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RE: Didaction

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From: henry taylor (tortolitascom_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Tue May 21 2002 - 12:42:34 PDT


I suppose we've all had the experience of an artist or professor who was a
wiz at his craft but had not a clue about how to move beyond the formula
or the existing process nor how to explain very well the whats as well as
the whys. I'm talking about people who can walk you through what THEY do
blindfolded but have trouble translating it into what you want to do. they
have mastered the knowledge base for a routine but can go much beyond
that. Theory is meaningless to them. They didn't have much of a
constructivist experience when they learned what it is that they do.

The ones who:
> Knowing what happens with the clay, the kiln,
> and the glazes

Had a constructivist experience no matter what it was called. They know
the theory of their craft. And in that craft they are masters and
teachers.

An Art Teacher, on the other hand, who only masters a medium to that
degree is pretty limited. There is a lot more to teaching art than plein
aire painting or raku. Art is a general word that encompasses many
theoretical bodies of knowledge. Further, teaching itself is no different
than ceramics in that the teacher must know what happens with the student
(clay) in the kiln (brain/mind) and with the glazes (contexts). Its not
that they are necessarily going to teach teachers to teach but to use the
old factory metaphor theheir medium is students and they must know the
theory behind the learning that the want to shape with their art.

A teacher who hasn't a clue about theory will succeed with some students
(those who already share many of her perceptions) and fail with those who
don't match up. and she'll never have a clue as to why the class
experience didn't "take". Maybe she'll say that they were just lazy and
didn't apply themselves. Maybe she'll give the excuse that the students
had no real talent or vocation for the medium. But the real reason is that
while they know one part of being an art theacher and have all the theory
at their dis[posal that they need, in the other half they are just groping
in the dark.

Most students are completely happy just being able to learn the routine.
they'll never go very far (probably) and they will be poor teachers if
they ever attempt instruction. The students whose educational experience
paces the constructivist model will have more of the theory of the medium
at their disposal and be able to teach and explain if called upon.

If they want to Master teaching however they will have to master a
distinctly different craft and theory: EDUCATION

"how" I've been saying students want. What has been
> done before is the "what" they want to know. Seeing quality work leads to
> "creativity" and quality work. Knowing what has happend historically with
> an art medium and understanding how contemporary artists are producing with
> that same medium helps students develop their own creativity.
>
> You wanted direction. You wanted knowlege. You wanted an aesthetic base
> from which to work. Isn't it a shame that when you were taking that course
> your teacher didn't see those things as his responsibility. Everything
> wasn't supposed to be up to you. You had a teacher, for Pete's sake, and he
> should have taught you what you needed to know to be creative with that
> medium.
>
> Jane

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