I do this all the time (I teach high school)
I am trained in the Paideia Seminar technique.
It's too long to go into for a post. But briefly, what I do is find
articles of current interest or issues in the arts. I distribute the
article to be read along with some questions for thought. Questions are
very "open-ended" and that is a must for meaningful discussion. During
the seminar all discussion is student directed, with only prompts
from me (more open-ended questions) -- it's truly a student debate. I
follow it up with some kind of activity or written expression.
This year I did a seminar on Joseph Cornell and found an interesting
report from NPR that I used as a text. I used this as a successful
introduction to a project that had to do with obsessive collecting. The
results were not Cornell "look a likes" but extensions of his
I also did, with my photo class, a seminar on Diane Arbus. I presented
some of the information recently distributed because of the big show at
the Met. I gave my kids reading material and they responded with more
thoughts on their own than I could have ever presented in a lecture.
Last year I did a seminar on Hockney's writings about the use of
optics by Renaissance artists. The discussion centered around "what is
cheating as opposed to what is using available technology?"
This is a great way to deal with aesthetic questioning and valuing and
kids have very sound opinions. My aesthetic is very different from
theirs. It is important to listen to and feed their understanding.
These open ended discussions really touch on what they think, as
opposed to what I think and somewhere between the two we come to some
This isn't easy. It requires research from the teacher in order to
inspire response from the student and lots of time carefully
constructing questions that can be responded to...
but this is what I think is the higher level of thinking that art
requires and nurtures... it's the "whys" of art making.
On May 16, 2005, at 3:54 PM, Judi Morgan wrote:
> Do any of you have reading assignments for your classes? If so, what.
> I have attempted to do some reading/response projects using articles I
> find that the students might find interesting, but with mixed results.
> What say all of you?
> Judi Morgan
> Saint George's School
> 2929 W. Waikiki Road
> Spokane, WA 99208