Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Teacher Reflective Practice

We invited project teachers to reflect on their experiences using the Studio Thinking Framework in their teaching practice at this half way point in our three year learning community. We're sharing some of these reflections as we know teachers don't hear from each other often enough about how their practice is shifting as a result of using this framework. Thank you teachers for sharing your practice. We are always inspired by your thoughtfulness and commitment to on-going reflective practice. - Kate

Beth Drake from Lincoln Park High School supporting her students as they reflect on their collages.

How has this learning community focused on using Studio Thinking and critical thinking supported your teaching around the development of yourself as a learner within a learning community?

I find that I am more reflective in my practice as an arts educator-I consistently apply the habits in my lesson design process/execution/reflection through a studio habits structure. I am looking closely at what my students are producing as well as what they are learning/thinking about through process. I make adjustments as needed throughout and as needed upon lesson/project completion through my reflective process. We are developing a school-wide instructional focus on critical thinking at LPHS and visual art is at the forefront of this process. The methods and strategies that we have developed for self-evaluation, in-progress and final process/project reflection in the visual art department is being used as the model for assessing critical thinking school-wide. DiDi Grimm has been instrumental in presenting our methods of critical thinking in the visual arts, through the use of studio thinking, to modify and design a rubric for this school-wide instructional focus area.

2)How has this learning community focused on using Studio Thinking and critical thinking supported your teaching around the development of your students self awareness as an artist/learner?

Maya Lin Systematic Landscapes Map 2, 2006 

My students are gradually learning to "think bigger" as artists. They are no longer reflecting on just what they learned during the current project when they reflect, but they are connecting previous art concepts and aspects of daily life and/or other curricular areas. I am seeing that many students are making connections to artists, processes and concepts from other lesson experiences (in the current and previous year) to what they are making now. I am impressed with the lasting impact that many of the artists that we have studied have on my students. These individuals are meaningful enough in concept and/or technique to make an impression on my students and they draw from these individuals as inspiration. Additionally, they are independently seeking out similar artists and/or processes to inform their work. 

In my Mixed Media course, they are constantly making connections with artists, etc. previously studied. For example, we are currently working on a mapping project based on the "Notes for a People's Atlas:People Making Maps of Their Cities" project ( The big idea concept being: "The Personal is Political and the Political is Personal" based on the essay that we read and discussed by Euan Hague ( Aside from the amazing discussion of maps, community, personal v. political and what these mean in different contexts as well as the reality of living in a very segregated Chicago, I overheard students speaking of countless experiences of their "community" in a multitude of ways in addition to going back to Maya Lin from an Art 21 segment on IDENTITY that I showed them in October. They connected the different approaches to personal and political "community" to what Maya Lin was doing while working with atlases in her studio (from Art 21: IDENTITY):

"Everything I've done in life is about polarities, about two sides balancing out," says the artist. Carving layers of circles out of the pages of an atlas in order to create topographic islands and canyons, both Lin's studio and outdoor projects mark an identification with the land.

3) On developing language in the studio that transfers beyond the classroom studio?

During a recent Mixed Media collage project, I had students making connections to what they learned in Jennifer Salvatore's AP Human Geography class during the spring 2012 semester (our collaborative lesson from last school year). The students studied and explored a variety of human geography and visual art concepts and topics through an in-depth close read of Romare Bearden's "The Dove" as well as through viewing "Visual Jazz," a short documentary about Romare Bearden. The students developed an understanding of Bearden's work and processes through a mind-mapping collage experience that incorporated both visual arts and core content standards through the use of a visual artist and an American artwork as the primary vehicle for learning. I have students currently enrolled in Mixed Media that recalled aspects of that experience, conceptually and technically, as part of the inspiration for a recent collage project experience.

4)On thinking dispositions that support the fluid kind of critical, creative and reflective thinking that CCSS requires (going from seeing the discrete bits to seeing connections in and among).

To speak generally (as per the LPHS visual arts curriculum alignment map that you have seen prior), LPHS visual arts experiences at graduated levels through a variety of teaching approaches/philosophies are aligned with studio habits and common core state standards in both language and mathematics. My experiences with my common core ST partner in social science classes reinforces the use of the studio habits dispositions further as noted in the response above. 

Student reflective drawing of mixed media assignment in Beth Drake's class at Lincoln Park High school.

No comments:

Post a Comment