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Lesson Plans

Re: stuff

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Sun, 12 May 1996 12:24:09 -0500 (CDT)

>Date: Sun, 12 May 1996 12:19:23
>To: henry <taylorh>
>From: EILEEN PRINCE <eprinc1>
>Subject: Re: stuff
>(Forgive me - another long post)
>Thank you for a wonderful response. As usual, you make some=
thought-provoking statements. I was especially intrigued by the following=
comments on BALANCE:=20
>>Yep. AKA -- Al-gebra (middle eastern) or Tao (asian). Does the West have a=
>>tradition of the balanced harmony of opposites? We have the old Manichaen=
>>Heresy still told in Star Wars, the opposition of GOOD and EVIL where=20
>>"only ONE can survive." If someone out there would remind me of that=20
>>Western tradition of the BALANCE of opposites I'd appreviate it. Probably=
>>something really obvious like Barney.
>I'm not sure I ever thought of comparing the "either-or" nature of Western=
attitudes about duality with the more ying-yang approach of the East. This=
is a fascinating avenue to explore. Since I always present works of art as=
a product of the culture which produced them, I need to start exploring=
this influence, since it seems so fundamental. Beowulf meets Confucius. If=
you have any more thoughts along this line, I'd love to hear them.
>Then you wrote:
>>Used to be called "Wise People". Who cares about Wisdom these days? When=
>>was the last time you heard Wisdom, or its accumulation, evoked in a class=
>>for pre-service teachers?
>How true! Can we teach wisdom? Is it something that must be achieved=
through personal experience? We all know people who seem to be born "wise"=
and others who are foolish all their lives. Is "wisdom" just another word=
for the ability to find balance: to see many sides of an issue and, through=
rational and compassionate thought, to pick the solution which causes the=
least harm. Or does "wisdom" imply an innate or learned ability to perceive=
or intuit a "right" answer to a dilemma without reflection? (Or are "wise"=
people the ones who think the way WE do? Wise people always seem to agree=
with ME!)=20
>You add:
>>And one teacher is unlikely to find the "key" or the right curriculum for=
>>each-and-every student who arrives to be "taught" even IF a class can be=
>>configured with a unique curriculum for each ,unique, child.
>This is SO true! One of the wonderful things about art is that, with a few=
exceptions, the projects are self-individualizing. In grades 1-4 at my=
school, the classroom assistant accompanies the class to "Specials". =
Lately, some of the assistants have asked if they could do the projects=
with the children. Of course, I am delighted when they do this, as it sets=
a wonderful example for the kids, but it also points out the fact that the=
same art project can automatically adjust itself to accomodate different=
abilities. And since, with a few exceptions, the students decide upon=
their own subject matter, the project is as "relevent" as they choose to=
make it. Beyond that,=20this is MY class, and while I strive to include a=
wide variety of approaches over the years "you can't please all of the=
people all of the time".
>You state:
>>When we impose "CHILDREN'S STANDARDS" we place an almost insurmountable
>>barrier between childhood and adulthood. The children learn to be
>>"successful children" because that is precisely what we ask of them in the
>>Western Tradition. The process of becoming an adult is, most often, left
>>incomplete. (But then we worship "youth" :-) Is it any surprise how our
>>children turn out when they face the beginning of adulthood still thinking
>>they should be like the most recent and popular idol of their generation,
>>the model of their childhood and adolescence?=20
>Yes! It's that good old BALANCE thing again. As a parent, I've always=
said the toughest thing is knowing WHEN to let go: when can the kids cross=
the street by themselves, when do we dispense with the baby sitter, etc. =
Of course, the answer is different for each child, otherwise we could have=
a handy manual to teach us these things. But our goal in the classroom,=
just as in parenthood, is to gradually and surely lead the child toward=
independence. Finding the balance between when to let a kid be a kid and=
when to expect more mature behavior is one of the great dilemmas of family=
and classroom life. I think it's at the core of some of the discussions=
we've been seeing on artsednet. When is the "student" an "artist"? When=
is the work "art" and not a classroom exercise? These are central dilemmas=
which each art teacher must "wisely" resolve on a day-by-day, case-by-case=
basis. As one of my friends put it, from the time they are born, we start=
teaching our kids not to need us any more. As a recent empty-nester (and=
an admitted control freak), I can testify to how painful yet satisfying=
this task is. I guess it's what I strive for in the classroom as well,=
which is why my eighth grade curriculum is by far the most free. In=
essence, I am saying to the student - as I would to my child - "I've given=
you the tools: we've studied elements and principles, history and theory=
and aesthetic philosophy. Now make of it what you will."
>You conclude:
>>Neat Post "Princess" Eileen!
>Just one more thing, then I promise to shut up. I had to chuckle when I=
read your final salutation. When I introduce myself to my first graders at=
the beginning of their first art class, I always say, "My name is Mrs.=
Prince, but you can just call me 'Your Majesty'". (There's usually a=
moment of silence before my grin indicates to them that this is a joke.)=
One little boy thought this was so funny, he called me "Your Majesty" for=
two years!
>Thanks, Henry.