History combined with individual technique helps synthesize practical skill with an origin and application. The Bauhaus school developed practices (above) that achieve this.
The instructor’s own enthusiasm for the subject helps keep students alert and interested in daily lessons (McNergney, 2007). The blend of history with an individual technique helps a student synthesize a practical skill with the nature of its origins and application. The Bauhaus school in Germany developed four distinct practices (above) which will be useful in the classroom in this regard (Whitford, 1984).
These can be tackled through a variety of instructional models. They can be achieved by direct instruction, peer tutoring, individualized instruction, and inquiry learning. Also providing chances for project-based learning, concept formation, and non-directive teaching as well as the scenario of synectics, and reciprocal teaching (McNergney, 2007). These strategies are not necessarily tied to the above ideals only, as a student learns to blend one color to another, so too strategies can fuse where needed. Direct and lecture instruction are always useful in the teaching of Art.
Art must be shared to by fully useful to the student and the world at large, so encouraging students to practice and publish early is necessary (Whitford,1984). It is this broader activity which the parents, administrators, and the community can be involved. Being objective about a student’s work lends itself to helping the parents understand learning styles (Feldman,1994). This may prove useful to solving behavior conflicts by reviewing work and progress with administrators, also. Even having the students organize their own gallery show, from space requests to opening night catering, introduce art’s business side.
Coordinating lessons with other teachers is essential and helps provide meaning and relational knowledge to the student. If history of the industrial revolution is being covered in one class, art class will delve into impressionism, an art movement spawned as a reaction to that era.
Although a technique must be mastered correctly for true understanding, subject matter is usually entirely of the student’s creation. This is where critique in the art class is necessary, as students probe each other’s work as deeply as they have thought about their own. Rationale and sensitivity are built into the art lessons, as all cultures have committed greatly to the art world: Be it ancient African artifacts, Renaissance, or urban forms born out of the long-lived cities of Asia. This helps show art is a common thread amongst world cultures.
Modern art movements have shown that many or any material may be used in art’s creation (Whitford, 1984). Planning a tour of a junkyard to hunt for objects would not be outside a lesson’s goal, or even an actual client/budget/designer scenario for printed works. Such a lesson as the latter would involve virtually no materials except the treatment of time as a commodity, most of the work being done through modern technology.
I find a complete education in art can’t leave technological advances out, from photography and computer-aided design, more practices land in the digital arena. It may be present as technique or even subject matter. Being able to ‘print’ a 3-d object, based on the silhouette of a scanned image, helps create a 3-d reality in the student’s mind. Any respected museum, such as MoMA, has fantastic, accurate, and interactive historical and visual information that the student will be encouraged to visit.
Focusing on education changes and trends is as valuable as following trends and discoveries in the art world, and the internet has become the most immediate means to stay on top of things. Sites like Core77, the Contemporist and NOTCOT serve as great inspiration and up-to-date information on the latest design and architecture trends and projects. In addition for education, government departments such as DESE keep laws and processes regularly up to date, but a good site for even general education is the College Art Association (CAA), of which I’m a member. Art and/or technology journals like Wired, as well as journals like Educational Leadership (or the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development’s own website, ASCD.org) provide regular deep insight and research into today’s changing educational environment.
The NAEA, or National Art Education Association, is also a fundamental way to find ways of crossing the bridge between art and education. This group, more than the CAA, focuses on developing effective curriculum. Such adjustments or milestones as covered on these websites, journals or organizations are implemented by further adjusting them to a students learning style. A successfully proven lesson may be adjusted for subject and process based on initial use and individual success of a student.
Motivating students in the classroom can come from the approach of removing the idea of the classroom as an institution. Creating a vibrate and interesting place of intricacies of items and texts that relate to the subject matter helps the student momentarily be absorbed by the subject (Feldman 1994). Also, linking the subject to everyday living to develop a curiosity about the world helps. Explaining what processes made the chair he’s sitting in, or what literary or artistic references can be found in the shows he watches outside of the plot are devices that show the connections of industries, history, and the modern world (Feldman, 1994). Walt Disney once partnered with Salvador Dali to create a master surreal animation that was only completed decades after their deaths, for example. Compliments on insights, or using a student as an example are adequate forms of motivation, but making the subject relevant to their lives as mentioned above is the strongest motivator (McNergnery, 2006). It helps the student learn from what he enjoys, and consequently, enjoy what he learns.
Procedure, discipline, and routine are paramount. Having a student repeat a task in a different context after she believes she’s mastered it is always challenging, and though it may seem frustrating to them, it helps engrain a technique as automatic (Whitford, 1984). Since the student can then perform it almost instinctively, she would be free to be challenged with applying it to a subject of their interest. Historical figures also work as challenges, such as asking the class who will be the next Da Vinci, or Picasso. The next step would be to ask a student to investigate a sketch or art work of these masters, and challenge them to come up with their own version, or how an artist may have influenced anatomy studies (Da Vinci: Kleiner & Mamiya, 2008)
Students presenting behavioral difficulties will be first addressed in class away from the other students to find a civil solution and the source of the problem. Further infractions will result in the steps as laid by the school. If it is apparent that the issue is related to psychological issues, abuse, or outside influences, suspicion will be duly reported and action will be taken according to local and state laws or as defined by the school.
