Student/Teacher Collaboration

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Should we influence our students’ artworks?  And if so, how much?  I struggled with this the other day.  As I walk around my classroom, I stop and watch students work.  I stare at them staring at their work and eventually ask what they are struggling with or what they are thinking.  This has started some wonderful conversations and lead to some collaboration.

I listen carefully to what they have to say and I form my questions with great intention to pull out of them where I think they need to head in their artistic journey:  what things they need to consider, what are they trying to say with their work, what is the relationship between this and that.  I wait for them to think and answer.  And in the moments of silence, I start to think too.  Based upon their answers, I come up with some suggestions.  I can see the unknown in their eyes and I say, “what if you…?”

As I offer up ways to go with their pieces, I started to think to myself, am I giving them too much and not letting them figure it out on their own?  Am I taking something away from them?  Maybe yes, maybe no.  I like to think I am helping to open their minds to the world of possibilities and that art can be so much more than what they have seen in their little rural town.

The possibilities of where they can take their artwork and how they can bring it to another level excites me.  It makes me love art and teaching even more.  But, am I teaching or am I directing?

What do you think?

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