Teaching with Contemporary Art

The Right Questions

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I was reminded today that good teaching involves taking more time to create high quality questions for our students to explore than it does planning the necessary steps to carry out units and lessons themselves. The essential questions that guide discussion and encourage exploration need to be big enough, but not too daunting, for those we are working with. They need to be phrased in language the whole class understands and not dressed up to initiate the answers we might expect (or secretly want). The questions need to leave room for multiple perspectives and the teacher needs to be prepared for surprises. Contemporary art teaches this. It should also guide our work in the classroom.

Pictured above: Laylah Ali, Untitled 2004. Gouache on paper, 8 13/16 x 10 15/16 inches. Courtesy 303 Gallery, New York

 

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