Research Summary for Pedagogical Context
Using this concept of teaching, educators have at their disposal a number of strategies for sharing information and can assume a variety of roles, including instructor, model, observer, and coach. Direct teaching has an important place in the choice-based classroom (Denning, 1998). Effective, focused demonstrations provide efficient means of communication and present information relating to the challenges and problems that the students face (Douglas, 1993; Stankiewicz, 2001; Saphier, 1987; Johnson & Johnson, 1990; Brooks & Brooks, 1993; Dunn & Larson, 1990; Saphier, 1987). Whole-group teaching is one of the ways knowledge flows in the classroom yet describes only one of the roles of the teacher. Because students are encouraged to choose independent work, the teacher is able to work with small groups and even one-to-one with students (Tinzmann, et. al., 1990). When teachers do not have to be constantly at the head of the class, they are able to model art making, which is an effective teaching technique (Earnst, 1994; Holt, 1983; Tinzmann, et al, 1990). As an observer, the teacher can monitor student behavior, pinpoint problems, plan for future demonstrations, and highlight the amazing discoveries that emerge in the course of a day's class (Earnst, 1994; Douglas, 1993; Davilla & Koenig, 1998; International Reggio Exchange; Johnson & Johnson, 1990; Dunn & Larson, 1990; Szekely, 1991). The observant teacher, freed from micromanagement of the class, can facilitate happenings in the art room (CYERT; Dunn, 1990; Omaois, 1998; Rettig, 1999; Tinzmann, et. al., 1990; Brooks & Brooks, 1993). By observing student progress, the teacher can also plan for appropriate future content (Tinzmann, et. al., 1990; Chapman, 1992; Parks, 1992; Saphier, 1987). In this model, a key role for the teacher is as coach and encourager of each student's independent work (Read, 1956; Tinzmann, et. al., 1990; Johnson & Johnson, 1990).
The students themselves provide an enormous part of the pedagogy in the choice-based art class. Peer tutoring and collaborative learning happen organically, organized by the students. Students who work with a particular medium or line of thought over time gain an expertise that they can share with their classmates, thereby becoming student experts (Rettig, 1999; Szekely, 1988). The knowledge and self-esteem gained in this manner has an extensive research base (Ede, 1987; Goodlad & Hirst, 1989; www.mathforum.org; Ngeow, 1988; Panitz, 1999; Johnson & Johnson, 1990; Dunn & Larson, 1990). In addition, student-initiated work that emerges in a holistic manner can ensure that the multiple intelligences of students have the opportunity to find expression (Rettig, 1999; Brooks & Brooks, 1993; Szekely, 1988; Saphier, 1987; London, 1989; Assoc. Human Psychology; Gardner, 1990; Jenson, 2001).
The teacher's goal is to create a community of artists, where the discourse and observations of each other's work can enlighten students and teacher alike (Johnson & Johnson, 1990; www.mathforum.org; Russell, 2002; Szekely, 1988; Thompson, 2002; Thompson & Bales, 1991; Ulbricht, 1999; Brooks & Brooks, 1993; London, 1994). This community can possess many aspects of the communities of practicing adult artists (Guggenheim, 1998).
The larger community of world artists, past and present, is an important influence in the choice-based classroom. When given large print and virtual resources, students are able to connect with the work of artists in a way that is personal and, therefore, more meaningful and useful to their work (Guggenheim, 1998; Katan, 1990; Szekely, 1991).
Such an emergent, open-system curriculum, which is oriented to the big-picture as opposed to being linear and sequential, allows students to learn at their best, to be fully engaged and able to take on the role of artists (Williams, 1983; Jenson, 2001, Brooks & Brooks, 1993; Dunn & Larson, 1990; Kowalchuk, 1999; London, 1994; Szekely, 1988; Stankiewicz, 2001; Rettig, P. & Rettig, J., 1999; Brooks & Brooks, 1993; Dunn & Larson, 1990).
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