This new blog endeavor is a way for me to process how, what, when, why and who I teach art history for and about. Sometimes I will use run on sentences and sometimes the connections I am making might take a few moments or an email to ask me what I was thinking. I often write in a stream of consciousness style. Deal with all that and here we go!
I have many questions, which I hope to incorporate into my teaching, because if I want students to ask questions modeling that behavior as part of my teaching style is important. I also want to demonstrate why curiosity is important and inspire students to go beyond and make their own connections with art history.
There is too much art history in our world for me to decide what is crucial for each student and their experience. I will end up deciding and teaching certain things knowing that I am leaving out plenty. How I decide to teach what I teach will depend on what I am reading and seeing in the modern art work as well as students’ interests. What is important enough about art history to teach middle school students?
How do I inspire students to dig deeper and document their own connections?
Why do we teach art history through slides and memorization? Can it be a different experience? Can it include that with other ways that connect to the students’ world in a more personable way? Or how to we modernize the old slideshow? Instagram…?
Is knowing about cubism, dadaism, realism or other very much western and white culture dominated styles important? Why? Or is knowing about the elements and principles of art more important so that they can make decisions on their own and speak about and learn about these styles later on if they choose but have a command of the language (the jargon) instead of knowing who painted “Starry Night” or “Mona Lisa”? What else does that get them besides a point in a trivia game? Especially if they cannot have a conversation about the art or do not have an understanding of the inspiration or reason for the piece to have been created? Or have enough courage and confidence to ask questions about the art work?
I can do better as a teacher to provide students with a base to have the courage and confidence to ask questions, to wonder, to ponder, to seek and to state what the art means to them and listen as to how others connect to art. How will I do this?
The answers my friend is blowing in the wind …the answers my friend are blowing in the wind and I am out there chasing the wind!