Sunday, July 19, 2015

TAB Institute 2015 Photos

MassArt Tree House residence is a spectacular structure in the heart of Boston.
Participants view an exhibition of their student's art including statements providing insight of the artistic activity. 
Teachers prepared and shared demonstrations of their practice. Karen Frenchall gives a talk on shadow puppets.
More demonstrations and discussion of successful practice.
Room 206, a bona-fide choice based art room provided teachers with space to create new teaching materials. 
Stefanie gives a talk.
Katherine shares her passion for teaching with other TAB high school teachers.
Ian Sands ask the question, "Why don't we give students the same opportunities to create and experiment that contemporary artists utilize for themselves?"
George Szekely provides insight into the imaginary realms of children.
TAB Institute director Diane Jaquith shares information at breakfeast each morning.
Jean Freer Barnett shares a student success story.
Julie Toole shares her pedagogical insight with teachers.
TAB Institute visits the Fenway Studios.
Director Diane Jaquith preps the TAB Institute crew for new activities. 
Kathy Douglas shares a story from her illustrious teaching career with TAB teachers. 
TAB Institute 2015.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

TAB Institute 2015: July 12-17 Boston

A one week intensive course presenting basic and advanced methodology for choice based art educators.

To register for the TAB Institute contact Mass Art here: 
Flier designed by TAB Institute Director Diane Jaquith.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Teaching for Artistic Behavior As Alternative To Test-Driven Curricula

Rhizomatic approaches to curriculum address children's unique biological capacities for learning.
The recognition that creativity is innate and children are born with innate intellectual capacities is a fundamental understanding of human nature and learning by teachers who practice Teaching for Artistic Behavior pedagogy.

TAB pedagogy is readily adaptable for general education purposes. There is no reason why creativity, NOT standardized, data-driven curriculum experiences, cannot be the centerpiece of a child's K-12 educational experience. 

To ignore heterogenous conditions of children in the delivery of curricula is to ignore reality. How are curriculum structures designed to optimize the experience of learners with unique cognitive profiles? What is the psychology of learning to be employed by teachers during the learning experience? How are students motivated to engage in their learning? How do educators view the human mind?

Classroom setting designed to support children's time-sensitive expression of ideas. 
Children engage in nomadic educational experience in learning environments dedicated to creative self-expression and student interests.
Rhizomatic curriculum diagram for regular K-12 classroom groups.
I propose an emergent curricula to replace curricula structures that do not support the unique capacities of the human mind. I propose a curricula in which primary experiences are driven by student(s) with teacher acting as program facilitator, coach, mentor, educational provocateur and designer of the learning environment.  I propose an experience in which learners may negotiate experience with their teachers, whereby ownership, emotional drive, autonomy and democracy are considered vital components of educational experience.

In order to promote motivation, intellectual growth, self reliance and arouse personal interest without diverting attention away from time sensitive ideas, daily learning experiences will be organized around the creative process, individual and collaborative interests, inquiry and experimental activities. In order to support individual creative learning experience we propose utilizing a learning structure that is rhizomatic. Rhizomes support learners who are interested in creativity. When we talk about creativity in this context we are talking about all facets of creativity. Learners enter the rhizome at any point where they are guided by their interests, strengths, curiosities and desires. Learners and the learning community are the curriculum and may form collaborative groups if so desired. Socially constructed forms of learning experience are major features of rhizomatic learning experience and will enhance the process and experience of learning. The revolution in education is here. It's name is Teaching for Artistic Behavior. More to come later!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Teaching for Artistic Behavior Optimizes Developmental Pathways

The events described in this post took place during one class setting on April 24th, 2014.

Eight year old Frank is helping five of his classmates select materials for a large floor sculpture. “Dude! We added new designs to it. Look we got things like new support beams!” John watches the action, “How are you making this thing? Can I help you?” Frank replies, “You could, you could put something down here on it.” Working with wooden blocks, chairs and benches, Frank and his crew of 2nd grade classmates are in the course of building a 15 foot long re-creation of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. Their teacher has been observing from a distance and moves in to converse with the builders, “Aren’t you concerned about the safety of your bridge?” The boys respond, “It’s safe! It’s safe! It’s not that bad, you’ll only fall two thousand feet!” The historian of the group, eight year old Ken provides insight, “The Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapsed when it was 4 months old. It sadly collapsed while a poor dog was trapped inside a car. He later fell at the bridge. He did not make it out alive.”

Ken’s teacher is fascinated, “What a tragedy! What inspired you to build this bridge?” Ken explains, “This is the ‘new’ Tacoma Narrows Bridge. The old Tacoma Narrows bridge video is on the Internet. So we watched the video and we got inspired by it so we built this one.” Ken’s team, an energetic group of boys, continue to stack and weave new parts into the structure and have transformed ordinary stools into bridge columns. The teacher congratulates the boys on their attempt at initiating such a large project and documents their sculpture progress with digital photographs. He moves on to observe and interact with other students.

