Sunday, August 27, 2006

Teaching

The true teacher defends his pupils against his own personal influence. He inspires self-distrust. He guides their eyes from himself to the spirit that quickens him. He will have no disciple. (Amos Bronson Alcott)


I am offering a class in basic drawing in Flatrock beginning September 14th. To date registration has been slow but it interesting to note that those who have contacted me have indicated that they did take previous classes in drawing but came away not having felt they learned the appropriate skills. Was this the fault of the teacher, the curriculum or the learner's expectations?

Like these directional arrows at the top of Signal Hill, instructors are their to guide and show the direction in which to move. They don't tell the individual what method to use to get there.

In art, as in many other disciplines, the purpose is to teach the theory behind the process as well as to encourage and promote individuality. In some art classes, the art teacher's ego and fear takes over. Specifics aren't taught well for fear of the student becoming better in a discipline than the teacher. There are instructors who hang onto their positions and don't want the students to really learn much, for they don't want to lose their positions of "authority." Personal styles influence teaching too and need to be guarded against so as not to influence the student's outcome. It is a difficult task and there are perhaps 20% of teachers in all disciplines who are good at what they do. Unfortunately 80% aren't. I am hoping that my ability to convey information, encourage and fire enthusiasm for art and to make the process of drawing and enjoyable experience falls within the 20% range.

I am sure the academics and educational specialists will have their own opinion, but I believe that the opinion that truly matters is that of the student and what the outcome of their experience turns out to be. Teachers need to educate for the student's future, not their own past...

Art is not to be taught in Academies. It is what one looks at, not what one listens to, that makes the artist. The real schools should be the streets. (Oscar Wilde)


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7 comments:

Mallika said...

I took Art in high school instead of Architectural Drafting for my required artistic credit. I loved the class, loved the teacher, loved everything about it. The deadlines kept me from procrastinating, and it was a wonderful feeling to know that I had something to show the class each week -- whether a sketch, a painting, or other object.

One time we had to make a box -- any kind of box, for any kind of product. It was pretty amazing what everyone came up with. One person made a beetle-shaped box for (what else?) a Beetles casette. Another made an adorable cow-shaped milk box, with the cow's mouth being where the milk would be poured out. I decided to make a pyramid box (it closed with ribons) that would house a "mysterious Egyptian perfume meticulously created from ancient recipes." :)

Mallika said...

That class (and high school) took place a decade ago, so I don't remember what other boxes there were.

I didn't take any artsy subjects in university, mainly because I was a business major (which shocked a lot of people who knew me). I've always wanted to take another art class, but I never could find a good one in Bangkok -- there was one that I wanted to take but the teacher turned out to be an elitist arse, to put it bluntly, so I decided against it. I'm unable to take one here in Spain due to ... well, some shaky language barriers.

Are there any art books you'd recommend? I've found myself starting to sketch, draw, and color again, but I think having books around as inspiration would be good for me too.

Jeanette Jobson said...

Its always an interesting journey to get where you want to be, or sometimes where you don't want to be.

I'd recommend Drawing on on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards. It will give you a good grounding in basics and help your creative side take over. http://www.drawright.com/

Mallika said...

Thanks Jeanette, I will check it out.

Beverly said...

How I wish I lived in Flatrock or nearby. I'd love to take one of your classes! Why not move to Ohio?

Anonymous said...

I wish I could take one of your classes too, but I live even further away than Beverly does...Texas.

Debbie

Jeanette Jobson said...

I wish I were closer and we could get together and exchange ideas. It would be wonderful.