Teaching with Contemporary Art

It’s a Wrap: Looking Backward and Thinking Forward

Atsuko Tanaka (1932-2005), “Round on Sand”, 1968

Right around this time I usually write a post that relates to things we as art educators often think about at the end of the school year and before the onset (and sunsets) of summer. In 2009 and 2010 these posts related to summer reading possibilities and questions to think about as school wound down. This week I’d like to share a little of both as we get ready for the Art21 Educators summer institute in just a few weeks.

First, some recommended reading and books to check out (Fair warning… not all are suitable for the beach. The sheer weight of some would make it difficult):

  • On Line: Drawing Through the 20th Century, by Cornelia H Butler and Catherine de Zegher
  • Art School (Propositions for the 21st Century), edited by Steven Henry Madoff
  • Work: The World in Photographs, by Ferdinand Protzman
  • Teaching 2030, by Barnett Berry
  • Just Kids, by Patti Smith
  • Life, by Keith Richards

Next, I want to reemphasize a few questions and introduce others that may influence thinking and planning for next year:

  • Which new artists did I introduce this past year? Why did I introduce these artists?
  • Who are the artists (or works of art) that I especially want to make part of my teaching?
  • Where have I made really important connections with my students? What connections or student interests still need to be explored and/or researched?
  • How can I better balance skill-building and teaching students to create work driven by big ideas?
  • How can I combat apathy and teach students to care more- about their work and one another?
  • How can I teach students to interpret history through art, rather than learn a version of “art history”?
  • How can students use sketchbooks in a variety of ways and truly make discoveries through their use that will impact learning?
  • How can I continue finding ways to teach students that quality matters?
  • How can my classroom better reflect my expectations, passions and vision for students learning about art?
  • What do I want to model more often for students next year?

Which books are you reading this summer? What kinds of reflective questions are you asking as the summer begins?

Contributor
Joe Fusaro is the senior education advisor for Art21, and has written Art21’s “Teaching with Contemporary Art” column since 2008. He is an exhibiting artist and visual arts chair for the Nyack Public Schools in New York; and an adjunct instructor for New York University’s Graduate Program in Art and Arts Professions.
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  2. Lois Hetland says:

    Joe, it is so refreshing to read a blog that goes so directly into the important details of teaching — what questions you’re asking, how you’re deciding which artists/exhibitions to use and why, what’s arising for you as important at different points in the year, what you’re reading and seeing. If there are other art teachers writing blogs like this, I’d sure like to know about it! Yours is a jewel.

    Reply

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