Sunday, August 28, 2016

A Question....Why Does Teaching for Artistic Behavior, As A Curriculum Structure, Optimize Student Learning?

After observing Dale Zalmstra's classes in 2014, the universal appeal of TAB curriculum structure became quite clear. Dale's students were absolutely thrilled to be in her art room, working together or apart, sharing, conversing, collaborating, creating and dialoging with one another. Dale had organized seven or eight learning centers and her students were all self-directed, autonomous and so excited to be in the classroom working on their art activities. But I had observed this special learning environment with similar student self-governing behaviors in Clark Fralick's room also. Just what is it about TAB that optimizes learning experience? What is so special and unique about Kathy Douglas and Diane Jaquith's unique curriculum structure that optimizes student experience wherever it is carefully implemented? There are a couple of things to point out.

First, learning experience in TAB classrooms is to varying degrees, democratized. In a democratic classroom, learners are genuinely empowered. Experience is generated consensually from the learning environment, inborn endowment or teacher collaboration. TAB teachers understand children are conscious beings and use their awareness, interests and desire to organize individual learning pathways. In TAB classrooms, learners own the experience because they consent to be apart of the activities by participating in the formation and design of the activity. Because self-reflection is consciously or unconsciously a natural part of TAB experience, a feedback loop is established. Students in TAB classrooms ultimately become self-governing and self-sustaining individuals.

I looked at the idea of self-sustaining curricula in earlier posts. Self-sustaining curricula, one that provides for unique learner interests and extends outside school settings where emotional drive is activated and stimulated was described with the Deluzian term rhizomatic curriculum. But I'm going to use another term because I think it also works within the TAB learning paradigm. What Kathy Douglas and Diane Jaquith developed while exploring art education curriculum structures and the optimization of individual's creative learning opportunities, is a self-sustaining curriculum structure based on general systems theory for K-12 public education.