Sunday, December 21, 2014

Abundant Curriculum Within High School TAB Art Education Programs

High school Teaching for Artistic Behavior is just like elementary Teaching for Artistic Behavior except the kids are bigger and have more executive functioning skills. In my situation, they all have their own computers and the Internet so that is a very big deal when it comes to researching or communicating essential content.

Students meet at the beginning of the class period in a specially designed centers-based learning environment, typical of TAB art rooms. Attendance is taken and class announcements can be made at this time. Students may also begin independent work from this starting point.
Teachers may also deliver essential curriculum content at this time, for example a presentation of Renaissance perspective utilized by Masaccio and Masolino at the Brancacci Chapel.
Teachers may also present large-group demonstrations during this time.
After the large group lesson, students acquire materials and settle into creative learning activities.
"Look, Think, Create," is a concept sign inspired by "Room 13 International" website.  I adapted it for TAB.
There are several high school TAB and TAB-like art programs I have been thinking about since transitioning to high school TAB. Nan Hathaway, whom I met in 2005, is a TAB middle-school art teacher and has been a huge influence on me. Patricia Knott a high school choice-based art teacher has been a regular contributor to the TAB Yahoo Group since 2005. I first saw Jeff Pridie present in a packed room at NAEA Minneapolis in 2010. Jeff laid it out perfectly. Lots of opportunities for students to sink their teeth into meaningful learning experience because art is a big subject. Barb Andrews was offering student-directed learning experiences at New Palestine High School in her "Arts and Ideas" classes back in the 1990's when DBAE was being pushed from the top down by the Getty Foundation. Miriam Marcus was doing 'choice' with at-risk children in Flint, Michigan around 2005. Her stories of teaching children to knit with pencils because knitting needles were not allowed in her school amazed me. Of course listening to John Crowe's stories about "care and play," during his high school teaching days was very inspirational. Colleen Rose is operating a wonderful high school art program in Ontario, Canada. At Apex High School, Ian Sands, Melissa Purtee, Kim Sudkamp and Shawnda Rossi are running a spectacular art education program where choice is featured in their curricula. There are many other democratic/choice based high school art programs around the country, but these are the ones I am thinking about now.

We are seeing educators adopting TAB pedagogy throughout the country at all grade levels. There are thousands of elementary and middle school teachers working with TAB and quite interestingly, the High School TAB Facebook page has 358 members in it.

Educators are very much interested in the possibilities of what liberating the imagination and creative spirit looks like in K-12 Public Education settings and looking at the results of my own experiences with high school TAB there is quite an appetite for choice-based art education.

My sincerest thanks to the authors of "Curriculum in Abundance," David W. Jardine Sharon Friesen and Patricia Clifford for their insight into curriculum theory as contained in their book. A treasured resource!


Karen Richards said...

I'm in the process of transitioning to a choice based classr room after taking a course through The Art of Education. I teach at an alternative school where my students are between 6th and 12th grade. I really like your creativity model and your description of how you progress though a lesson. I look forward to reading your blog and getting ideas for my new classroom.

What did you find was the biggest challenge when you adopted the TAB philosophy?

Clyde Gaw said...

Hi Karen! I think the biggest thing I had to adjust to was allowing children time to incubate and adjust to their new role as problem posers and independent designers of their own learning activities. After being told what to do through most of their formal education, it is hard for some children to make an adjustment. Other's find the change exhilarating and jump right into the learning environment head first.

Let me know what I can do to help you out anytime!
Best wishes!

Kristen O'Dell said...


Through my observations as both an elementary and high school art teacher, I frequently notice a number of students have a hard time thinking for themselves as most of their classes are structured with step by step directions leading to a specific outcome. Even before I was introduced to TAB, I struggled with getting students to think creatively and for themselves. If there were any two goals I would set for myself as a teacher to assist my students in achieving, those would be the ones! I find TAB more conducive in securing the desired environment, allowing students to grow with knowledge about art while also providing them with the needed life skills to be successful in the 21st century.


Clyde Gaw said...

I agree Kristen....getting many students to think for themselves is an issue. Using art traps has helped me a lot. The bigger question is this....why can't they think for themselves? Is it because they lack executive functioning? Are they developmentally lagging from their autonomous classmates? How did they get this way? The next question is I assign activities specific to these groups or do I give them time to practice executive functioning? The way I am handling giving them time and more stimulation.