Academically problematic students will be investigated with counsellors and/or administration as to where the difficulty may lie, and steps according to the school or law will be taken to provide additional services to allow the student to succeed.
According to modern government corrections practices, discipline is far more an effective behavioral tool than direct punishment. Discipline aims to correct and train constant behavior, while punishment is more of a direct means to an end. Discipline will be based on critical thinking of one’s actions, and the belief that there is a concrete reason for the sanction. (list book’s behaviors)(cite) are used as consequential deterrents to allow the student to learn how they erred, and realize that such behavior may have long reaching effects as well. Again this has to do with procedure, discipline, and routine.
Multiculturalism is present throughout the history of Art (Gardener’s, 2008), and many cultures have given both technique and influence to even some world famous artists. Many of the most ancient practices from the most early and remote civilizations are still used in the same way today. Classes and lessons revolve around the history of technique as well as it’s impact on the modern world. Classes will be shown and tested on the peoples of nearly ever part of the globe that have contributed to art and art history, and if a student of a certain ethnicity is knowledgeable and willing, she may be asked to give a demonstration or report. The use of culturally significant subject matter in a project will always be welcome.
Students will be evaluated on a percentage basis on the order of adequately following directions, completeness, craftsmanship, and choice or approach of the subject matter. These separate facets will determine challenge areas, interest, and abilities. On the issues of factual data and historic information, written tests scored on percents will being given, but application essays and/or presentation will also be included.
The above will also determine how well students learn techniques, processes, and data. In an art class the ultimate test of learning is the studio project, taken from duplicating a famous work, and then applying the same practice to a subject of independent choice. They are at once learning how the process or technique was developed and also how to incorporate it into their unique style.
I create curriculum based on both practical application and high theory. Drawn from examples in science, like chemistry, and also sometimes abstract theory like Chaos Theory. Such a theory may be mentioned as the approach, but for high school such a theory will not be greatly expounded on. Drawing from life, or using the natural world in general is also within this realm.
Many lessons will be even based on classic artists like Da Vinci or Michelangelo, and contemporary artists such as Sol Le Wit or Jeff Koons. If possible, I will even be able to bring in my own contemporaries former instructors to speak and share their work and history. These range from classical painters to sculptors using computer drafting programs to ‘print’ sculptures.
The world needs people who perceive complexity and understand it, and the only real way to do this is to study its past and current states. It is also possible to study, or at least anticipate, the future of the world in coming decades. We need education so we can determine patterns of all sorts and in all aspects of the world and our own existence. Education connects the world, and encourages tolerance of other races, religions, and creeds. As borders of actual countries become more and more blurred, we see more ‘citizens of the world’, most of whom are top minds in their fields.
Our country has led the way in innovation for at least the past century, and the world has benefitted. Whether these innovations are physical things or just allowing students from other countries to study here, we need to maintain this energy.
For students, education is required because they will deal with our future, long after we are gone. The spirits of creativity, tolerance, and innovation must be passed on so that future societies can better cope with the mistakes of the past, shape an even better future, and confront problems beyond the problems that don’t yet exist. Education will help them state an insight or dilemma clearly, construct possible outcomes, and swiftly determine the most beneficial or feasible policy or solution.
Wanting to teach
I want to teach for any number of reasons, but I’ll just outline my main reasons. In light of the actual climate concerns, it’s the ‘greenest’ thing I can do. I follow a british education ‘guru’ named Sir Ken Robinson, who describes our past approach to education as strip mining our minds for particular commodities.
I also personally like the idea of solving problems that don’t exist yet, or at least having the capability to be ready to solve those problems. Humans are massively complex things and as we figure out how to solve things we figure out ourselves. I want to impart a desire to solve or anticipate complexities or problems.
Lastly, I have an enormous passion for sharing insights, new ideas, arguments and data. An idea, or Meme as technology professionals call it, can be contagious. There are almost objects in themselves in this fashion, and can be looked at microscopically as well as a whole. I come from a family of teachers, and was always encouraged to be curious about things.
- Whitford, F. (1984) Bauhaus, New York: Thames & Hudson
- Feldman, E. (1994), Practical Art Criticism. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
- Kleiner & Mamiya, (2008) Gardner’s Art Through the Ages: 13th edition, Wadsworth Publishing
- McNergney, J.M. & R. F. (2007) Education: The Practice and Profession of Teaching, Boston: Pearson | Allyn and Bacon