Sunday, February 03, 2013

Children Fully Participate As Curriculum Decision Makers in Choice Based Art Rooms

Allowing children to define their own educational goals is critical if they are to fully acquire the capacity for independent thinking. Eliot Eisner writes: "When birds have led their lives in a cage, it is not difficult to understand that when the door is opened, they might not have a desire to leave."
Children are not homogeneously constructed.  Their interests, passions and innate strengths vary. What if children were allowed to become experts in a field of study? Here an animal researcher creates a drawing based on her interests in cats.
Construction artists attach materials to express ideas related to sculpture the outcomes of which are still not known. 
Children are active learners, conveying ideas  in real time thereby producing new realities. 
An automobile designer takes suggestions from a like minded enthusiast.
Learning within the rhizomatic curriculum setting of the choice based art room is compelling. Children are not passive entities to be shaped by the curriculum but are active participants in the development of the curriculum. Children are agents of their own educational transformation in choice based art rooms.  Students are able to explore and expand educational lines of flight that are not available to them in linear approaches of curriculum typical to most school settings.

The advantage of rhizomatic learning conditions?
Check this 2011 parent letter out:

Hi Mr. Gaw!
Just wanted to let you know how much we appreciate you!!!!  Both Susie and Joseph have thrived in your class!!!  They LOVE going to art and being creative!!!!  You have given Joseph such a wonderful gift...  you opened up opportunities in his own mind that I'm not sure we would have discovered on on our own.  Being able to connect that bridge of a love of science and engineering with the creative side and building the marble runs... WOW!!!!  He has learned so many skillsets throughout these years of building...  certainly physics, problem solving, experimenting, working with others, what materials work best, seeing a project through from start to finish...oh my, the list is endless!!!!  You have done such a wonderful job of fanning the flames and encouraging him so much!!!! 
Susie loves your class too!!!  She has actually said she would love to be an art teacher!!!!
Our family can not express enough just how much you've meant to our children and us!!!  
Thanks Mr. Gaw!!!!!

Rethinking Children's Participation in Curriculum Making: A Rhizomatic Movement
Kirsten Ho Chan

Beyond Educational Psychology: Steps Toward An Educational Semiotic, Donald J. Cunningham

Dave Cormier's Education Blog, Rhizomatic Education: Community As Curriculum