Time does not feel like my friend right now. Not only am I behind schedule but I don’t feel like I’m moving the class along efficiently either. It’s not my students. It’s all me. It feels like I’ve planned twice as much as I should’ve and everything is taking twice as long. I know dialogic teaching and artmaking take time; that quality takes time. I suppose that I would feel better about the time I’m taking if I knew my choices were the best use of time. I hope the students are getting a lot out of what we have been able to do but I won’t know until they do their responses this week. Personally, I have my doubts. I don’t know what to do with these doubts and the feeling that I keep making mistakes. I’m in process and it’s a vulnerable place to be, trying to maintain faith that your efforts will bear fruit. Or trying to get comfortable with the possibility that there may be no fruit. I need to reassure myself that the first time you do anything will probably be the most challenging. I have to expect from myself what I expect from my students - comfort with discomfort. But I can encourage my students. Who is going to encourage me?! My research and my belief that this is the right direction encourages me - but I find myself feeling the needy. It can be good to keep a role-model in mind - an imaginary friend of sorts to emulate. When I teach this semester I try to teach like Dr. Edmiston from Teaching & Learning because his teaching feels vital and life-affirming and in his class I feel like I’m part of a community of learning and teaching. I just wish I could shake this feeling of constantly falling short of my expectations and ambitions.
I’m going to be very interested in how my students respond to the name banner exercise I call “It’s not just what you say but how you say it.” I think it’s accessible, and I think it is something they could use themselves, but was it worth the time we spent on it? It introduces basic metaphorical thinking, which I think is useful in all classrooms but especially so in artmaking. And it encourages students to think about how the way something looks can communicate ideas, similar to body language. The lesson has to be very truncated, as I would prefer them to have more time to sketch and brainstorm Am I doing more damage than good by not engaging them more deeply in artmaking? Or would they even be ready for such a thing? So many questions over just a simple name card. For what it is worth, there are other ways I could learn their names and I still think that I will have to make a rough seating chart just to learn everyone’s names, something like the visual map of the classroom with spaces for names like my Cooperating Teacher Tish Kilpatrick showed me back at Littlewood Elementary in Gainesville, FL. Not being able to name everyone by sight adds to my feeling of vulnerability. I feel less confident calling on individuals and I don’t like that feeling. I’ll be much more proactive about this the next go around.
Likewise I have my doubts over whether or not it was useful to spend class time going over the results of the intro survey. The survey itself is critic/ al to my conception of the class, but is it critical they get an idea of the interests of the group? I was very interested in the results obviously as the instructor and researcher, but I’m not sure it was mutual. Some seemed engaged at points but it wasn’t something we spent much time discussing. It was more like food for thought. I took the text from their responses to several of the questions, including all of their comments and responses to the topic of “What is creativity?” and visualized the text using a website Wordsift.org. I thought this might be a fun tool for them to know about - a visual way of looking at data. As I’m writing this, I think next semester I could probably post the survey results on the website and ask students to review the results and respond, which might be a more fruitful way for them to analyze and interpret the data. Additionally, their answers to “what is creativity?” were based on videos they watched and I think that it would be more useful to ask them to answer this question un-primed next time, without any exposure to course content. Here I am, only 5 weeks into this semester and already planning the next class! This just reminds me of the creative process, as we discussed in class. I’m already feeling a bit down that my grand curricular schemes are not unfolding the way I’d imagined - like always - and yet I’m already finding my next source of inspiration in planning a fresh attempt. There is so much overlap between artmaking and teaching. Craig was right. Teaching is an art.
A few results from the survey worth sharing:
Another interesting part was the poll that students took today in class. After realizing that I would have to cut significant parts of my curriculum, it dawned on me that I could turn the hard decision over to the students and share more control over the curriculum. I gave a little explanation about each topic on the chopping block and the students voted anonymously using strawpoll.com. The results were not what I would’ve expected and would probably not have been the topics I would’ve cut. Oh well!
We will most likely have to cut both of their lowest choices - What do designers do? (Where I was going to cover gamification and STEAM) and Is there more than meets the eye? (discussing subjectivity and critical thinking, especially thinking about fake images). While I only asked them to cut one, I doubt based on my current pace we will get to either of those. No students wanted to cut the Museum Field Trip or Art & Storytelling covering Narrative Art & Illustration (which is probably one I would’ve cut, since the Education College has a strong focus on literacy already). I’m glad I put the ball in their course and I’m interested to try this each semester. But I’m a little bummed that students didn’t seem that interested in critical thinking. Maybe I didn’t do a good job selling it? Que sera sera!