Evidence of unique developmental rhythms and the personal nature of art making are all around Frank, Ken and John’s classroom. Moving about freely, other classmates have set up their own work spaces, communicate easily with each other and busy themselves with a variety of materials, tools and art making techniques. Two girls are painting landscape pictures, another girl works on a giraffe illustration while a boy concentrates on a dragon drawing with pencils, oil pastels and paints. Another student knots yarn to create a bracelet while her best friend is working on what appears to be a non-objective painting with green and blue tempera paint. The teacher notes there are painters, sculptors, weavers and other artists working in the room. He documents their activities with a digital camera.

The children exhibit a natural capacity for creative actvity. The teacher believes there can only be one reason for the artistic behavior he is observing. Art making is an inborn endowment. Heterogeneous groups of children are able to develop a myriad of intellectual, social and emotional skills through self-directed art making. In this setting devoted to child centered learning experience, students discover emancipatory knowledge of the self. These learning activities address real developmental needs and are not token responses but woven into the curriculum throughout the duration of the child’s experience in the art room.

The girl working on the green and blue non-objective painting begins to add packing tape to her wet painting. She informs her teacher she is engaged in an experiment to develop art with a shiny surface. After completing her experiment, she writes in her journal, “ Art is a part of being creative your always doing art. When your [sic] creative, your [sic] doing better than you are when your not.”

This artist statement reveals the efficacy of choice based art education settings to address neuropsychological domains of intelligence in children. Engaged in meta-cognition, the girl reveals how beneficial her art making processes are to her well being. That is a critical distinction here. They are her processes and her teacher is pro-actively facilitating her creative autonomy. Student autonomy is essential in order to fully address children's specific developmental pathways.

No where to my knowledge is this immensely important fact, that child development is inextricably linked to academic achievement, taken into account in mainstream education policy circles hell-bent on maintaining a broken system centered upon the intensification of high stakes standardized testing. Nan Hathaway and Diane Jaquith ask the question in their essay, "Where's the Revolution?" The revolution is happening now and it is being led by teachers who understand mind, body and spirit are all connected. These teachers are preparing learning environments and adjusting pedagogy to address developmental needs of children not addressed through traditional subject centered experience that focuses primarily on acquisition of technical knowledge.

Classrooms centered exclusively upon authoritarian forms of learning experience marginalize the possibility of children's opportunities for self-determination as a means of acquiring emancipatory knowledge of the self. This is problematic. There is significant mental health data to suggest that educational experience concerned primarily with predictability and efficiency, lacks efficacy in providing natural pathways for the unique in-born endowment, talents and genius of children to unfold.

Comer, J.P. (2005). Child and adolescent development: The critical missing focus in school reform. Phi Delta Kappan, 86 (10)

Hathaway, N., Jaquith, D. (2014) Where's the Revolution? Phi Delta Kappan, vol 95, no. 6, 25-29


Friday, December 26, 2014

What Does Creative Growth Look Like In High School TAB?

I have written about creative growth before.  I'm not going to assign Wiggins Creativity Growth Rubric scores to these works because you can see the growth for yourself:

What I observed over the course of five months is with continuous feedback inside a TAB classroom designed for autonomous learning activity, high school students of varying creative and intellectual capacities are able to generate their own art ideas, develop craft and scaffold and regulate their own learning. All without the use of radical behaviorism. No external rewards. No external incentives. Only the joy of art making and learning for learning's sake.

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.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

On Deficit Ideology

In the vast majority of US K-12 schools, pedagogy influenced by radical behaviorism, designed around data-driven instruction, intent on filling malleable minds with the same skill sets at the same time is wreaking developmental havoc. Significant numbers of children learn very early that authorities select, impose and manage their educational experiences whereby it is advantageous for the child to become a compliant, passive recipient of knowledge. Children who struggle to comply with teacher directives are ostracized and punished. State imposed high stakes standardized testing is a powerful incentive for educators to employ radical behaviorism and impose deficit model education. It is a matter of survival that educators do so. Children’s interests, strengths and passions are given token consideration when curricula is formulated. Curricula is centered upon passing tests.

In deficit model education, children are viewed as blank slates whereby curriculum focuses on what they don't know.  Educational experience becomes a technicized process done to the child where ultimately, machines ascribe a number to their educational experience, stack ranking children based on their ability to answer multiple choice questions loaded with distractors. In TAB classrooms, that paradigm is reversed. Children are viewed not as blank slates but designers of their own educational experiences and abundant sources of curriculum. Learners have varying degrees of control over the methods, content, pace and assessment of learning. 

One of the main points discussed in this blog is the idea that deficit ideology has no place in the art room. Looking at the big picture, deficit ideology I suspect, has done a lot of damage. All children are born with the innate capacity to learn. How many curious children have been turned into passive recipients of knowledge as a result of non-consensual radical behaviorism?

Human beings are not machines. The steady growth of TAB programs in K-12 art rooms across the United States is a direct result of children's positive responses to holistic and democratic forms of educational experience. Educators who honor, respect and support children's conscientious drive for autonomous, self-directed learning experiences will be on the cutting edge of the next revolution in education.