In electives when do you push and when do you step back?
In the ever changing landscape of education I recently began to wonder about how the role of our electives(or specials) might change or not change in order to support a more democratic learning process.
It all started earlier this week…
I was having a lively chat with @TechnoKato about Art Class and what role or purpose it served with the shift in education to a more learner focused environment.
I quickly discovered we were on opposite sides of the fence on the role of an Art Class.
To sum it up, TechnoKato shared that she felt that an art class should push an artist out of their comfort zones in order to experience other mediums and techniques and thus become a better artist in the process.
I asked, what if and why can’t learners be left to advance themselves and practice in the medium they prefer, thusly allowing them to refine their ability within their interest.
All of this before our second cup of coffee.
For the rest of this day, I was fixated on:
What is the role and goals of our specials/elective programs in schools?
Upon arriving at school I was met by a student who stopped by for some tech support. While assisting her I noticed an amazingly detailed piece of artwork on her hand.
Naturally, I asked questions about this stunning piece of work.
She shared with me that she was curious about the bones in her hand, texted her cousin (in the medical field) and asked if he could send her a photo of an X-ray of a hand.
The resulting artwork she created:
I thought that this was a wonderful piece of evidence which supported my initial thoughts on the matter.
Later that day I was walking down the hallway when I discovered these gems on the wall created by kids in our Art Class:
Again I was stunned by the talent of our kids, however, this time I thought these pieces supported TechnoKato’s ideas around Art Class.
The image of the Eye was created by one of my very talented editors and photographers…
Again, this got me thinking.
Had he only ever taken photos (a preferred medium) would he or would we ever know that he possessed this amazing talent?
Again, back to the initial wondering about role and purpose.
There was a note sharing details of the work and learning behind the art
At this point I was met with a new thought
Perhaps I’m thinking of it all wrong. The class isn’t designed around product and perfection it is designed around experiences.
Our electives have found a balance, it seemed to me. The teachers focus on offering a variety of experiences, within their selected medium, for our kids while encouraging them to explore their own ideas within these opportunities.
A photographer might never draw or paint, but in Art Class, they might experience both and discover something about themselves that they never knew!