A reading that I love to give students is Nicole Gnezda’s Cognition and Emotion in the Creative Process. The article walks the reader through the ups and downs of the creative process and discusses creativity in relation to art education. Gnezda tries to demystify what is going on in the head and the heart when one is engaged in creativity and I have found over the years that this information is incredibly relatable to creative students and relevant for all students. In the past, I’ve had art students say things like, “Wow! This is me! I had no idea this is how I work!” To which I might respond, “I know! Isn’t it insane that you’ve gone all the way through school and no one ever thought to teach you how your brain works?!?” Yep. That’s our education system in a nutshell.
One thing I like to do with this article to help students understand how the creative process feels is diagram the ‘creative rollercoaster.’ It’s not a common practice (that I’m aware of) but I occasionally enjoy visualizing or graphing a reading for tone or to clarify a concept. I’ve done this with students before but starting with this approach led to almost unanimous downed-heads and eye-contact avoidance. You have to be able to tread water in awkward silences as a teacher. Fortunately, I had already read their responses, which were thoughtful across the board, so I had no doubts that everyone had read the article. So let’s back up. We reset with more general questions - What was the main point? Were there any surprises? After we built up a little knowledge base, I sort of had to lead the students through the diagramming, but I think they were engaged at that point. They just hadn’t considered doing such a thing I think. I should have asked them to diagram it themselves in their sketchbooks before we spoke or in their responses online. I wonder if all these ways of looking at text data, like wordsift.org and diagramming will stick with any of them?
As we were discussing the Gnezda reading, I found an opportunity to present the information regarding research claiming that teachers dislike creativity and subsequent analysis that seemed to raise questions as to whether teachers understood creativity (or at least, could identify the characteristics of creative people according to experts). Based on the survey, the majority of them explicitly support creativity, just like the teachers from the above analysis said they did. Is this disconnect between supporting creativity yet not really understanding it the crux of this course? I’m very interested to hear what students think about this and I will want to try to connect to it again in the future. It seems to signify that our discussions about the nature of creativity will be useful for these future teachers. But will our relatively short time together really impact their understanding and application of creativity in the future? Maybe next time around I should have my students try to identify the traits of creative people at the beginning of the semester to see if their language parallels that from the aforementioned study. Perhaps there will be new insights from trying to duplicate and influence their definitions and notions of creativity in general? But is all of my focus on creativity taking too much attention away from authentic artmaking? We art teachers hate to lose artmaking time - but there is so much more to artmaking than just making art! Something to revisit for sure.
One especially bright spot this week was first feedback! It was WONDERFUL! I was so pleased going through my students’ responses to their first assignments. Almost everyone met and surpassed my expectations and I was happy to reciprocate their thoughtfulness in my own feedback. It takes time to go through the written responses of nearly 30 students - but that’s the cost of quality. I noticed that, for myself, not assigning grades helped me resist getting lazy or taking shortcuts. For example, I could feel the temptation, after going through about more than half of the responses, that a part of me felt like it wanted to stop reading closely and simply assign a point value quickly after getting the impression that a response was satisfactory. I know that this is not dialogic teaching though and simply ends the learning before it starts. Not having points as a tool (weapon?) forced me to continue to read responses more closely than I might’ve if I was assigning points. I did find shortcuts along the way however, and everyone must experiment with what works for them to make feedback more time efficient. My method required me to focus on being concise while making connections between students where I might respond to a similar point or question by copying a bit of text that applied to both students. It seems that at least a little standardization of responses helps - though that can get repetitive and should be switched up.
The richness of their responses is very encouraging and seems to signal that I’m headed in the right direction. I shared with the group that I was impressed and I hope that this level of quality will continue without the ‘motivation’ of grades. Getting to see my students thinking and how they are responding to all the things we’re doing makes me think of what a shame it is that all this might be lost in a more traditional course! In comparison, I don’t think my feedback (a few hours) took much longer than careful traditional grading - and so far is waaaaaay more rewarding. I’m looking forward to our midterm meetings so that I can hear more about how they are responding to receiving this kind of feedback.
