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Arts Education - Assignment Example

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The students were gathering for art class. On the supply table lay a pile of pine cones, paint, glue and other accessories. As the second-graders filed in, they made a beeline for the table, but were redirected to their seats by the art teacher, Miss Burton. …
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Arts Education
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The were gathering for art On the supply table lay a pile of pine cones, paint, glue and other accessories. As the second-graders filed in, they made a beeline for the table, but were redirected to their seats by the art teacher, Miss Burton. She explained that they would be making winter ornaments out of pine cones - “to hang in your house, in your room, maybe on a tree.” She explained the process wherein the students would receive a pine cone and would first paint the pine cone. After painting it, they would be allowed to add glitter, feathers, fuzzy balls and a number of other accessories that she had collected.
The teachers view of artistic expression was first evident when a student raised her hand and asked, “What color should we paint it?” The teacher replied that the girl could use any color she wanted. When the student asked if she could use more than one color, the teacher said yes to that as well, “as long as you put one paint back before opening another one.” It seemed that the teacher viewed herself primarily as a facilitator and provider of materials, and that she wanted the students to make their own artistic choices.
She called for her two “helpers” to pass out pine cones. There were two long tables in the room, each made up of three smaller folding tables. Each of the smaller table received three pots of paint; the teacher reminded the students that they could “borrow” paint that wasnt being used, but should remain sitting and ask for it to be passed if they had a wet pine cone in their hands. The students went right to work. Many of them announced their choices enthusaistically and loudly, calling “Im doing mine green!” or “Mines gonna be rainbow!” The teacher smiled and responded encouragingly to these decisions, suggesting a commitment to encouraging students creative choices.
As the students worked, it became clear that the teachers main goal was to encourage students own artistic choices. When one little girl said she didnt know what to do, the teachers response was to ask her favorite color. When she replied that her favorite color was purple, the teacher asked if she would like to paint it purple. The girl liked the idea. The teacher then asked if she wanted to paint it all purple, or add another color. The girl replied, “Another color,” and the teacher asked what color she liked to see with purple. The girl chose pink, and was off to work. This suggested that one of the teachers aesthetic education goals was to get students thinking about color combinations and color choices in making art.
Then, a little boy, possessed of a pine cone in streaks of brown and black, remarked that he was “done.” The teacher held up the pine cone and asked if he wanted to add anything. The boy replied, “Nope.” The teacher suggested that it would look more interesting with some texture, and directed the boy to the accessories table, asking him to pick out a few things that would give it texture. This suggestion further confirmed that the teacher wanted the students to think about combining art elements, and also wanted them to understand texture, but in the context of their own tastes.
From these two interactions in particular, I gleaned that the teacher believed in helping the students let their own individual tastes guide their choices. Both the girl who was uncertain and the boy who was enthusiastic but a bit wilder were both encouraged to choose what they liked. This conclusion was futher confirmed as I watched the teacher remark on other students work. Her comments were always positive; her only critical suggestion was ever “Do you want to add anything?” Her tone of voice always suggested that it was the students choice. She seemed to believe in the students own aesthetics and the power of letting them guide their own choices.
This seemed to be a powerful experience for the students, as they eagerly grabbed paints and accessories and announced what their choices were. With each new choice they became more excited. This was the most exciting part of the class for me. I believe that one of the most important elements in arts education is the growth of students own aesthetics and the building of their confidence in their own choices. I felt nearly as excited as the student when Miss Burton asked him or her, “What do you want to add next?” I felt that this was an excellent way of developing her students creativity and encouraging their artistic choices, and encouraging them to reflect and make decisions toward their creation. All in all, I felt that this was an effective and exciting class, and I wished I had a pine cone of my own to take home! Read More
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