It really resonated with me and I think art teachers everywhere did a collective fist pump.
The speaker addressed some of the issues that were nagging at me as I felt a pedagogical shift toward student choice. I was working hard to merge the DBAE training I had with open-ended projects that allowed "room" for students to make choices. I alway thought it was working, until I started having students write artist statements. I provided prompts like "why did you make this", or "where did you get your idea" and was floored at the number of students who said "because my teacher told me to." That showed me that even when I thought I was giving students choices, they still saw the assignments as having a predetermined outcome, or at least as being MY idea. In short, I realized that I was doing the heavy lifting and more of the thinking.
Here is part of my post from almost 3 years ago. I will address my own concerns in a different color.
I’m attracted by the idea of TAB- students being real artists instead of making what they think I want them to make (no cookie cutters!), but I do have a few reservations. My reservations are more practical than theoretical, such as
In my Choice-based art room,
- My students are held to very high expectations.
- My students get more individualized instruction, small group instruction, and one-on-one conferencing with the teacher. The students can also become experts and share with their peers.
- I do not rely on online sources any more than I always have. I make use of technology when appropriate and we have a fairly low-tech art room with an emphasis on hands-on experiences.
- With guidance, my elementary kids actually make pretty good decisions, thank you very much.
- I am very pleased with the quality of my students work. We have critiques when they think they are finished during which time we talk about what could be improved and come up with a plan to do it. Besides, I would rather see artwork that is meaningful to the students than artwork that is designed with an adult aesthetic.
ANNND, just in case you don't know me well, let me assure you that the point of this is not to judge how others teach, but to share MY experiences teaching with choice in MY schools and stand up for this new-to-me pedagogy that just feels right. Every community and every teacher is different and you have to do what feels right to you. Having said that, if you are intrigued by TAB or just want to try out giving your students some more choices, don't be afraid!
Here is a post about dipping my toes into teaching with choice- http://www.katiemorrisart.com/2012/04/4th-grade-description-projects.html
Here are some posts about using "Choose Your Own Adventure" to give students a menu of choices based on a theme: