Monthly Mentor

Katherine Douglas (February)
Each month, a different member is the guest writer for the NAEA Monthly Mentor Blog. Katherine Douglas has a B.S. in Education from the University of Maryland and a Master’s Degree in Integrated Studies from Cambridge College. She studied with Dr. Peter London in the Drawing from Within Institute. Retired after 36 years of teaching elementary art, Douglas has been a visiting lecturer at the Massachusetts College of Art and & Design and an instructor at Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts. She is a co-founder of Teaching for Artistic Behavior, Inc., supporting teachers who practice choice-based art education. Click "GO" to read her full bio.

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« The Bumpy Beginning of a Young Teacher | Main | A closer look at Teaching for Artistic Behavior (TAB) »

February 06, 2018

Making Progress and Meeting Collaborators

From: Katherine Douglas

As I continued to refine the studio offerings and improved in managing the time, the space and the stuff of the class, I gradually created goals for my students:

1. To have an idea
2. To gather tools, materials and resources to explore the idea
3. To explore the idea, with possible course changes, mistakes, and new directions
4. To know when they were finished
5. To put away tools and materials properly
6. To reflect and/or share what had taken place
7. To decide what’s next

I found that my young students incorporated these goals into their weekly studio time and grew in their ability throughout the three years they were in my class. Looking back, it has occurred to me that these seven art making steps are often in the hands of the teacher, not the students, in some art classes.

Paint partners

Working with other like-minded colleagues who were also supporting independent student work enlarged my understanding of authentic art practices “The job of the artist is to have an art idea and find the best material to express it, or to use a material that leads to an idea. This is the real work of the artist.” (Pauline Joseph, 2003)

Pauline and I and John Crowe and Diane Jaquith began writing about our experiences and sharing them at state and regional conferences, and at NAEA in 1996. The more we connected with each other, the better our teaching became—when you explain your work to someone, you learn more about it too!  As we began to write more, the Internet also grew easier to use, and other thoughtful teachers were drawn to reach out to learn more and, importantly, to share what they had created on their own. Over time, with the expansion of blogs, Facebook groups and Twitter feeds, art educators came out of isolation and found that they had a lot to offer higher education, corporate publishers and suppliers, and of course, their professional organizations. At this point, our group named ourselves (and a graduate course at Massachusetts College of Art and Design) Teaching for Artistic Behavior or TAB.

-KD

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