The teachers I admire are one-half avant-garde and one-half renegade. They challenge their students, and they challenge traditional learning.
Art is traditionally taught by introducing different materials and techniques to students, and then evaluating how well each student manages to follow directions or mimic the style of an artist.
When I began to learn about TAB, I was shocked to learn about a different way of teaching. I had been convinced that every student needed to do the same assignment, so I never considered providing them with more freedom. I simply didn’t know how to do it.
Now that I’ve dabbled with choice in art education, I think I’m ready for the next step. My classes have focused on the creative process while responding to a variety of themes for their major tasks. They have been allowed and encouraged to use their choice of materials to express their thinking visually.
…enter the Renegade
So, there are a few art educators down in a place called Apex High School, and they’re pretty cool. Really cool. Not only did they (along with Katherine Douglas) give me the courage to step/run away from some of my former habits, they have provided non-stop support and continually share their work. They even developed the Art of Apex Portal, which provides examples of artists’ work (conveniently organized by artistic behaviours), assessment strategies and demonstrations of various techniques.
Today, I began designing my first project that focuses on an artistic behaviour. I started by designing the task around a theme, and then I caught myself before I could go any further. …and asked for help.
I shared this screenshot with Ian Sands, who discussed the project with me; the goals and main ideas. I decided to focus on the artistic behaviour, Artists Tell Stories, rather than selecting the theme of “starting over” based on his advice (and my conscience). Now, I can design a task that is much broader and open to interpretation.
Other educators are the best collaborators. Thanks to the advice & suggestions found on the Facebook group, High School TAB, I’ll have a variety of artists to share with my students next week:
I won’t lie: change makes me nervous. And excited. Nervous, because I don’t want my mistakes to have a negative impact on my students. Excited, because this kind of change is good.