Saturday, May 16, 2009

NAEA Minneapolis

The Art Education student Chapter at Brigham Young University, me included, received a generous donation that allowed us to travel to the windy city of Minneapolis to the National Art Education Association Convention. I am reporting without my notes, so the details might be a bit hazy. The first speaker I was able to hear was Paul Duncam, a professor from the University of Illinois, and a name I had seen previously in a paper about visual culture. He talked about the importance of creating an atmosphere in the classroom where important dialogue can take place. He explained that many times teachers feel that they have prepared a wonderful lesson that unfortunatly students dont take anything from. Students who may not be paying attention might not feel they can express their oppinion, and the ones who are participating may be rehearsing what they think the teacher wants to hear, which then becomes one big guessing game. I remember the feeling. A question is given by the teacher; followed by silence. A brave students attempts to answer then is shot down, the next student gives an acceptable answer, folowed by a correction from the instructor as they cleverly recite the "right" answer. Ive never learned anything in tehse sorts of classrooms besides the various teaching strategies I dont want to implement in my own classroom one day. He called this kind of teaching critical pedagogy. The teacher is the authority, and they are the source of all wisdom. This type of teaching seems to be completely outdated. I am a student, an insider. I know how it feels in these classrooms, almost like you are watching a film in which the instructor becomes a type of expert in their own mind, not connecting to most students, and staying within the realm of their own mind and knoweledge. The type of teaching I am interested in is what Duncam called, dialogic pedagogy. This si where the teacher is not the expert, but a leader. The classroom is a place where everyone learns together, ideas are not just given but questioned as well. The instructors oppinion should not be hidden from the students, to the same degree that students' oppinions should be freely expressed. A classroom should be a place that is safe for constructive dialogue and learning to take place. I really need to proofread this.... oh well. Other talks about social theories in art education were extremely informative. Mark Bradford, an artist from ART 21, a PBS series, and an artist who has incredible talent and a very lovable dimeanor spoke. I was able to sit behind him before his presentation begun. I was impressed by him, everything about him. One of his projects involved building an arc in the Ninth ward, New Orleans. An area DEVASTATED by hurricane Katrina. He helped a non profit organization by selling his artwork and giving them the proceeds. His collages are innovative, thought provoking and give the idea of an arial view a whole new meaning, as well as a look at urban culture and how it ties into his map collages. I have a lot more to say but I will use a few words to do it: Made to order breakfasts, bagels for lunch, the WALKER, talking dolphin, the guthry, funny girls, delicious organic baked goods from french meadows, the missing cherry, Power lines falling and shocking my arm!, the Mississippi River, sky walks, dr graham and blindness, my tour guide at one of the art highschools, art supplies, speaking at the students chapter night, there is allot more where this comes from. I wish you could have been there. You would have had a chance to ask the dolphin questions at the Walker.

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