Friday, March 29, 2019

The TAB Classroom Is A Laboratory of Learning

My essential question to students:
If I am the artist and if this art room is my studio, what should I be doing (K.Douglas, D. Jaquith, J. Toole 2017)?
Three sentence curriculum of TAB from Kathy Douglas, Diane Jaquith and Julie Toole spins emergent curriculum learning pathways and the creativity cycle endlessly.

Creativity Cycle developed for students at New Palestine High School.

TAB art room organization and design encourages student autonomy, experimentation and self-directed action.
On Becoming a Choice Based Art Teacher
Adapted from In Search of Understanding: The Case for Constructivist Classrooms by Jacqueline Grennon Brooks and Martin G. Brooks

Presentation to the Association of Constructivist Teachers, K. Douglas, C. Gaw, 2010, Chicago

1.Choice based art teachers encourage and accept student autonomy and initiative.

2. Because of the very nature of visual arts education, choice based art teachers use primary sources and raw, physical, manipulative and interactive materials to inspire and catalyze learners.

3. Choice based art teachers encourage students to generate, utilize and create their own ideas and artistic problems when engaged in art making activities.

4. In order to facilitate ownership, choice based art teachers allow students to drive artistic activity, shift instructional strategies and alter instructional content.

5. Choice based art teachers make inquiries into student’s previous knowledge of artistic content and encourage students to express their knowledge before sharing their own understandings.

6. Choice based art teachers encourage students to engage in dialogue and artful conversation, communicating art ideas, knowledge and creative processes with one another.

7. Choice based art teachers encourage students to research their art and ideas.

8. Choice based art teachers seek and encourage student reflective thinking expressed through ongoing dialogue, reflective writing
and artist statements.

9. Choice based art teachers engage students in experiences that contradict their initial understandings of content or hypothesis and then initiate discussion for student’s further consideration. 

10. Choice based art teachers afford students time for artistic ideas to incubate.

11. Choice based art teachers allow students time to develop understandings of art content.

12. Choice based art teachers facilitate learning through the use of discovery, introduction of concepts and concept application. The “Learning Cycle Model” (discovery learning) is a distinctive feature of choice based art education.

"They will say that because I have no book learning I cannot properly express what I desire to describe-but they do not know that my subjects require experience rather than the words of others."
Leonardo da Vinci

So what do artists do?

It depends....on the individual artist.

Art is a huge subject!

Should an art curriculum solely structure learning activities around artists whose work has been monetized for gallery sale? Is there an emphasis in K-12 art education curricula on the study of artists who have work on exhibit in museum collections. What does an emphasis of an art curriculum structured around gallery and museum art do to the motivation of children to produce their own art or creative ideas?

Student's art idea centers around her project for a World History project.
Throughout history, artists have been imagining, experimenting, creating and expressing multiple realms of the human condition in all kinds of societal, political, spiritual and individual contexts through art. One of my favorite forms of art is the work of outsiders, artists who are "unschooled," who create art for arts sake. Outsider artists are not particularly interested in the monetization of their art. Where might we find an outsider? Young children are outsider artists. Children are perfectly suited to continue their creative outsider activities inside my TAB art room. My teaching must include attempts to elevate the child's experience related to their existing art ideas. How can this next step be obtained? This is called emergent curriculum practice where I suggest new ideas, content or materials to enhance the child's current pathway.

The teacher introduces new ideas to one individual while other children pursue existing ideas.
In our TAB art room, the child is the artist. If the child is the artist, should I consider the innate neurological structures of the child? Yes, I should.

If the child is an innately active individual, how can the teacher enhance the child's proclivities for movement and kinesthetic experience?
If K-12 educators are going to take seriously the creative needs of children, if we say we are going to do what is best for children, then accounting for the child's innate endowments and constant evolving present should be addressed through an abundant curriculum. The child's natural instinct for learning supported. The mind, eyes and hands catalyzed for creative activity.

We are not about breaking the will and subduing the spirit of the child but lighting the fire of the imagination....  R.W. Emerson

On my discovery of constructivism:

I was first introduced to constructivist learning theory during my undergrad years at Indiana University back in 1979.  Once I entered the public school system, it became apparent based on the political climate (the era of "A Nation At Risk") and the expectation of my administrators that behaviorism, tightly structured curriculum experiences, rewards, punishments and behavior modification would be the way my class experiences were organized. Besides, I had been the recipient of behavior modification experiences throughout most of my life, trained to write and implement curriculum experiences around behaviorism, so teaching and learning inside a radical behaviorist classroom was something I was familiar with and could do.

That changed after I began researching learning theory and team teaching with Clark Fralick in 1996-97.

I was taking educational psychology classes in pursuit of an M.A.E. degree while Clark and I were experimenting with assessment through electronic portfolios.

I began to look at constructivist curriculum experiences seriously after discovering Jacqueline and Martin Grennon's book in our faculty library at New Palestine Elementary. Piaget I soon discovered, had provided educators with a succinct theory of mind, and philosophy of learning.  Constructivism, is a way of knowing, a way of learning. Individual's construct their knowledge at a personal level. Depending on the child's developmental stage, teachers should account for the individual's unique inborn endowments and their schema, or unique mental structures. It became apparent to me, my old ways of teaching art, through behaviorist learning paradigms, were problematic. Human beings are much more than blank slates. Changes in my approach to pedagogy would be forthcoming after a critical meeting with the founders of Teaching for Artistic Behavior.  An abrupt shift in my curriculum design and teaching practice, would occur.