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Re: making constructivism simple


From: Patricia Knott (pknott_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Thu May 30 2002 - 18:03:29 PDT

Esa writes:
> What we need are thinkers and doers. People who will
> take the risk to try new approaches, new methods, new
> philosphies. Who do it without explanations and
> justifications.

You bet, Teresa.
Just today I was talking to a physics teacher. For years we have tried to
establish a team taught class Science and art, but it will never happen.
Districts so tied to schedules and contracts leave no avenue for innovation.
We were talking today about how little our district encourages risk taking
(on the part of teachers).
I'm able to get away with risk taking a little more because I'm a so-called
artist and expected to be a little bit "wifty."(and if I ever find an
administrator that understands the art curriculum, maybe I could do a little
more) I think most of us in the arts have always had the drive and ambition
to rise to the challenges, but then I think, where the hard work wears us
out, is the lack of respect for what we do.
Look at the ideas that have come down the pike in the past few years--
   alternative assessments/authentic assessment (who has always used
portfolios and product reviews) are not rubrics based on the kind of
thinking we all have faced in critiques since our art school days? who has
always used differentiated instruction? higher level thinking questions...
critical thinking questions.... creative problem solving ... there has
never been anything rote or simple about art making.

Imaging something different from the norm...
I teach high school, there are three art teachers. Each of us has our areas
of strength. In my ideal space, the kids circulate among us, not matter
what class there are assigned to. I'm not sure how to make this picture,
but it's something like this... if I'm doing something in my group that a
student in another level wants to participate in --then come on over. A
true team teaching kind of effort. I want all the expertise and materials
and techniques available to all the kids all the time. I want a true
investigation by the student, and I want the opportunity for the student to
be able to become obsessed by something until it's worn out, and the
opportunity to have 3 teachers at one time wearing out the obsession. But
for this to work for me, I want teachers that are not possessive, teachers
willing to bend, and teachers able to detect the path the student needs to
On the elementary level I'd like to see collaboration between art, music,
movement and words--- more performance art as a basis for truly
understanding the connection of the arts and the arts to the world-- making
that sense of community.

Yes, Teresa there is much energy out there for new and fresh ideas and even
some old ideas that just need refreshing. And yes, we get burned out by
trying to make ourselves legitimate all the time.

I saw this today
This is from the The Education Companion Newsletter:

> Teachers@Work - 'Changing What we Think we Know'
> Change within the education sector is slow and this is mostly
> because our perceptions and models of understanding of what makes a good
> school are tacit, sitting slightly below the surface of our
> consciousness. In schools our perceptions and models of understanding are
> constantly being reinforced by the somewhat introspective process of
> carrying out “continual improvement” through looking at “best practice”
> of our peers. The result of this is constant affirmation of the model
> rather than a critical analysis of the model. Our model of what makes a
> good education system is coloured by the very same things that create
> inaccurate and unreliable models of understanding that we observe in our
> own students learning ...