A couple students have not turned anything in yet, which is disconcerting, and I emailed them to see if they had questions or need help. Very non-accusatory. Some teachers out there will however accuse me of ‘hand-holding,’ but I think that is the response of someone that doesn’t REALLY care about their students (or only about the ones that do what they say) or perhaps has drank a little too much of the ‘tough love’ Kool-Aid or simply someone who might be more comfortable in the ‘corporate college culture’ than I am. Obviously I’m not going to continue to remind students throughout the whole semester, but why shouldn’t I reach out? Sometimes people just need to know that someone is thinking of them - notices that there might be something wrong. This might just not be the course (or semester or college) for them. Personally, it’s been fairly common in my experiences with traditional grading, especially in large classes, for one or two students to self-select out of doing well in the course by and having a bad start and not keeping up with assignments so I wouldn’t attribute any of this to “going gradeless.”
I’ll most likely still have to figure out ways to re-arrange or eliminate some more assignments for the students, as they are a class ahead of where we are already and I don’t want them to get too much further out or the connections won’t be as readily available for them to recall for our discussions. I’m thankful I’m using the Flipped Classroom model. I don’t know how I would do this otherwise with only less than 2 hours a week of contact otherwise. I just have a ways to go to figure out the best balance. Fortunately, I’m a tinkerer. I feel I am both a student and a teacher in this course, possibly moreso than I ever have before. We have to be as mindful of our own cognition and emotions as we are of our students. As teachers, we are always in process and that can be both an exciting and scary place to be!
Here is my Day 3 Outline
I have a confession. I’m a serial over-planner. I almost always plan too much. On top of this, I made a pretty silly mistake over the summer when I was planning this course and I feel like I should come clean. I didn’t realize that the course was two credits when I began. Typically, college courses are three credits, and the majority of GTAs in our department teach three credit courses. Unfortunately, it didn’t occur to me to check. Thank goodness I realized this BEFORE the semester started so that I could make last minute adjustments. But the cuts I made were not drastic enough. I fell in love with my curriculum and that is something to avoid. Fortunately, I feel free to make big changes because there is no number of points that need to be redistributed or manipulated because of “going gradeless.”
The major takeaway so far from this combination is that I need to SLOW DOWN. A big part of this realization is that I need to simply ‘listen’ carefully to the class as it moves forward and adapt accordingly rather than following a rigid sequence. Go with the flow essentially. And it’s clear at this point that the class will benefit a great deal from going over material deeply rather than quickly. I don’t believe the transformational change I’m aiming for cannot be achieved superficially. I’m enjoying our class discussions a great deal and so far I would guess about more than half of the class is actively engaging in our discussions. While I’ve invited those that haven’t spoken yet to speak up, I know it will take more intentional work to make full engagement a reality.
Part of the difficulty for me is that I haven’t learned my students names yet and I’m not learning them very quickly. This makes me feel far more vulnerable and I’m not sure why I feel like it’s going more slowly, except it’s probably just because I’ve seen them infrequently so far. But maybe I was over-confident, as I haven’t constructed a visual cheat sheet for myself yet by combining photos and names – our rosters only have a few student pictures and I haven’t taken class time for taking photos yet either. I may have to do this next class while they are working on their “It’s not just what you say but how you say it” typography exercise – your old-fashioned name cards, which I hope will help not just me but everyone learn each other's names. I have a good lesson to introduce the assignment that I first taught during my own student teaching. I was thinking I wanted to try something a little more fresh, but I think the typography exercise is a strong and meaningful lesson (I think) as opposed to most professors who just give the class paper and supplies. I also think the lesson will be broadly useful to them as teachers. More on this lesson next week! Sure, the students are capable of coming up with things on their own, but I think teachers who introduce this as free draw activity without scaffolding lose an opportunity for students to practice new knowledge or skills seems like a waste of teachable moment and class time to me. On the other hand, this name card design will take up a good chunk of class time. I don’t want it to be the doodle for the week since I don’t want students necessarily working towards completed compositions in their sketchbooks. Additionally, if I developed a name cheat sheet and really tried to memorize their names, I might not need them to make name cards to help me remember. Then again, maybe the name cards will be useful for community building enabling students to learn each other’s names? I’ll have to return to this dilemma at the end of the course to see if this time could have been better used elsewhere.
The other major takeaway is “Kill Your Darlings.” This, after all, is the inspiration for the name of this website. The original quote seems to be most attributable to Arthur Quiller-Couch but has been also popularity attributed to Robert Faulkner, Allen Ginsberg, Oscar Wilde, Eudora Welty, G.K. Chesterton, Chekov, and Stephen King. It’s considered good writing advice and I think it applies to all the arts and beyond. We often have to kill or sacrifice those things we hold most dear in the search for meaning, truth, growth, etc., rather than falling in love with our own work. We should try to see it objectively and make the hard choices that will drive our work forward and our medium or genre to the next level. What do you expect to gain if you are not willing to give up something precious? I have another bad habit in addition to over-planning (thought I sold argue this is a good quality, at least when compared to someone that under-plans – which for me would be panic inducing although I could see a brilliant improviser making it work). That bad habit is a tendency to treat my curriculum as precious (preciousness was somewhat beaten out of me in regard to my artwork by my MFA program. I work very hard on my curricula, pouring days and months over the summer into a single course.
