Monthly Mentor

Jaimee Taborda (February)
Each month, a different member and NAEA awardee is the guest writer for the NAEA Monthly Mentor Blog. Jaimee serves as a Department Head, Mentor Coordinator, Adjunct Professor, and Secretary for the Massachusetts Arts Education Association. Click "GO" to read her full bio.

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February 03, 2020

My Journey to TAB

By Jaimee Taborda

Reflecting back on my last thirteen years as an art educator, I can see the evolution of my educational philosophy over the years. If you were to tell my younger self about the structure of my classroom today, I wouldn’t have believed you. Having a firm foundation in a traditional art background, I always believed that a student artist must "learn to walk before they can run." For my beginner art students, this meant a heavy focus on the basics, especially drawing and shading, through a series of teacher-directed projects. The problem with this approach was that if they weren't interested in the assignments I provided, it oftentimes turned students off to art. I spent a lot of time crafting my lessons to find just the right fit, but still, many students were not interested in doing my projects.

My Classroom

In the spring of 2016, I had the pleasure of welcoming a student-teacher into my classroom for the first time. This experience allowed me the opportunity to tackle a series of paintings I had been thinking about for years. I set myself up in a corner of the classroom and worked alongside the students. As I reflected on my own artistic process, I realized that I was not providing my Art I students in particular with an authentic art-making experience.  I was doing the creative heavy-lifting instead of allowing them to make decisions about what type of art they wanted to make. Now don't get me wrong, there are still a set of skills that students need to learn, but I have come to believe that this can happen in a more student-led way. If a student is interested in making art related to one of their passions, won't they be more receptive to lessons on perspective or facial proportions?

This belief has led me to implement a choice-based approach in my classroom. Since shifting my focus to Teaching for Artistic Behavior (TAB) four years ago, my whole mindset about teaching art has changed. My ultimate goal for students today is that they will grow to appreciate and understand the power of art. I want students to be able to solve problems, generate their own ideas, and create work with personal meaning. I want them to find their place in the art world, even if eventually that place is as a consumer of art and not a maker. I want students to discover their own interests, which could be sculpting or knitting or advertising or painting. I want to help students broaden their definition of art and embrace their own talents while still stretching and exploring new possibilities. These are the things I see happening in my TAB classroom every day. It is magical.

Inspiration Station
Want to learn more about TAB? Check out the TAB website here- https://teachingforartisticbehavior.org/index.html

Want a deeper look into my classroom? Check out my own website here- https://artofohs.weebly.com/

-JT

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