At Galesburg-Augusta, I use a teaching approach called Teaching for Artistic Behavior (TAB) that transforms the traditional art room into a studio space where artists can explore independent ideas.
The essential philosophy and of the TAB curriculum can be defined in three core sentences*:
- What do artists do?
- The child is the artist.
- The art room is the child’s studio.
The transition from a teacher-directed art class to independent studio work takes time. During the school year, as self-regulation skills grow, students will earn access to increasingly complex art materials and increasing levels of independence in how they use those tools to explore and express personal ideas and feelings.
Students are encouraged to use a wide variety of materials and cover a range of subject matter. While technical artistic skills are introduced and practiced in this course, emphasis is put on exploration and problem solving. Students will make their own choices in their learning and be expected to track their own progress, present their work to others and reflect routinely on their work.
* Douglas, Katherine and Jaquith, Diane. Engaging Learners Through Artmaking – Choice-Based Art Education in the Classroom (TAB). New York: Teacher’s College Press, 2018.