“So, you don’t teach techniques or skills?” “There is no demonstration in your lesson plans.” I have heard this quite a bit from other art educators. It’s not that I abandon skills and technique, but rather that I have a different perspective.
I feel that techniques are infused throughout the classroom, but do not sit at the purpose for artmaking.
“Develop Craft Days”:
I teach techniques on “Develop Craft Days”. I pick a few methods at a center and demonstrate those at the beginning of class. I try to pick something that my students need extra help on, or maybe it’s a new material in the center. I don’t like the boot camp idea for elementary students because it can be lengthy. I don’t get to see my students that often. I do like letting them pick their skill builders. They can pick through a few choices when I open centers, but I don't require them to do lengthy list of techniques. I prefer to encourage them to work on their thinking! Below, is an example of a collage skill builder that a fourth student created.
(Do what works best for your students!)
Artists teaching and observing other artists:
The art studio is a place to learn from each other. I have learned some fantastic techniques and skills through my students. For example, I have had students show up with new origami folding techniques they discovered. This student gave a demonstration to a small group of students. I believe that we tend to forget that art is universal. I shouldn’t be the only person in the class, giving all the demonstrates.
Techniques can be personalized:
I believe that students should refine techniques with media they are interested in. I know what materials I love as an artist, so I continue to develop with those. I should let my students do the same. I am there to guide and facilitate for them. This will allow my students to find their style and interest.
Below is one student's progression on stitching.
Techniques are meant to be discovered:
Artists love to use materials unconventionally. I feel like I see new techniques all the time on social media. A recent example was, Abby, that uses gravity to paint. This is one of the reasons I let my students experiment. I had a student create a clay pot by using different extruder shapes this year. I didn’t teach him this technique. He discovered it! Allowing students to explore techniques is part of the creative process.
What is your perspective on techniques and skills?
A place where I keep all of my thoughts on teaching an elementary Teaching for Artistic Behavior (TAB) classroom.
TAB Teacher Blogs