I believe the most important point in this article is summed up at the end when the author says, “..until art teachers consider students’ ideas and experiences as valid content – on par with those of artists “out there”- we are at risk of operating under dated assumptions about what constitutes authentic and contemporary studio practice.”
The article lays out a very smooth scenario based on one student’s artistic process and behavior through journal reflection. Although it’s portrayed with an idealistic tone, for example the students seem to be older and more mature and they have computer and internet access making it easier for them to independently research and remain intrinsically motivated, I do think that teachers need to constantly remind themselves or make it a point to listen to students. Basing lessons and projects around things that inspire or relate to them should be a main focus in the classroom.
This article allowed me to reflect on my own approaches in the classroom. Typically behavior is an issue, leaving me always on edge with giving the students “too much down time”. I also find myself shortening reflection and journal writing time more and more because I am nervous that my students aren’t actually thinking about what I want them to. But is that such a bad thing? What if they are instead thinking about a conversation they had with their friend at lunch that’s way more interesting to them than, ‘How does weather make you feel?’ or ‘If you could have one super power what would it be?’. I don’t know any teacher who wouldn’t want to tap into something that would motivate a student more or enhance their learning. It’s figuring out the balance of when to step in to guide and when to trust that a student will make a discovery on their own that is challenging me. Art is just as much a social subject as it is physically creating. Of course art class can’t just be gossip hour, but perhaps more often a time when students can find a way to channel what will naturally be on their mind and using that for deeper learning, expression, and motivation.

Advertisements