Last week Thursday and Friday I had the opportunity to attend this year's state art teacher conference, Creating Connections (WAEA) in River Falls, WI. Priscilla Wicks and I made the trip together, my first time attending an art conference with another art colleague! It was a great opportunity to enrich my teaching with new curriculum ideas, new materials/resources and engaging conversations with other art educators. Let me share a little bit more about some of the sessions I attended and how it impacted me.
First of all, our keynote speaker, Dr. Roger Tomhave spoke to us on the topic of "A Whole New Art Education," taking prominent and pertinent information from Daniel Pink's book, "A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future," and applying it to the world of art education. If you are not familiar with this book, it is definitely worth checking out. Here is a brief description of Pink's book:
- The future belongs to a different kind of person with a different kind of mind: artists, inventors, storytellers - creative and holistic "right-brain" thinkers whose abilities mark the fault line between who gets ahead and who doesn't. Drawing on research from around the world, Pink outlines the six fundamentally human abilities that are absolute essentials for professional success and personal fulfillment - and reveals how to master them.
This bestseller takes readers to a daring new place, and a provocative and necessary new way of thinking about a future that's already here.
Not only was the keynote inspiring, but I also attended various sessions in which I gathered good information to bring back to my classroom as well as some reinforcement that I am on the right track with my own teaching style. The first session I attended was on student centered assessment. This was perfect since our main C.A.R.P. goal is focusing on assessment in the art room. Loaded with handouts, articles and ideas, I left the session ready to evaluate my current forms of assessment and inspired to bring new methods to my students. One teacher in particular stated something I am always working on. She mentioned that her students never ask her the question "Am I done yet?" This is something I think all art teachers strive for, and her answer revolved around assessment that is designed by the students.
Another session on went to focused on web comics. I wanted to get some new ideas for the lesson I do with 6th graders on superheroes. Unfortunately the hands-on session was not hands-on, but it did get my creative juices flowing. I need to look into this concept a bit more, especially if I want to do this with Middle School age students, but here is a link to a world of comics on the web: http://www.thewebcomiclist.com/
The final session I'll write about was one that Priscilla and I went to together hoping to learn about the new curriculum being developed in Hong Kong. The speaker who supposed to present was not available, but we did hear from a gentleman involved in the curriculum review process. To our amazement, Hong Kong was significantly behind in the development of their art education process. They are currently initiating a trend to teach more than just art production, but now having art teachers focus on aesthetics, art criticism, and art history, something we call (DBAE) Discipline Based Art Education and have been teaching since the early 1980's. They do however, have us beat in the area of pushing for art education as one of the core curriculum areas. It is seen as just as valuable as math, science, language etc.. but will now also require standardized testing just as the other core areas do. This is being met with resistance from many art educators.
Well, that about sums up my experience in River Falls. With the exception of an awesome Carribean jerk dinner in Hudson, a great gallery walk with an opportunity to watch a glass sculptor at work, as well as a fun time socializing with art teachers at the Nova, a spectacular wine bar adorned with beautiful and unique Tiffany lamps.
Thanks for the professional growth experience!