Wednesday, November 26, 2014

On Deficit Ideology

In the vast majority of US K-12 schools, pedagogy influenced by radical behaviorism, designed around data-driven instruction, intent on filling malleable minds with the same skill sets at the same time is wreaking developmental havoc. Significant numbers of children learn very early that authorities select, impose and manage their educational experiences whereby it is advantageous for the child to become a compliant, passive recipient of knowledge. Children who struggle to comply with teacher directives are ostracized and punished. State imposed high stakes standardized testing is a powerful incentive for educators to employ radical behaviorism and impose deficit model education. It is a matter of survival that educators do so. Children’s interests, strengths and passions are given token consideration when curricula is formulated. Curricula is centered upon passing tests.

In deficit model education, children are viewed as blank slates whereby curriculum focuses on what they don't know.  Educational experience becomes a technicized process done to the child where ultimately, machines ascribe a number to their educational experience, stack ranking children based on their ability to answer multiple choice questions loaded with distractors. In TAB classrooms, that paradigm is reversed. Children are viewed not as blank slates but designers of their own educational experiences and abundant sources of curriculum. Learners have varying degrees of control over the methods, content, pace and assessment of learning. 

One of the main points discussed in this blog is the idea that deficit ideology has no place in the art room. Looking at the big picture, deficit ideology I suspect, has done a lot of damage. All children are born with the innate capacity to learn. How many curious children have been turned into passive recipients of knowledge as a result of non-consensual radical behaviorism?

Human beings are not machines. The steady growth of TAB programs in K-12 art rooms across the United States is a direct result of children's positive responses to holistic and democratic forms of educational experience. Educators who honor, respect and support children's conscientious drive for autonomous, self-directed learning experiences will be on the cutting edge of the next revolution in education.