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Saturday, January 2, 2010

Teaching Art in the New Year

It's time to take a fresh look at the way I teach. My students and I have some very special memories of creating beautiful things together, and I think most of what I've taught has been valuable and helpful. Still, I can't help this nagging feeling that I don't always get it right. To be honest, I hate having the students copy my work. I DO believe structure is important. The type of structure needed will vary with the project and stage of development.

The other day I picked up Young at Art by Susan Striker. I started reading it right away. It was both inspiring and convicting.

Of course, it all depends on what my program is about. Are my classes meant to build technical skills, art understanding, or problem solving/creativity? Are my classes academic, recreational, therapeutic? I teach in such different contexts that I end up doing all of the above!

It's important to me that the projects I present encourage risk-taking, creativity, expression, confidence and problem solving. It's also very important that the projects are developmentally appropriate. I need to focus on the process, not the product. This is hard for me because I'm afraid the parents won't like the classes if they don't like their student's work. I also want the students to be proud of their work. It's time for me to be brave. There should be no fear in art. Neither creating nor teaching it!

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