Saturday, August 21, 2010

CMK - Peter Reynolds

How long after a conference is too long to post reflections? This was in my drafts and I'm disappointed in myself for not posting it before now.

Peter Reynolds spoke to us briefly during a visit to FableVision (total geek excitement for me about that visit!). I've heard him speak before and it is always a wonderful experience. One thing he said this time was that we need to stop making excuses for ourselves as artists. How many teachers draw something when modeling for their students and say, "I'm no artist" or "Pardon my artwork, I know you'll do better." I've said things like that.

Reynolds' point was that saying that suggests to our students that our work is not good. Then when they create similar work they see it as not good enough. This is something I'll be watching in the future.

For me it begs the question. Why don't we allow our students to see us struggle? When I struggle to make a picture look the way I want, why don't I share that? When I struggle with explaining something I don't fully understand my students should see that. Watching me struggle is a good model for them.


The Science Goddess said...

I think that part of the typical teacher training in college and during student teaching includes more than one person reminding you to never let the kids see you sweat...that they can smell fear like dogs. And we believed it. There is probably some kernel of truth in there in terms of having confidence in what you say or do, but too many of us also interpreted the message as "don't show them you're learning."

In other news, your post reminded me of when I was coaching in an elementary school and was working with some kinders. I drew something and made the mistake of observing that the the drawing wasn't very good. The kids wholeheartedly agreed with me. :)

Sarah said...

Good point and I agree! I too have been guilty of apologizing for my artwork :). This is an eye-opener for me in that I should instead switch my focus on how hard I struggle with something and how pleased I am when my effort pays off!

Emily Kissner said...

Your post reminded me of something that happened this week. A student asked how to draw a fox. I tried it on the board and we both laughed--it was definitely a cross between a horse and a spider. But we worked together to make some changes and finally figured out that the key is in the shape of the head. I was just having fun at the time...but your post showed that these moments can teach important lessons! Thanks for the thought!