Nevertheless, cuts must be made, if I care about my students learning as opposed to just ‘covering’ material. So this will be a little painful, I think, but it will be good for me. This is the enemy of teaching, in my opinion, when we become our own worst enemies (and the enemies of our students and learning) when our primary objective becomes to just cover as much content as we can. So this is a good thing because it will force me to focus even more on the most essential learning in my course. It just won’t feel that good at first. But if it helps the students transform and adopt “creative growth mindsets” then that is what is most important.
This past class went well and resulted in some solid discussion and also increased my student’s comfort with the class structure I think. We began class more traditionally this time and this proved to be an excellent point of comparison with our previous class’ open-ended clay “Task Party” beginning. Because the first class had been so open, loose, and low-pressure, it made the second class seem much more formal and stiff. Perhaps people tightened up a bit. This was because they had a writing prompt to respond to as they came in the room: “What do you believe about creativity?” Afterwards, we constructed cardboard sketchbooks, which felt very different to them since there was a right and wrong way to do it. I circulated a great deal but students were left to their own devices for the most part after a brief introduction and demonstrations from me. Some expressed that they felt more comfortable asking classmates for help since they had been able to socialize last time. There were several occasions when I stepped in to correct something, which always causes me to reflect how active a role I want to take in their learning. I felt that I was a little rusty with some of my old tricks. For example, I gave a lot more affirmative answers to “Did I do this right?” than I would’ve preferred. I think it is better to turn it around and say, “Do YOU think you did this right?” and then asking them to explain how they know. I need to work on this, but then again, I wonder if I’m overly concerned i this specific case since the cardboard construction is much more a straightforward sequence of steps moreso than other art exercises we will try.
It was important to me that we reviewed the syllabus a little today, especially working towards buy-in of “going gradeless.” We covered the previous assignment and I encouraged anyone that had not turned something in to do so asap. We had about 4 - 6 who did not complete each of the 4 tasks. I’ll contact those students directly. While we discussed some of the nuts and bolts of the course, I encouraged students to doodle and we talked about one of the assigned articles they were asked to complete, The Atlantic’s The Cognitive Benefits of Doodling which seemed like a great jumping off point for our course. We talked about how some students were surprised that their assumptions about doodlers being distracted might be incorrect and that doodling actually might help learners stay focused. When we unpacked this belief, it seemed most could attribute this belief to what a past teacher had told them, especially when they were punished for doodling. A few students mentioned that they would even be punished in some of their current college courses if their notes were ‘messy’ or included doodles or did not follow a rigid format. A little micromanagey for college, no? It seems that notetaking and recording information is a skill that could be developed and that there is confusion, if not conflicting messages, about what actually constitutes natural, effective notetaking. I encouraged my students to “take notes for life” and write down the things that seem meaningful and relevant for them - we’ll see what this results in over the course of the semester. This is what I do in my journals and sketchbooks.
I’m asking that students use their sketchbooks every class for doodling, especially during discussions, and submit a photo of their doodles each week. I’m doing this for many reasons. First, this might be a rich source of information about the type of thinking and connections being made in my class from the students’ points of view. Second, I’m hoping regular use of their sketchbook for doodling will develop a creative habit - and certainly I could always catch up with my students after they’ve left my course to see if they are still doodling semesters or years later. Third, I’m trying to correct this negative assumption about doodling. For my own research, I’m very curious what, if anything, might come from being able to see their thinking from week to week and the possibility of being able to compare their first and last doodles as well as their weekly doodles for each student for each class. Will these sketchbooks be more informative than my pre and post surveys or their creativity belief statement? What might their doodles reveal, if anything?
I had originally planned for another art exercise, as well as a discussion of the creativity videos I had assigned, but we ran out of time. Clearly, I over-planned. The wonderful side is that I think the students are engaging already and that’s exciting and motivating. But we also must stay on track. This is the dilemma of every teacher, and the cuts they choose can say a lot about their individual priorities. What is cut becomes the hidden curriculum. I feel that I should probably at some point post my original calendar/outline for the course and then my modified version for the sake of transparency. And as I’m writing, I realize that, while I could make an executive decision and unilaterally make cuts to my beloved curriculum. But now I’m wondering if this doesn’t provide a valuable opportunity to involve my students in the decision-making? Perhaps inviting them to vote on the topic(s) they might wish to cover or jettison this semester. Perhaps I make my over-planning, which I consider a weakness, a strength for the students that encourages more control over guiding the course and directing their learning. Let’s try it!
