I was having a discussion with a group of students last week who, over the course of the semester, have produced some very compelling art. We were talking about how artists generate ideas and produce art. I asked the students if they would like me to facilitate their art making activities.
Teacher: "Do you want me to assign a deadline so you will have an incentive to make art?"
Student A: "Please don't! That would make this class just like all the others! This class is special."
Student B: "I don't work well getting all stressed out. Having time to think about my art is important."
Student C: "I like being able to design my own curriculum."
Rewards? Punishments? Extrinsic motivators? Over the past decade, I have phased out behavior modification techniques as a driver of artistic experience as much as possible. I see no need to incentivize learning experience let alone art education in the general education populations I serve. Learning about art and art making is done for learning's sake and for the sake of developing creative capacity consensually. How do we manage human beings? We trust them and we provide an abundant curriculum. There are many choices, materials and opportunities for students to express time sensitive art ideas. Art making in our classroom is a consensual matter. Since students are working primarily with their ideas, giving students time and space to make art is an essential part of our program. Observing student behavior and commentary is also fascinating. Some of my observations related to a human being's natural desire to learn leads me to the question: Do American schools optimize a child's natural desire to learn?
|A young man asked me how he could print his design on his t-shirt. I told him he might consider silk-screen.|
|Student's research Rube Goldberg machine concepts.|
|Student's work with ceramic hand building techniques.|
|Student repairs his wood and plaster sculpture.|
|Observation drawing from a cell phone image.|
|Student pays homage to WWll Veterans.|
|A student generates an automatic drawing after a discussion of DADA, Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism.|