SchoolArts Magazine

January 2018

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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Page 26 of 54

22 JANUARY 2018 SchoolArts T H E O P E N A R T R O O M CONTINUED ON PAGE 42. Art by El Anatsui. A rt history can be tricky for teachers who value student choice. Covering every important artist and artwork takes so much time that there is little room left over for self- directed study. We have to cover everything, especially the big names in Western art, right? The answer to this question depends on who you ask and what you think is most important for your students to learn. Determining What to Teach If we take some time and really exam- ine the art that we consider valuable, it often falls into one of two categories: art that we personally connect with or art that we were told was worth learn - ing about when we were in school. Neither of these reasons is an espe - cially strong way to determine the art students should learn about. What if, instead, we look for ways to provide a comprehensive overview of the global history of art-making and, at the same time, allow room for students to self- select what they'd like to learn about? Historical Connections Art history has to focus on remem- bering names, dates, and artistic movements to some degree, but it can also expand to include more diverse content and go deeply into the inter- ests of specific students. It's impor- tant for learners to get a sense of the diverse artistic traditions that have been a part of human life on earth, as Art Histor n the Open Art Room Melissa Purtee Making the stud f art histor pen to all students means including a high level of choice in the content the stud . well as to understand how contem- porary artists pull from those tradi- tions in a global way to add meaning and context to work made today. In addition, relating art from a range of time periods to art created today fosters a deep understanding of the ties that connect art throughout the ages, and an exploration of how our inter - pretation of it changes over the years. Providing Options Once an overall structure that includes big ideas in art history and contemporary art-making is in place, we can give students options to direct their own learning within these speci - fications. One way to accomplish this is by asking them to research related topics in groups or on their own, then share their learning with the class. These topics can be selected from a

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