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more TAB/choice research info


Date: Tue May 11 2004 - 14:40:26 PDT

by Elliot W. Eisner
New Haven: Yale University Press 2002

P. 117: “When children have substantial experience with paint and brush,
even when they are under four, they develop a refined sense of control over
it. They not only can control the brush in an impressive way; they often
experiment with its limits. This experimentation leads to the appropriation
of new schemata, that is, images they did not previously have but that they
can use in the course of their painting. In a word, they learn. They create
the conditions that promote their own learning by acting upon their work in
novel ways.
 “Perhaps one of the most ubiquitous features of the image making of
preschool children is their ability to decide when they are finished. The
children are in control…the latitude for choosing when one has finished
is…wider. In fact that choice never leaves artists and their work; adult
artists always ultimately decide when they are finished, and so, too, do
 “When young preschoolers, for example, work, there is much peripheral
learning, that is, learning through the observation of and socialization
with others. Teachers also teach in peripheral ways. They demonstrate.
Demonstrations promote try-outs by toddlers. All of this often takes place
in a variety of ‘work stations at which children can explore a wide variety
of materials and projects. Their engagement in these projects is governed
not by clock time, but by body time. Their interest defines how long they
will work at a station. During their stay teaching is mostly
opportunistic…guided by theory as well as by instinct.”

P. 118. “Choices about which materials and tools children will use are also
choices about the kind of thinking that will be promoted. The resource-rich
nursery school is a kind of educational cornucopia; children interact
socially at will, attend and stay at will; teachers talk and respond at
will. Interest drives the work.
 “Studies of nursery schools show that children aged four and a half develop
substantial control over the tools they are given an opportunity to use.”