Story Illustrations: Our high school students were paired up with a few younger students. They collaborated on writing a short story that the older students illustrated and read to their younger buddy. More photos of the books to come soon.
Every so often, I come across this quote from Lois Hetland and each time I read it, it cuts through a lot of clutter about teaching and learning and reminds me about what is most important when teaching art. I strive to teach my students how to be autonomous decision makers who can navigate their own creative curiosities. This means that art makers may take a circuitous path towards the completion of their goals and the goals may shift along the way. Students learn to develop ideas for inquiry, make a plan of action for work, set up their materials, experiment with materials, collaborate, learn along the way information that will help them accomplish their goals, express, observe, reflect/revise. I tell my students frequently that in order to make good work, they must make a lot of work. One piece of art will not define if they are good or not, but it will lead into hopefully more art making and more authentic art investigation.
"The real product of art education is not the works of art, but the child. We have to keep that firmly in mind–though it goes against several grains. If you are an artist and you want to make good art, I urge you to go into your studio and make good art. What you need to do as a teacher of art is create kids who make good art, create kids who think well as artists, who have an artistic mind.
As artists, kids have to learn to chase the quality of their work. Artists must make the best art that they can make, but that's not your job. Your job is to get your students to chase the quality of their own work and make the best work they can make. So it can be confusing. I think we get really trapped and stuck in thinking that it's our job to make really high-quality work, so that we can put it out in the hall and everybody will say that we have a good art program. I think we have to be careful of that trap because you can turn your class into a production factory and then your kids don't develop artistic minds, even though they may be making beautiful work that is hanging in the hall. What I'm really urging here is more autonomy on the part of the student artist–they need to be making the decisions if they're going to make a better mind."
~ Lois Hetland from Every Art, Every Child: A Look at Lois Hetland's Eight Studio Habits
*I read this quote this morning and thought I should update my blog and add it to the blog....I had completely forgotten that I had posted the same quote once before. I'm posting it again, because I really believe in it.