We transitioned from a total teacher directed art room to a Choice Based Art studio in January of 2018! Choice Based art, simply put, means teaching through choice. Having a variety of well planned studios independently run by the artists themselves! These choices allow for Artistic behaviors to flourish. A few artistic behaviors are:
Problem solving, problem finding
Constructing, experimenting, reflecting and connecting with other artists and the art world.
The studios we have at Glenrdige are:
Painting, drawing, architecture, sculpture, printmaking, fibers, collage and ceramics.
If you’re able to peek into the art studio, you will notice these studios are spread throughout the room, each having its own area. You’d witness artists generating their own ideas, selecting and gathering tools and materials, setting up their own work space, creating, independently cleaning up and sharing about their work. When you read between the lines, or look deeper if you will, you will see artists engaging and persisting, revising and reflecting, and improving their art skills through practice. This sort of predictable room with consistent routines, purposeful room arrangement, and accessible materials helps students develop the feelings of security that they need for creative risk taking.
So, why ? why is this approach in the art studio equipping our 21st century learners to be our future?.... And I’m going to quote here from the book “Engaging Learners through Art Making.” Written by two women who have been practicing this pedagogy for decades.
“Because mimicry does not ensure understanding. Nor does it respect students’ abilities to develop and pursue their own ideas through planning, collaboration, innovation and reflection. The teacher who is always in control of every aspect of teaching and learning may never see what is truly important in the lives of children. -Jaquith and Douglas
Each student is an individual. All of my students have different backgrounds and they have a vast array of different interests. Keep in mind, I’m not just talking about 20 -25 students that I’m trying to get to know annually, I’m talking about having close to 400 students here at Glenridge. I want to embrace their ideas and their individual forms of self-expression in the context of where they are. Art that is not made in their own context has little meaning. In a Choice based art room, artists are empowered to become passionate, intrinsically motivated artists. They are allowed the freedom to create their own “why” and connect their real life interests into something of value.