Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Transition To Choice Based Art Education

July 6, 2004
My name is Clyde Gaw. I have been an elementary art teacher since 1984. Currently, I am the art teacher at New Palestine Elementary near Indianapolis, Indiana. Over the past ten years, my colleague Clark Fralick and I have been collaborating to make our programs more meaningful and intellectually potent for our students. In 1998 Clark started doing electronic portfolios with a group of our gifted and talented students. The following year, little by little, I started my own electronic portfolio program. Our strategy was simple, engage kids in dynamic art experiences, record the experience digitally, and use the image as a prompt for reflective writing by the student on their experience. We observed kids getting excited about seeing their artwork on the computer monitor and motivated to do a lot of thinking and writing about their work. I felt in my mind, electronic portfolios were a great educational activity. They enhance the artistic experience and weave in meta-coginitive and digital literacy skills....In the back of my mind, I wanted to rev up my program even more...but wasn't sure where to take it ....I could see kids empowered with electronic portfolios, and there are so many great intellectual development opportunities with them but I wanted to push divergent thinking opportunities even more. In the Spring of 2004, Clark suggested I consider looking at choice based art education. After reading about and talking with other art teachers who use choice based programs in their art rooms, I became very excited. I believe giving kids the option of pursuing their own artistic activities, working from their prior experience and interests, would strengthen their intellectual development and the electronic portfolio process. This blog, will document my transition to choice based art education in my classroom over the 2004-05 school year. I plan to reflect on the transition, from a teacher centered art program to a student centered program augmented by electronic portfolios. I will keep you posted on our successes and failures and discuss why I believe this kind of art education program to be one of the best educational practices based on my knowledge of cognitive and educational psychology and 22 years of service in the field of education.

1 comment:

Clark said...

As Clyde, I am also excited in transitioning to this model of instruction and over the last part of last year, I implemented it to some degree. I have been teaching for ten years, trained under the DBAE model and value what it has taught me as an teacher. However, I wanted to see a more authentic learning envirnment. I can remember certain instances when talking to parents about their childs enthusiasm toward art and wondering why I didn't get some of the same in the classroom. Once I began implementing more choice in my classroom. I began to see how divergent the children were. All children can learn, but they don't learn the same way, and my way isn't always the best way. The students artwork is hardly ever perfect, sometimes neat, sometime messy and needs more explanation than in the past. But, I know it came from the child. I can see how they have internalized what they have learned and how they have chosen to use it in their art work.