Why TAB?

As I am in the midst of my third week of school, I have experienced ups and downs bringing the Teaching for Artistic Behavior (TAB) approach to the Galesburg-Augusta Community Schools.  One of the biggest hurdles I am working to overcome lies in the question:  How can you provide for students who will come to class needing structure or ideas?  I am finding many of my students need a more differentiated approach to TAB, than I have experienced in my past years as a TAB teacher.  I will continue to adjust my teaching approach and move these students, in a more gradual progression, towards an authentic art learning experience, where choice is at the core.

Along with these hurdles, came a great reminder of why I am a TAB teacher.  A seventh grade student was working through a pencil drawing of her horse in the barn.  She approached me and asked how to capture the image of sunshine pouring through the window.  I asked her what it felt like and looked like to see that in the barn.  She said it was warm and the space where the light came in turned the walls a different color.  I then questioned if she was planning to color the image and what media she was considering.  One of her classmates jumped right in and said, “You should use chalk pastels.  You can layer the colors like we did in class the other day, until you get the perfect color.  I just did this in a drawing of my sister to make her skin tone.”

This was the perfect opportunity to let this student be an “expert” and show her what he had done with layering.

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THIS is one reason why I am a TAB teacher.  Think about the art understanding, display of confidence and learning that took place in this one transaction between students. Because in a TAB classroom:

“Students provide much of the instruction. Student “experts” who work in one medium over time serve as coaches and peer tutors, enjoying further learning in the process. Student discoveries are shared with classmates and teachers. Students form cooperative groups in an organic manner. In this way, a great deal of information is transmitted student to student.”*

I only need to imagine more of this to keep me motivated to make the G-A Art Studio an amazing place to work each day!

* “Teaching for Artistic Behavior: Choice−Based Art”. BrownUniversity. 31 October 2008. https://www.brown.edu/academics/education-alliance/sites/brown.edu.academics.education-alliance/files/uploads/KLOOM _tab_entire.pdf. Accessed 26 September 2017.

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