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Take a look at this student’s art work. Can you read what it says?
Did you read “Life Is Nowhere”… or… “Life Is Now Here”? A ha! It’s both. Let’s look at this idea in regards to art ed.
The age old saying goes, Never talk about politics or religion. That is, unless you want to get into a heated debate. The reason is simple. Most people have very strong views about these topics and they believe firmly that their views are right. There is another topic we may need to add to the list… art education.
The more conversations I have with art teachers, both in person and online, the more I realize what strong opinions we as art teachers have on a wide range of subjects. There are some obvious topics like “grading” and “due dates” that stir debate. There are also less likely candidates such as “should teachers work on their own art during class time?”
What I’m slowly discovering is which teachers are right and which are wrong. What I’ve learned is, most times they all are both right and wrong. Unlike politics or religion where one usually has to pick a side, a statement can be made about art education that can be right and wrong at the exact same time. Let me provide an example.
I was recently engaged in a conversation about due dates. One teacher argued that due dates were necessary. She cited that graphic designers encountered due dates every day of their lives. Another teacher countered, stating that students need time to develop their ideas to the fullest, similar to the way fine artists work. One can not disagree with the first teacher’s position because it is right. Graphic designers encounter due dates on a daily basis. However, one can not dismiss the second teacher’s premise about a fine artist’s need for time either. So who is right and who is wrong? Neither… and both.“What we need to consider is how another teacher’s position can be just as valid as our own even if we we fundamentally disagree with his or her premise.”
I have to emphasize that the topic “due dates” is just an example. We wouldn’t want the comment section of this post to fill with reasons why or why not due dates are important. What we need to consider is how another teacher’s position can be just as valid as our own even if we we fundamentally disagree with his or her premise. The reasoning, just like our own, can be both right and wrong.
Tell us, what are the topics that you most often debate with your colleagues? Can you see the other point of view?
Does this way of thinking come naturally to you?