for
acquiring the necessary paper that says that you have graduated and may now
proceed on to what is really important in life (that defined in a myriad
number of ways). Still others are formly rooted in the belief that you
simply have to 'pull up your boots' and ride off into the sunset to achieve
success.

With these attitudes prevalent at home, there is little reason to believe
that the students who come out of these environments are going to feel much
differently about the value of the time that they are spending in school.
In addition, there is also the promise and expectation of immediate
gratification (without work), that is a growing fantasy among many who are
bombarded with both the advancing technology of the day that seems to
provide everything at a click or two away, and the ever increasing media
blitz that does little to curb the illusion of expectation and entitlement
that appears to envelop a considerable number of people today.

It strikes me as equally horrendous that these attitudes are able to thrive
in the face of the increasingly evident examples on a global scale of the
disaster of not becoming educated and skilled. If ever there was a call for
people to become more creative in their thinking and develop new and better
problem solving skills to help offset the current level of disasters around
the world while working for a better life for all, it is certainly now. It
is also becoming quite clear to me that it is teachers and schools that
serve now more than ever as the final line of defense against the ultimate
chaos that ignorance, intolerance and greed can quite literally create if
left unabated.

Kevan

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