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Lesson Plans

(Fwd) Re: artist as teacher vs. teacher

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Mon, 13 Oct 1997 11:16:25 +0300

This message is in response to Mark A's comment:

"As an art on the cart teacher, I prefer the classroom teacher to leave the
room. They usually leave on their own, but when they don't I try to ignore
them. My style is bound to be different than the style of any other
teacher, and I am fortunate that the teachers in my building generally
respect that. If the classroom teacher ever has any comments to make, they
are usually made to me in private and they are usually positive comments.
If you are a volunteer, rather than an official teacher, the classroom
teacher might feel that their presence in the classroom is required."

I actually come at this issue from a completely opposite point of
view. I require that the classroom teacher participate with me while
I teach for two reasons:

1) The classroom teachers learns the art skills along with the
students. They are much more likely and able to create art
integration in the "regular" curriculum with these skills. It
provides them with training and skills that is not currently included
in their teacher preparation curriculum. Teachers that choose to
participate in the activity along with the students model life-long
learning and are able to step out of their defined role as authority
figure for a few minutes. They are also an extra pair of hands when
they are usually always needed to assist students as they
problem-solve their work.

2) Team teaching is usually more work but in the long run I've found
it more rewarding. It's the old addage, "Two heads are better than
one." Clearly I take the lead and am "in charge" when I'm presenting
art lessons, but the classroom teacher is a resource to connect
what I'm doing to the "regular" curriculum. They contribute ideas
of how to extend the lesson for greater overall integration into topics
they may or will be studying. We use each other as resources,
sharing ideas, sharing insights, and contributing at a meta level
what wouldn't have happened with just one person teaching.

With students grades 4-6 right now, I am assigning weekly sketchbook
homework. We begin each lesson looking at works of art related to the
theme and examining each other's work. I have the students sit in a
circle with their homework facing out. We talk about the work "that
stands out" and I add to their comments by bringing in the principles
of art and design. I've found that over time the students AND
teachers are picking up the vocabulary, they're analyzing visual
images more attentively and they're making connections between their
own work and that of other artists. They also get ideas from each
other's work. The classroom teacher sees all of this modeled for
carryover into their teaching. We also benefit from learning each
other's styles.

Personally, however, I don't think this has anything to do with
whether you define yourself as an "artist" or as a "teacher." I've
worked with some highly talented artists who can't convey art
concepts to students and some art teachers who have admitted "they
can't draw," but are amazing "inspiratrice's" for their students.
it's really not either/or anymore; as quantum physics have shown us,
we are in the realm of "both/and."....

Teresa Tipton