Friday, October 14, 2011

practical applications for the art classroom based upon nine essential strategies

The nine instructional strategies developed by McREL are as follows:
1. Identifying similarities and differences
2. Summarizing and note taking
3. Reinforcing effort and providing recognition
4. Homework and practice
5. Non-linguistic representations
6. Cooperative learning
7. Setting objectives and providing feedback
8. Generating and testing hypotheses
9. Cues, questions, and advance organizers

Identifying Similarities and Differences In The Art Classroom: This idea refers to the method of "compare contrast." Students need to be able to see, describe and develop examples of artwork  relating to different cultures, time periods, and philosophy according to DESE  state standards. Some traditional strategies for introducing compare and contrast activities might involve the use of: Venn diagrams, Power Points, or art posters/prints in the art classroom.

Summarizing and Note Taking In The Art Classroom: Summarizing what you know usually presents itself in the form of tests, quizzes, and students art assessments of studio work. Summarizing can also be effectively practiced during presentations and art critiques as well. Note taking has become increasingly popular through the keeping of art journals and many art teachers grade these as either a midterm or final exam, instead of the more traditional final studio project.

Reinforcing Efforts and Providing Recognition In The Art Classroom: Many art instructors now develop their grading methods based upon consistent efforts made by a dedicated art student. The key to this philosophy is rooted in the idea that all students progress in the arts at different speeds. Therefore, it is also just as important to reward dedicated behaviors with high marks as it is to give grades according to standardized student/professional results.
   Recognition comes often through increased inclusion in exhibits and by lifting expectations just a bit higher in each additional art assignment. This is the kind of recognition that goes beyond compliments. Expectations are far greater than tangible rewards and these should be used liberally in an academic environments.

Homework and Practice In The Art Classroom: Practice not only makes for perfection in the art studio but it also trains the young to become self-sufficient and confident. Students are painfully aware of the differences in the professional artworks that they compare to their own. Teaching that focuses on training the young to succeed should never be eliminated from the art classroom. Remember, students can be taught how to produce successfully articulated renderings. They will need these skills to compete with others in the future. Never avoid teaching obvious skills under the pretense of superior art philosophy. Art students will have ample time to grow in that arena as they age. Indeed, what they believe and how they apply those beliefs is paramount to their adult lives, but first, they must be taught exactly how to say what they wish. They can not do this, if they do not know how it is to be done. Developing technical skill is necessary for even the most professional, articulate artist.

Non-linguistic Representations In The Art Classroom: The contemporary art teacher lectures, writes assessments and critically analyzes minutely in his or her classroom. However, art instruction demands that one must always include visuals to prove those queries, statements, and assumptions. The very nature of art is dependent upon this necessity, otherwise, the art classroom becomes a forum for philosophy alone instead of art in general.

Cooperative Learning In The Art Classroom: It is always helpful to articulate some art activities around small or large group projects. Art is not only created by the solitary, heroic figure of the American individual. Art is also created by entire societies and also smaller sub-cultures. An thoughtful art teacher reinforces this concept through group activities as well as lecture. Indeed, group lessons will bring these ideas to realistic fruition long before mere verbatim ever will. If you want your students to understand art and culture it is best to have them reenact the cultural norms that they experience personally. Then they may be taught what it is to be from another culture on a deeper level.

Setting Objectives and Providing Feedback In The Art Classroom: Objectives should never be a mystery in the art classroom. Teachers should always repeat information by visual, comprehensive, auditory, and kinesthetic means. This is because we understand that people learn by a variety of means, some leaning more toward one mean than another. A good teacher covers all of her bases in order to fully engage students with every learning disposition in her classroom. Don't become quick to give into exasperation! Expect to repeat yourself over and over. Turn it into a kind of challenge. How many ways can you say the same thing?
   Providing feedback is done through traditional group reviews and exhibits. But art teachers can also use modern technology to do this as well. Develop a blog forum and require students to participate, even if they only just leave a few comments. You may find that they are more comfortable with this kind of feedback than any other.

Generating and Testing Hypotheses In The Art Classroom: I love the idea of presenting a "what if" to my art students or even showing just part of an artwork or film, and then asking them how it will come out in the end. Students find this kind of participation very entertaining. However, they are not merely being entertained. You are actually asking them to think of their own innovations and results. This builds upon prior knowledge and also encourages personal development skills.

Cues, Questions and Advance Organizers In The Art Classroom: Think before you think. Studies have shown that reminding students of what they know or asking them questions in preparation of an experience helps them to mentally shift into a proactive mode of learning. Advance organizers are the quiet contemplation before the storm. In other words... "I've heard this is coming, I know that this is coming, it will soon come into my space and now, it has arrived. What shall I do with it?" Graphic organizers can come in the form of a question, an image, a quote, a brief reading, an outline etc...

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