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During my first observation of an art teacher back in college I observed an
art teacher doing the same thing. She scolded many children fro doing their
project the "wrong way," and often sat down and started working on the
child's art work for them. Even in my niavite of the art education world at
that time, I was enraged, as well as terrified of the teacher's behavior.
Even more terrifying perhaps, is when I find myself in the same uptight,
stressed mode that that teacher must have been in. Sometimes I find myself
so caught up in objectives that I began eyeing my students' artwork, like a
hawk, looking to see that they are applying the concepts, and techniques
taught in class. And, if they are not, and I am in one of those terrible,
uptight moods, so terrified that I am a failure as a teacher and this child
has learned nothing from me, I may put a child through a lengthy inquisition
before I let him or her continue their work. I guess my main delemma is in
checking student's understanding. If a child is not applying concepts learned
in class to his or her artwork, then I at least want to check their
understanding verbally. I don't think I would feel so uptight about this if
I did not feel the pressure from society, and administration to prove
learning. Perhaps if creativity were valued more in our society less art
teachers would search fervently for this proof of learning.
I agree that individualized exploration and discovery of visual techniques
and concepts is incredibly valuable. I think as art educators we have to
recognize, and as educate others about, the value of discovery in the
process, and creativity. We need to relax about objectives being met, and
application of criteria and concepts a bit. Its hard when we feel the
pressure to prove learning, (My big fear is that they will drop the art
program.) but easy when we see our students discovering on their own,
invested, proud, and producing beautiful, original works!
Guess I had a lot of thoughts, sorry for the length, and run-on sentences.
Any other thoughts on this? I'd love to hear what other have to say. Dawn