Are you also a serial over-planner? Under-planner? Do you tend to go for more depth or breadth? How have you had to adapt? How do you include students in guiding the curriculum?
You can find my ridiculously over-stuffed day two outline here.
In my last blog post, I cited research pointing out that teachers and bosses dislike creativity. Below is a graphic taken from an article (linked below). "Non-teacher creativity experts say that teachers don’t support creativity and teachers say they do. Who is right?" It seems that it may not be so much a dislike of creativity but perhaps a mis-identification of what creativity is, or at the very least, disagreement over what creativity is. Do teachers know creativity when they see it?
"In particular, the teachers’ model does include some of the expected creativity characteristics. The other characteristics in the teachers’ model would normally be associated more with acceptance, or “fitting-in” than with creativity. There is also a hint of good teamwork. Similarly, the least typical characteristics in the teachers’ model which are misplaced (in the opinion of the experts) are those which are likely to cause friction between a pupil and his or her peers or between a pupil and the teacher. In essence, the results suggest that, in an organised situation, there is a conflict between creative behaviour and acceptable behavior."
This is an interesting discrepancy that has many implications for creative teaching and teaching for creativity.
Class is off this week for the Labor Day holiday. So for our bye week, I want to take the opportunity to share a recent article on creativity by Dr. Liane Gabora, Associate Professor of Psychology and Creative Studies at the University of British Columbia, that I found particularly insightful. In fact, I thought it especially deserved special recognition due to its fair perception of creativity as a double-edged sword. Being an ambassador of creativity myself, I have read a number of essays and books and seen many videos and lectures advocating creativity and its critical importance, possibly for our very survival as a species. However, few and far between are the essays that advocate on behalf of both the creative AND the non-creative alike! Of course we need innovators! But let’s not discount the importance of our imitators too!
You may have heard in recent years about studies suggesting that most teachers and employers dislike creativity and that creativity is in decline. How is this happening and what can we do about it, many of us wonder scratching our heads. Some like Ken Robinson tend to criticize schools for squelching creativity, and I agree with many of his arguments. Our calls for more creativity seem at the very least justified. (Phew!) But should we panic or make a villain out of non-creativity? Perhaps as a response to this feeling of ‘creative crisis, there seems to be a glut of creative consultants and proponents. Search for “creative” on a professional networking site like LinkeIn and you’ll receive a seemingly endless list of folks claiming “creative.” And there are probably some in the field of art education who could be accused of privileging creativity above all else. Yet we as a field can’t even agree on a definition of creativity. Can we even claim it as a primary objective or is it one of those ‘I know it when I see it’ type of things?’ It all seems a bit flimsy. Instead of a ‘cult of creativity,’ maybe we would be better off considering how we can advocate a ‘this and that’ approach?
How can teachers support innovation in their classrooms without abandoning imitation? I believe that originality and mimicry are two sides of the same creative coin. I often wonder if those who associate creativity primarily with originality aren’t missing the bigger picture. I have observed the reality of the innovator and imitator dichotomy many times over the years with my own art students. Take my drawing classes for example. In my teaching of drawing, it was important for me to make space for both innovation and imitation approaches. Students learn from both copying and generating ideas.
Some students would love the “copy draws” I offered, where students were asked to reproduce their choice of drawings from a portfolio of “American & European Masters” (a lucky hand-me-down from the retiring art teacher I took over for at my first job, though there is little representation of women and artists of color unfortunately). Later, I found great support for this approach in Howard Gardner’s chapter “To Copy or Not” from his 1980 book Artful Scribbles. The students loved reverse engineering these examples of mastery and picked up many tricks trying to align their hands with the hands of the “masters.” This copying benefited me a great deal as well. Beyond forcing me to look more closely at these images, they served as an invaluable tool enabling me to see through my student’s eyes. I was able to gain a window into their thinking and observational skills - I could see where they struggled and where they persevered or gave up too easily or adapted. This information can be more easily disguised in original compositions as there is probably not a direct reference for comparison. And I think the students also gained an appreciation for looking more closely and spending more time with artwork. One day I should test that.
