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honoria in ciberspazio

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Will I get fired?
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I was at a faculty discussion about classroom dynamics that was so teacher-centered it made me uncomfortable.  I support my students by encouraging conversations and their use of professional vocabulary rather than marking up their drawings.  I do not mark up drawings.  I respect student work and encourage students to explore and experience and critique each other.  The other instructors told me I would get fired for my style.  What do you think?

Student H

I feel that my skills have improved over the course of the first three weeks of this class. I can "feel" the direction of the tendons and striations when I am drawing them. My hand has started to automatically follow what I am seeing when it comes to muscle shape. I feel like my eye/hand coordination is benefiting greatly. Plus... I now know the communis are what enable me to bend my fingers to draw and what the supporting skeletal structure looks like.

I really need to work on eyeballing proportions and memorizing the measurements. I refer to the book or illustrations for measurements constantly. My goals are to get more familiar with charcoal, loosen up and lighten my renderings a bit and memorize the proportion tricks so I can draw from my memory.


Class: H makes an observation that reveals that she is internalizing the anatomy lessons. This is an important step for artists who draw the human form. Learning the muscles and bones intellectually must be taken further. Our knowledge must be understood by our own bodies. I've seen many artists unconsciously take the pose of the model before drawing it so that they can feel which muscles are tensing and supporting the distribution of weight.

Student J
 Being able to "feel" the pose of the model is a great help in drawings. Because of my background knowledge of anatomy, I have found that I can feel the various muscles/tendons/ligaments working together to put the body in the pose. For me, my lack of technical art knowledge has been my hurdle, but as I gain the artistic knowledge I can see everything starting to flow from what my "minds eye" can see about the body into what my hand is putting to paper.

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(Deleted comment)
I'm going to start a "great student conversations" thread in the faculty discussion boards and promote the Socratic Method. That way I'll find other teachers who ask lots of questions and other instructors can see the results. Fun Fun.

Teaching with the students (was Will I get fired?)

First of all, respecting what the students already know has to be a primary attitude of any teacher. Because we already know things, and are continually learning, we are able to respond to guidance, correction, and instruction. Second, I don't see any other way for the students to learn how to exercise and develop their own judgments and intuitions. After all if I'm going to learn anything I need to do the work. Teachers can't learn for me.

And third, if it's not already clear, I'm a fan.


Re: Teaching with the students (was Will I get fired?)

Thanks guys. I am very proud of my students because they really grow critical thinking skills quickly under my questions. They learn to write about art and composition in a way that will get them jobs.

One person at the meeting said something like, "Oh they (the administrators) all believe in the Socratic method" -- as if the Socratic method was anti art. You can tell I didn't have fun at that meeting. I tried to talk to them about strategies for helping students critique themselves and each other but it became clear that the faculty themselves do not value that part of teaching. They want to be the boss and the art critic. So be it. Fortunately it was a phone meeting. I just put it on speaker and let them ramble on. I think I will write a little essay on the Socratic Method in art education and post it in the Graphic Design group. Maybe they will ask more questions and do less mark up.

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