Sunday, October 21, 2018

Art Teacherin' 101: Thoughts on Guided Drawing

 I often times feel like there are these notions in art education that you have to pick a side. TAB vs. not TAB. Project-Based vs. Non-Project Based. Guided Drawing vs. Guided-Drawing-is-the-Devil.

Here's why I HATE when I'm forced to feel like I have to pick a side. 

1. It pits art teachers against one another. 

Look, everyone's end goal as an art teacher (at least I hope) is for our children to realize the power of their imagination and creativity. It can boost their self-confidence, give them mental strength and allow them to see all of their creative potential! How we, as teachers, get our students to that point, varies. We are all in different situations, with different schedules and different standards and curriculum. What might work swimmingly for me and my diverse students, may not work well for another in their setting. Does that make them wrong? Does that mean they are doing their students a disservice? Something tells me that if an art teacher is giving it their very best...not their most perfect because that's just unattainable, but THEIR very best...than isn't that enough? Should we really beat them up if their best looks different than ours?

2. It paints a black and white picture of art education...in our beautifully colorful world. 

How we teach art is not black and white. You don't have to pick a team or a side. I like to think of all the wonderful ideas on art education as tools in my toolbox. When I use a variety of tools: guided drawing, open studio, center time, project-based, etc., I notice that I'm able to reach ALL of my learners. If I only used one tool in my toolbox, like guided drawing, for example, then my students would only become good at following by example. There's only value in that type of learning if we combine it with other types. This allows our students to see the importance of what they are learning and how they can apply it to their creative life inside and out of the art room. 

With that in mind, I really feel like Guided Drawing gets a bad wrap. I use guided drawing as a tool in my toolbox with MANY other tools. Here's why I value guided drawing and how my students enjoy it with success, confidence and happiness.
So, what are your thoughts on guided drawing? Or any other method of art teacherin'? I've been teaching art for 20 years. For new teachers, I can only imagine how confusing and difficult it must be to hear all of this art edu-jargon. Just know that if you feel you are trying your hardest and your students are responding, you are doing alright. Trust me...your students aren't going to remember some fancy edu-jargon...they are going to remember that you loved on them, created with them and encouraged them every step of the way. And, fingers crossed and knock on wood, that will be enough to have them realize the power of their own creative potential. 
If you are interested in seeing more of my guided drawing lessons, you can use the search bar on this blog...or you can check them out below!
Heather Galler Flowers!
Many of my guided drawing lessons are VERY open ended so the kids can really explore with confidence.
There are MANY MORE lessons on my YouTube channel if you'd like to check them out! 
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11 comments:

  1. I agree with you. I do guided drawing, kids really enjoy it. They are surprised by their own skills. I think it is a tool and it is ok. My students especially love guided painting! I also put myself in their place. I personally like being guided through a new process first, then use those skills as I wish on my own. I also teach lessons that are more open ended. Every artist/teacher is sharing their expertise with students. In art, there is no single right answer. I personally truly love Atelier training and working in some of the techniques this year. I believe art is a skill that can be learned, just like basketball, math, etc. I see articles that make me wonder if I am missing something in my lessons but I only have a short time with them and a lot to cover. I think kids really like the age old art lessons that have been done before. I tend to try a lot of new things but try to repeat some of the same lessons from year to year. I recently read an article about pinterest that some teachers love it and some view it as copying kitchy ideas. I love pinterest... there's a niche for kitsch. Lol! I dont know if I've spelled that right... you know what I mean, right!

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  2. Finally, you have said what I have been thinking. I often feel like I am under attack from some TAB teachers because they push it as all or nothing. Being "in tune" to your students is key.

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  4. Agreed! I have been teaching art for 26 years and have come to similar realizations--art ed, like all education, is not one size fits all, so offering a little bit of many methods reaches all different kinds of learners. The best thing about teaching art to young kids, is that they all truly believe that they are artists--which they are!!

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  5. I have been teaching for 20 years. I recently went to what I am referring to as a "modified" TAB classroom. But only for my 2-5th graders. My littles are still doing more of the guided lessons. I feel as though this gives them more confidence and success. The TAB switch was more for me because I was bored and wanted to check it out to see what the kids could do with it. I only have them for 30 minutes once a week. The TAB for the bigger kiddos has been wonderful. They have the skills I taught them from their traditional classes early on and they have the opportunity to build on those skills through exploration in the TAB setting. Saying that, if we have a show or school project, then we go back to the traditional class setting. And since I am in Illinois, all evaluations are built around Danielson and the TAB covers all of that. I always say, "you do you". There is no right or wrong, and we of all people should be supportive of each other, not causing rifts.

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  6. 20 years of teaching and I totally agree!!! Especially in the younger grades. We are there to teach them, listen to how they learn, put it all together and create lessons for our population. Every child, school, city is different. But I also agree guided drawing definitely has place in the elementary room. The look on their faces when they can see that 'they did it', is what teaching is all about! Plus the confidence they gain.....enough said!

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  7. 20 years of teaching and I totally agree!!! Especially in the younger grades. We are there to teach them, listen to how they learn, put it all together and create lessons for our population. Every child, school, city is different. But I also agree guided drawing definitely has place in the elementary room. The look on their faces when they can see that 'they did it', is what teaching is all about! Plus the confidence they gain.....enough said!

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  8. I find myself returning to guided drawing in the younger grades because my 5th graders like to have fun with materials but when I asked them to draw a "Pumpkin", they could not do it! We used to teach basic "pumpkins, trees, faces, etc." I certainly do not want to draw them! Some things need to be "guided".

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  9. I love teaching guided drawing or directed drawing as it is called here in Oz. It is one of the many ways I teach art so that I reach out to all different types of learners, abilities and confidences. Guided drawing is liked by those children that are unconfident with their own level of ability in art. Not just that they enjoy following the teachers instructions and copying what she/he does. Copying in art has been done for thousands of years. It's just another way of learning how to reach a certain artistic outcome. I'm teaching it this week and can't wait. In fact I am being involved in the class myself by showing the kids a video on how to draw a plane by illustrator Shoo Rayner and I will draw along side the kids. Variety is the spice of life!

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  10. I heard on your podcast that you use Art Hub for Kids. My students love using it. Here are a few of my students using Art Hub for Kids to create guided drawings in my TAB classroom. I agree that Art Educators should not feel like they have to pick sides. Our jobs as Art Educators are to inspire and guide our students to create and think like artists. We can do this in multiple ways depending on the needs of our students.

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  11. I love to do guided drawings, I think sometimes the children understand how to draw things like this, I dont do it with every class. I teach K-8 Art and I have one class that is super large well for me 26 children in the class and frankly it is hard to teach one on one with them so we do many guided lessons, LOVE THE ROYGBIV man so going to have fun with that.... Thanks for this great blog I am working on one that included both schools and working on redeveloping it in the near future.... Thanks Jason

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Thank you so much for your comments. I appreciate each and every one :)