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I've been using DBAE for 7 or 8 years now. I conduct workshops for
my elementary district in this method. I've seen it develop from a pretty
tightly structured curriculum to a fluid and potentially creative one. But
I've had to work on it.
When I do the workshops I show the 4 part lesson as one lesson but
in my own class I don't always get them done on the same day (I tell the
teachers this). We don't use a commercial program so I help the schools
develop their reproduction and lesson resources. I go mostly by what the
teachers want to use because that way it will get used. (I have to add some
so that we get variety in terms of style, culture, subject-matter, etc.)
My job is to develop the background and a sample lesson to go with the
reproductions they (we) choose.
At first it felt pretty confined and restricted. But as I learned
how the "parts" fit I was able to work back and forth through them to go
with the lesson. Lesson followed parts but now parts follow lesson.
Today I use them as a guide. A self-check to see if I'm teaching
the big picture.
Is DBAE relevant? To what? A really good way to use this, is at the
first of the year do a 2 week unit on the elements of art choosing
reproductions for their use of the specified element (Matisse/Color). For
the rest of the year art is chosen based on theme (from Science or Social
Science etc.) and we develop our skills in viewing, analyzing, comparing,
and discussing as well as enlarging our aesthetic valuing. (hopefully)
And every class I've ever taught has loved it! It develops critical
thinking and communication skills as well as studio skills.
After half a year of DBAE in a kindergarten class, I showed them
Van Gogh's "Starry Night" in a darkened room with an overhead transparency.
One boy just leaned back, fully emmersed and said, "Oh, Wow!" A girl turned
to me and said "We aren't going to have to make that, are we?" They
understood the quality!!
I laughed. It works! No. They didn't have to make that. They made
their own, very creative stars which we hung from the ceiling.
I have to develop "process thinking" apart from DBAE. "What are you
doing now? How does it feel? What is hard about it? What is fun?"
Yes, in my opinion, Eisner uses DBAE to "legitimize" art by
emphasizing the thinking skills and transferability of imagery in his
written theory. But, who cares? It works as a method of teaching art
without him doing that.
By the way, I'm not surprised to find that art and art ed majors
have some concerns about DBAE. As I understand it, DBAE was developed (or
at least promulgated) so that non-art teachers could teach art "beyond
happy hands and holidays" (typical 3rd grade classroom teacher.)
>Hey fellow arteders.... I am curious about Eisner and DBAE.
> I have heard criticism about the rigidity and lack of
>relevancy of DBAE programs in the attempt to redefine and legitimize the role
>of art in edu. I share in this crit from my limited experience and
>knowledge. I have
>heard that my definition of DBAE is narrow and that Eisner has changed over
>time and that the whole thing is used in such a variety of ways that one
>cannot use those old criticisms with any weight.
> I work in an inner
>city school with such a variety of needs in each classroom that I find myself
>remodifying my own lessons constantly and taking a very broad view of (how
>long is the lesson?) what I am going to include (reminds me of my Mom's
>explanation attempting to unite evolution and the Bible...the BROAD view of
>how long that seven days really was)...What I mean to say is in my college
>classes there was an attempt to include all 4 areas of studio, aesthetics,
>etc into each lesson..........I include them in my perspective (and more, but
>crit and aesthetics run together and its not my focus or starting point) but
>its a rare day that all truly happen well. Is it just me? Why should I
>worry about such a rigid criteria? Does anyone?
>truly try to remain focused on what is effective and relevant to my students
>to experiencing and developing art from within and in gaining in a sense of
>identity and observation about this world in its relationships and certainly
>in assisting in the accessing of global art history and culture seen in its
>context in a kind of critical perspective...essentially clinging to the
>desire to somehow empower my students in whatever way that intersecting with,
>interacting with, inventing art can. .But............am I off base in seeing
>such a division between DBAE and me.....What about Eisner.....didn't he start
>all this? What's the history of the changes in this DBAE bandwagon.... I
>guess I'm so eclectic....I'd like to find out where we all