Thursday, May 19, 2011

appropriate challenges motivate art students

      Skill and age appropriate challenges motivate art students. Teachers must know what most students in certain age groups are capable of learning before they introduce materials to them. Evaluate your students' skills before assigning a project. Make sure students can do some of the assignment on their own. Choose to give new challenges along with familiar ones at the same time. Expanding old skills while introducing new ones will nurture confidence in young artists. Young people can be made to feel as though they are being disrespected when educators "baby" them too much. Never dumb down the materials. If students have difficulty with the assignment, simply break it down into more manageable pieces for them to study. I keep the following points in mind whenever I’m confronting an art student with new ideas or methods:
  • Never set goals so high that students become extremely frustrated before realistically completing a task. You want to challenge them but not with too many difficult tasks at once.
  • I let my students assess verbally their concerns about the difficulty of a task.
  • I revise required performances according to student feedback.
  • Break up procedures into smaller/easier tasks so that students can manage the information and/or requirements.
      I’ve included a graphic below that illustrates Bloom’s taxonomy. This small chart includes all three aspects of growth that art students must experience in order to grow properly: cognitive, affective, and psychomotor. Students will observe while studying the chart that all three aspects including the head, the heart, and the hands develop according to student’s experiences and also according to their ages. (age is implied) Reminding students of these aspects may feel a bit tedious but such comprehension of the facts is necessary in order that they may give themselves a fair chance to learn in the arts. Part of this understanding also is achieved through skills that build self-esteem and patience. I often cut out a few steps, or add additional guidance to art projects in order that students may feel as though their artwork is more attractively accomplished. In these instances a little help can go a long way in convincing those who participate actively in the arts that they are able to accomplish larger than life goals.
(Grimm's graph based upon Bloom's Taxonomy)

article and graph copyrighted by Grimm 2011

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