Friday, December 30, 2011

Valuing the Artistic Process

As an art educator I believe that making art is not simply completing a beautiful product, but the process that students go through to create the product. Sometimes the product does not come out beautifully, but the process should still be one that encourages problem solving and critical thinking. My job as a teacher is not to guarantee that all my students become artists, but that they gain an understanding of visual concepts and an appreciation for art. For myself, making art is always an adventure where I often learn about myself as well as the subject matter that I am capturing. I hope to create this experience for my students. However, many students come in with the idea that their artwork must be perfect and are worried I will grade them based on perfection and copying cookie cutter examples. This is not the way I teach art, and encouraging students to create identical products would rob them from an experience where they use their individuality to create and learn through that creation. Thus, I have always been more invested in the process of art making, rather than in the product that results. This belief leaves me with a challenge in my online classroom. I assign students a project, and then they submit it when it is complete. I rarely get to see an in process piece of work. In a brick and mortar school, I spent most of my time supervising students working through their artistic process by circling around the classroom. Even in my experience as a substitute teacher I was granted the pleasure of watching students work on extended art projects throughout the year as I would see them during different stages of their process. I do miss this experience in my online classroom, but this experience is not all lost. In my own class I watch students grow throughout their various projects and critiques that they complete. My students have noticeably improved their use of art vocabulary, knowledge of art history, skill in creating art, and (my favorite) they have become more comfortable with creating personal, unique artwork. Though I could not walk around the classroom and watch them each create the artwork that I see every week, I am still able to appreciate the process of growth in my students. As students progress through the different levels of art at my online school, they will be encouraged to write about each piece of art they create, as they do for some assignments in my class. Students are asked to write about the process they used to create their work, how they feel about the result, and if they would do anything differently. I believe reflection is a powerful tool for students and sheds some light on their process for me. At the end of each semester students complete a final exam that requires them to reflect upon their new knowledge and experiences. I will be sharing student responses in the coming weeks. See below one student’s growth process in my Art 1 class:

No comments:

Post a Comment