Teaching with Contemporary Art

Finding A Balance (Part 1)

Painting by Ashley, Age 17

Time and time again, we are reminded how sharing work by a variety of artists can inspire new thinking, perspectives, techniques, and meaningful questions, but we often get swept up in the drive to produce strong portfolios or “cover the curriculum” when, as Elliot Eisner puts it, we should be “uncovering” it.

This week’s post asks many questions and I invite you to weigh in on the possible answers….

  1. As art educators, how do we find a balance between teaching students to create art and teaching them how to engage with art?
  2. Is it wise to spend more time getting students to articulate their thoughts about art orally and in writing?
  3. Is it worth it to take time away from production in introductory art courses in order to teach students to understand, enter into dialogue, and ask good questions about art?
  4. What are the benefits of having students graduate from our classes who are more prepared to discuss their thoughts about art and perhaps less prepared to draw from observation?

PHOTO | Hairbrush painting by Ashley Lewis, Age 17