Good and Bad Art Teaching Practices
Art 309: Art for Children, Spring, 1999© Marvin Bartel, instructor
from first test,
February 11, 1999.
essay item 1. List bad art teaching practices and good art teaching practices. Explain them and give examples.
"In an art class the purpose should be to teach children to express their individual creativity through a visual language. In doing this, good teaching choices are to immerse the students in experience of the subject. This can be through asking them to express what they already know, using multisensory subject matter that can be observed, or placing students in the context/setting of an experience (this can be done by a field trip).
In some instances teachers will want to use accretion to encourage students to develop their work further. This means asking questions about the work to encourage further action. This might be necessary if a student is finishing quickly and not thinking through the process, if a student continually draws small pictures on large paper, or if students have difficulty beginning a project.
Other concerns - not mentioned on the student paper.
Do not draw or paint for the child even if the child says, "You do it." Or "Can you show me how?" If the topic is from a memory , the teacher first attempts to motivate through clarification, through questions to bring passive knowledge and memories into awareness, and reassure the student that her/his own work is valid.
If it is from direct observation , the teacher goes to the object, animal, or person being observed. The teacher carefully points out what can be seen such as edges, sizes, shadows, shapes, proportions and so on at the item being observed, but not on the child's artwork?
If it is about a topic from the imagination , the teacher can ask open questions (questions with many correct answers).
Nonverbal motivation such as taste, touch, smell, sounds, role playing (psychodrama, play acting, and pretend), etc., are often successfully used to help children feel the urge to create and communicate.
If a child is still reticent to create, a teacher can switch from visual art to another art form such as song, dance, rhythmic sound, body motions, poetry, tall tale, and so on. Once they get rolling in an art form they understand and feel, they can often easily see the similarities in visual art and move from one form to the other. If drawing confidence has been ruined by a perfectionist adult, the same child may feel quiet good about spinning around, bouncing, or skipping in response to music. Once the confidence is restored, a teacher can help the child see the visual art as an interpretation or extension of the nonverbal. -mb