These humble copy draws improved their skills and brought them confidence but I know there are art educators who might read this with horror! Perhaps they forgot how much they learned by copying their favorite artists? Could you become a skilled basketball player or dancer if you never watched or copied from another basketball player or dancer? In more experimental classes, I’ve let students re-perform performance art to embody it and understand it more deeply and so it becomes less alien. After all, if performing the works of other artists is good enough for Marina Abromavic then it’s good enough for my students. Why can’t artists cover other artists just like bands cover the songs of other bands? But Jim, I hear some of you exclaiming, you claim to be an enemy of “school art style” cookie-cutter art but you advocate that kids copy?! I do. Sometimes. Copying is excellent practice, but it is never the final performance. The performance you must make your own. Copying is just a tool, like a punching bag, that makes you stronger. Some teachers abuse that tool and that is where the “school art style” comes in. The students copy the style of the artist without any of the substance.
Back in my drawing class, there were other students that revelled in drawing projects that required ideation and divergent thinking, like my 20 variation project where students were expected to produce 20 different drawings based on an object they chose. Sure, they might produce a few drawings faithfully observing and reproducing an object realistically. But some students would not come alive until they were free to joyfully frolic through the fields of experimentation in their efforts to render the respective objective in unique and unexpected ways. For some other students, they would have to run into the same wall over and over, generally imitating or creating cliches, until their frustration or boredom would push them at long last to some break through. Perhaps especially in art class, we need to make space for our innovators AND our imitators. In fact, it might be best if we encourage our students to move back and forth along this spectrum rather than unfairly celebrating one while admonishing the other. Would that not be a kind of ‘art prejudice’? After all, don’t most of us, as Austin Kleon suggests, learn by mimicking our heroes? We try to be our role models, until we fall short and realize that what makes us different from our heroes can also be our strength or what makes us unique rather than a shortcoming. That for me is the spirit of creativity.
You don’t have to want to be a different person to be more creative. Even artists feel more and less creative at times. And I don’t expect teacher to try to become artists overnight or make dramatic changes to what they do. That would probably cause more trouble! About as realistic or helpful as just yelling at someone to ‘Be creative!’ Some people believe they are creative, just as some say they are athletic or funny. But many more falsely think that creativity is either something that you do or don’t have. Compounding this is the widespread and mistaken association of creativity with unlimited freedom - the proverbial ‘blank slate.’ And yet that for me is quite the opposite of creativity. The blank slate, complete artistic freedom, I would argue, more often than not leads to conformity through reproduction of what one already knows. On the contrary, creativity thrives amidst constraints. It is working with what you have, within very real, and possibly urgent, limitations. To think outside the box there must first be a box. To expand someone’s horizons, there must already have been an end to their vision. My naive hope is in the 21st century, society will gradually abandon such dualistic, either/or approaches, in favor of a more inclusive, and more mature, and/both approach. Creativity is not magic. It’s a process that is practiced through many baby steps and occasionally, if you’re lucky, leaps with many many mistakes and moments of vulnerability. What I want more than anything for teachers to realize is that, just like artists, they too can possess what I call a “creative growth mindset.” Your creativity is like a muscle that can grow stronger over time. BI think that sentiment is echoed in one of the books linked to by Dr. Gabora:
“Teachers need not adopt a new curriculum, radically change what they are already doing, or attempt to add more to their already overflowing plate of curricular responsibilities. Rather, teaching for and with creativity is often more about doing what one is already doing, only slightly better.” -from Killing Ideas Softly? The Promise and Perils of Creativity in the Classroom by Ronald A. Beghetto
There’s a lot more to dig into in this article than what I’ve been able to cover here and I’d strongly encourage you check it out yourself. While I’m not positive that we will be able to cover this article in my class this semester, we will definitely discuss some of the points and themes presented! Do you agree with the article? Disagree? Do you balance innovation and imitation in your classroom or do you privilege one over the other, and if so, why? Did you find the essay as insightful as I did?
The article is available at: https://theconversation.com/what-creativity-really-is-and-why-schools-need-it-81889
I'll mostly be blogging about my experiences teaching. I teach a class online right now called Teaching K12 Art Online where I'll be exploring art online with art teachers. I also currently teach a (formerly?) face-to-face course called Visual Culture: Investigating Diversity & Social Justice which is an art, critical writing, and research course for undergrads. Before this, I taught a class called Art Curriculum & Concepts for Teachers where I was experimenting with cooperative & creative teaching integrating art and "going gradeless" with preservice early childhood education majors.