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Lesson Plans

Re: National Standards and Assessment

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Sat, 31 Oct 1998 06:55:18 EST

In a message dated 10/31/98 3:24:54 AM Eastern Standard Time, meropi
This is a long post that addresses an issue that I consider very important.
Delete, if you wish. Reatha
<< Are you ready to let others determine what works for you and your
students? Is standardization really what we want in our art room? >>
I do not see having standards to which I teach and expect my students to reach
as a negative situation. But then I began setting standards for my students to
reach when I began teaching in 1969. I teach in a state that had a state
framework long before others considered it useful. You obviously misinterpret
the standards. They are meant as guidelines to help you ensure that you are
teaching what your students need to know. Your personal liberty will not be
lessened. Your students personal expression will not be diminished. They will
simply have more information with which to work.
By it's very nature teaching art, making art, stands outside of the cognitive
learning styles used in other subjects.
Art is a problem solving activity which can easily be learned in a problem
solving manner. How does that separate it from other content areas? We serve
our students best when we offer them information visually, orally, verbally,
and through demonstration followed by real world hands-on experiences. How do
you teach art if not in this manner? If we are not engaged cognitively, how
are we engaged? So our hands have minds of their own?
It's not that we couldn't teach art in the manner conducive to evaluation,
break down it's content areas so that we can prescribe what is valuable in
art, but isn't it conforming to rules that should be questioned in the first
Are you suggesting that we not teach the content of art simply to rebel
against rules? The components of art are simply guidelines garnered through
observation over thousands of years. So what do we do just ignore them because
they resemble rules? You have said yourself "...what is valuable in art,..."
If it is valuable should you not teach it?
Since most of us feel marginalized within our schools, with little support
from administrators, parents, teachers and even from our students, do we
accept the fact that in order to be taken seriously we must resort to
standardization and assessment?
Why should administrators, teachers, students or parents take anything
seriously that is being taught in a manner that suggests that there is nothing
to it? Teaching for learning is about setting standards for our students (do
the words goals or objectives also upset you?) and assessing to see if we have
taught what we meant to teach or do we need to reteach. There are many
recommendations for designing the assessment prior to teaching so that you
will be more likely to teach what the students need to know as a result of the
lesson. I think most do that subconciously without even realizing it. But if
the assessment is developed beforehand, then a rubric for the students to use
so that they know what you expect is easier to develop. Then assessment
becomes a joint effort. Which I think is good.
For the little that we might gain, is it worth what we will loose? I do not
look forward to teaching for a test, and that is not long in coming.
Well it is obvious that you see some gain. What exactly do you see yourself
losing? If you are one of the marginalized teachers that you describe, what do
you have to lose?
Just because there is a test doesn't mean that you must teach just those
items on the test. That would be insurmountably stupid. But most assessments
test for knowledge in general areas, not specific items. A standardized test
simply means that all students are tested on the same material. The standards
do not address specifics such as "rainsticks". So if your students have not
done a lesson in which a "rainstick", for example, was the expected product,
they will not suffer if you have taught lessons in which you addressed the
same elements of design, aesthetics, history, and criticism. Because that is
what the standards and the testing are all about.
And no the test is not long in coming. In fact we have already done a national
assessment. Be sure to watch the national teleconference on Dec. 1. Of course
I expect that should the results be less than desirable there will be many
diehards who will say, "Well see, you can't really test what we do." rather
than see the handwriting on the wall. And they will continue to moan and groan
about not being appreciated.
Will we break down the components of art to such a degree that the sheer joy
of creation must be put aside because we have more important things to teach??
If you are not teaching the components of design, what are you teaching?
Monkey-see-monkey-do? I have always questioned the concept that children can
enjoy doing what they have no idea how to do well.