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Philippine Normal University Manila Project in ED501 (Philosophy of Education) Dr. Nicasio A.


A Critique on
Validating Humanness: Why the Brave Art Teacher Allows for Reflection
Author:Jodi Patterson

Prepared by: Luzana, Sheila Marie M., MAEd EME

Validating Humanness: Why the Brave Art Teacher Allows for Reflection By Jodi Patterson

After your high school art students have spent time working on a meaningful piece of art, it is important to acknowledge their efforts through dialog. Often, this comes in the form of a group reflection (sometimes called critiques) and it can offer students an invaluable opportunity for learning and insight.

Conversations solicited between groups of people provides more insight than any one teacher or person can give, as they are more three-dimensional in feedback and grant differing perceptions, perspectives, responses and suggestions. Their sounds, which come in the forms of responding, sharing, and listening to (and about) a classmate's work of art, is of the utmost importance to the high school art student. Such reflections expand the life experiences of the student that exist beyond his or her "one story," while at the same time exposing similarities and differences shared by other students.

Imagine spending large amounts of time on an "assignment" that you care about and then receiving no acknowledgment (or validation) for your efforts. I have witnessed art teachers do this more often than not when they collect the "lesson" after a week or two of studio work and either grade it with little to no student input or post it on a wall for a quick, one-dimensional critique from one voice: the teacher's. Such lack of compassion does not validate the human component of the art: the value of the student's voice.

As an art education professor, I advocate the necessity and joy of "slowing down" the curriculum-not dumbing it down (and provide ways and means to do so). This involves taking steps to ensure time is being spent talking, sharing and supporting the art's content - most notably during reflection time. Devote as much time as needed to discussing EVERY student's art while linking past knowledge with new knowledge. This Prepared by: Luzana, Sheila Marie M., MAEd EME

may take one or more entire class days, but because reflection is so foundational to a high school art class, time does not matter. Furthermore, students know their work will be shared, and this makes them want to present work they are proud of. Given this, it is important to dignify their attempts and provide them with a sense that what they made has value and what they have to say matters.

Teachers must therefore learn how to build cohesive and encouraging listening groups that fosters dialog beyond mere visual interpretation (which is fine for professional artists being shown in museums and galleries) in order to be of significance for a teenager. A teenager needs to feel "heard" and learn how to listen. Group reflections within the safe walls of your high school art room offers you a way to help hone such skills... it also validates their humanness.

Jodi Patterson has over twenty years of art teaching experience at the high school and university levels. She is an artist, author and teacher who wrote and illustrated a little life manual titled "Tips for Sunshine: Life After High School."



Evaluation serves an essential rolein the teaching-learning process. As a matter of fact, having an activity without feedback truly lessens the activitys value or purpose thus declining the authenticity of learning. The article regards a specific subject area which is Art Education and a certain group composed of high school students (also regarded mainly as the teenagers). In an art work, of course, one shall appreciate more the masterpiece by having known the story behind it -- best be heard from the one who created the art. That is, Prepared by: Luzana, Sheila Marie M., MAEd EME

after giving some time to have students explain their work, evaluation should follow. One form of evaluation; group reflection, suits the context of the subject area as it is described as three-dimensional rather than a one-sided point of view. Being threedimensional provides more opportunities for divergent perceptions, suggestions and reactions. Its just like seeing a doctor for a second or third opinion when you are already diagnosed once, just to have an assurance. But in this case, it is the matter of acceptance or rejection. In a typical classroom setting, teachers need not other professionals just to evaluate an art work in a form of a group reflection. The class alone can be evaluators as well. The teacher must teach the students to evaluate the works of others in humanity. On the other hand, students must reflect on themselves the comments of his or her classmates for personal growth.

The authors advocacy of slowing down the curriculum is tolerable, somehow, for in an art class, the essence of an art is of utmost importance. But this may not be applicable for other subject areas especially those that demand ample attention at a small pace of time. Creative, innovative sharing times can be stimulating and fun, but they dont mean much if the children come away having been entertained but not really enlightened with the purpose of the activity. Teaching our students to be fair in giving critiques is very important. Also, it is widely suggested that in giving critique, point out keys that need improvement first before regarding their strengths and skills. This manner of evaluation brings up the character of the person which is projected through his masterpiece. Youth desire to find a place among people and draw strength from them. They have a need for acceptance. They enable themselves to practice social skills. They provide reassurance that others have similar needs and Prepared by: Luzana, Sheila Marie M., MAEd EME

struggles, lessening feelings of isolation. They allow them to learn about the feelings and ideas of others. They give support to emerging values. When students feel that people respect and listen to them, they tend to feel secure and free of the need to attract attention. When young people feel warmth, affection, and support from others, they feel encouraged to face the challenges optimistically. And that is when they validate their humanness.

Prepared by: Luzana, Sheila Marie M., MAEd EME