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[teacherartexchange] changing our teaching habits


From: Marvin Bartel (marvinpb_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Fri May 09 2008 - 17:37:09 PDT

". . . the more new things we try the more we step outside our comfort zone the more inherently creative we become, both in the workplace and in our personal lives."

The above is a quote from:

Unboxed: Can You Become a Creature of New Habits?
By JANET RAE-DUPREE - New York Times, May 4, 2008

The article is in the Business section, but should also be in education section. Here the author explains the reason that schools kill creativity.

"Researchers in the late 1960s discovered that humans are born with the capacity to approach challenges in four primary ways: analytically, procedurally, relationally (or collaboratively) and innovatively. At puberty, however, the brain shuts down half of that capacity, preserving only those modes of thought that have seemed most valuable during the first decade or so of life.

The current emphasis on standardized testing highlights analysis and procedure, meaning that few of us inherently use our innovative and collaborative modes of thought." Schools squelch them. I would say the emphasis on standards in art education is similar to the emphasis on standardized testing in other areas.

Do art classes counteract this educational problem, or are we part of it? Do we experiment with team projects or continue to stress only individual expertise? Do we give innovation top credit, or is correctness and following the assignment given the highest ranking in our rubrics? Do we employ open thinking questions to encourage unique thinking, or do we make suggestions, show demos, and show examples (things that standardize thinking). Do we sweat principles and standards, or do we go with the fun of experimentation, unexpected outcomes, and discovery? According to this article, we too can change and become more creative in our teaching if we take small, but regular steps. I know that some art teachers are doing this well. I think more of us could gradually cultivate innovative and creative art studio classroom culture. This article about changing our habits might provide the inspiration.


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