Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Pros VS. Cons

Okay, so now that nearly a whole quarter has gone by in this modified version of Choice Based, I have a list of good vs. bad, or pros vs. cons that I've compiled.

-Students have a choice in every aspect of their experience in this classroom.  They are the masters of their fate in here and have no one to blame but themselves for not enjoying their experience.
-Students that do not like a particular media (clay, for example) do not have to work with that media at all.
-Attitude has been so much more enthusiastic about the projects and the possibilities available to them. 
-Discipline has been so much easier as typical behavior problems are greatly reduced due to a greater level of interest in what is at hand. 
-Students have at times thought of their own independent projects or brought in work done outside of the classroom that have spurred ideas for myself, thus the student is inspiring the teacher and keeping things fresh for me.
-Requiring the students to write artist statements for each project causes them to really think about why they made something (concept) and how they went about making it (process), a reflective exercise AND also helps to strengthen their writing skills. 

-Some students that may be un-inspired tend to see another project being done and decide to copy it/do the same thing.  While imitation is flattery, having the end result of seven projects that look nearly identical can be a bit blah. 
-Because there is no limit to what students can do, materials seem to get used up so much more quickly.  For example I am almost out of glue for the year.  I mean really what art teacher doesn't have glue?  Well, in about two days it will be me!!!
-Ideally, while I would like to see students do the best they can to rotate around the room to the different stations, sculpture seems to be the big draw and everyone seems to want to do multiple projects there.  This quarter I did not set a limit of what could be done (other than with a limit of 1 clay project), I really think I'm going to have to rethink this for next quarter.  Sculpture/3-D is a seriously heavy user of materials and my budget and current reserve of supplies cannot keep up with the pace. 
-In all the hustle and bustle of just getting everyone what they need each day I feel that some of the basics are getting left behind and not getting relayed to the students.  I think next quarter I'm going to have to take a day here and there to have skill and knowledge building days.  Trying to relay this information individually as the student confronts a problem isn't being productive with the time and opportunity that I have available with them.  Sometimes I feel I am constantly repeating myself day after day, hour after hour, and I am because the students are all tackling the same basic ideas at different points throughout the quarter.  I did the basic setups and knowledge building for everyone at the start of the quarter, but realize now that I need to revisit and expand on these ideas multiple times throughout the quarter.  Students are only concerned with the station they are planning on working at at the time and let everything else pass through their ears it seems. 

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