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Lesson Plans

Re: Punishment!

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Lawrence A. Parker/OCCTI (occti)
Thu, 23 Sep 1999 08:49:05 -0400

Hi, Jill,

> How do you feel about certain real, out of control classes that can't
> art, (fighting, yelling, profanities,etc.) and the teacher has given
> up--well; you get the idea...

Getting frayed?

> I was thinking of giving them written work
> instead of hands on art projects.. Has any of you ever done this?

Do be careful in what you execute as 'punishment' - the punishment should
always be worse than the consequences, or what they get to do, if they do
behave. Giving a writing assignment could sour them to expressing
themselves in writing. No doubt your English teachers won't like this -
imagine them using art projects as a form of punishment for not getting
writing assignments done!

> I just don't think the bad ones deserve art.

On the contrary, it may be just the 'bad ones' who NEED the art. Look, most
of these kids (as you know, I deal with them after they've gotten into
trouble and are in detention facilities) have grown up in homes and
neighborhoods which have lacked nurturing (something many of us were
fortunate enough to grow up with and take for granted - "How can parents NOT
nurture their children? Easy; time, money, stress, own problems. There are
a lot of reasons why they cannot.)

These kids are filled with frustrations, angers, as well as unrealized
dreams, hopes with which they cannot get in touch (no one has ever showed
them how! and the people they know have the same problem.) USE THE ART to
encourage them to express themselves. Use free-form expression. Let them
tell/show you. If they have deep seated, "violent" emotions, put on
Stravinsky's "Le Sacre du Printemps" (Rite of Spring). Encourage them to
connect with the primitiveness of the music, and then express their emotions
on the paper, in the clay, whatever medium they choose. Then the next day,
play them Wagner's "Die Walkure" (The Valkyrie) (I think this is the right
one; I'm listening to it now to make sure, so I may amend it!). In any
case, it is an inspirational piece, full of force and valor. Other
possibilities are "Fanfare for the Common Man" and Mussorgsky's "Pictures at
an Exhibition" (best if you can find it with an accompanying slide show).

Another avenue, since art alone will not be a "cure" for these kids - we are
in so much need for community involvement in these situations! - and I
noticed that someone else mentioned getting a grant to bring in some outside
help, I mention again that I am trained in and have done workshops with
school children, college students and teachers on "Alternatives to
Violence." More info is available on my web site. The ATV program has a 25
year history of development and success. Myself, when I teach it, I mix in
my own work with conducting Socratic dialogues as a model for discussions.
I've usually found these very productive and they often have off-site

Some thoughts...