October 7, 2015 at 6:35 pm #4603
Power is manifested all around us in various ways. Judy Chicago’s pedagogy addresses a balance of power within the classroom setting by distributing power between the facilitator (educator) to the learner (student). This is done through lending voice to everybody in the classroom, self-representing, and research/experimenting through art. In this way, for example, controversial art or the politics of art may emerge as a concept and through dialogue circle group facilitation to these themes may be analyzed and researched. Through this method what a previous comment suggested, about getting to know the students personalities, also emerges as a classroom setting becomes an environment of closer knit individuals coming together. Individualism is then also challenged, because through circle group pedagogy ideas may begin to interweave and emerge in unexpected and organic ways creating pockets for collaborations.October 7, 2015 at 6:46 pm #4604
A hierarchy of knowledge, and knowledge building may be present within the art classroom, where the teacher/educator is seen as the pinnacle of the hierarchal triangle. However, knowledge is based on varies things; perspective, lived experiences, formal/informal education, research, and curiosity. In recognizing these different characteristics of knowledge, the Judy Chicago pedagogy in the art classroom would resist traditional roles of teacher and instead shift to each individual as teacher and contributor. This is a significant point in highlighting and lending voice to each member of a class environment resisting a passive learner, but rather an active learner.
The anxiety and fear that may overcome students when faced with having to ‘come up’ with a project idea can be diffused using the pedagogy of Judy Chicago in the art education classroom (and I would advocate beyond). Because it is not dependent on the single individual as the creative genius, but rather a collective of voices, feedback, brainstorming, research, and in short, active participation in order to allow for ideas/concepts and contexts to emerge it offers a fluid and organic art process model.
In my own experience, when I have worked within an environment where I am actively part of conversations, readings, research, brainstorming sessions, and discussions it INEVITABLY injects itself into my studio work. This is intentional. The realization that what happens to individual, also effects the other, is a powerful tool for teaching and learning. This is what brings a voice from a personal space to a public space, where others can relate to the work.October 7, 2015 at 6:54 pm #4605
Empowering a class, begins by giving voice to each student. This varies on the size of the class you have and how you facilitate discussions and participation. By creating sub groups and coming together as a class unit is one way to approach voice on varies levels. Allowing for self-presentations and student led teaching/imparting of research and knowledge is another way to also facilitate conversation from the students perspective. I think that your point about being intentional about your role as educator and the power that may automatically assumed/implicit and challenging the assumed notions is significant as well. This then will allow for self awareness from both ends and a responsibility or accountability towards the environment as a whole. A perfect example is Judy Chicago’s WomanHouse, where coming together meant bridging ideas, developing, and working and literally building together.October 11, 2015 at 12:50 pm #4611
Art may be a tool for empowerment, challenging cultural norms, and addressing significant experiences issues of everyday life. For this reason, the arts as an interdisciplinary practice, as Judy Chicago situates through her participatory art process, works as a curriculum pushing beyond art education. For example, the Chicago Holocaust series ties history, testimony, visual arts, and contemporary issues of genocide and oppression through this curriculum. By stabilizing a theme to work from it will carry over into several areas offering balance, and empowerment through self and collaborative circle pedagogy, and expressing of a theme in various forms.August 9, 2016 at 2:09 pm #4952
What are some strategies or teaching and learning experiences that can prepare teachers to be such facilitators? How does a facilitator/teacher guide without directing students?
One of the strategies I use to help my students feel empowered in the classroom is to provide opportunities to build relationships with both me and each other. The first week of school, I design several lessons, projects, and activities that are all geared toward allowing students to share. I find that after sharing and showing that you genuinely care what students have to say, they begin to see themselves as equal to me (the teacher) on an individual/social level: we are both individuals who have our own thoughts and ideas and are deserving of respect and kindness. However, there is a difference of power when it comes to knowledge and experience on particular topics. I think that this type of a power difference is okay to have in the classroom as long as the teacher doesn’t jealously guard or withhold their knowledge and experience. It is our job as teachers to tip the balance back toward equal-power by the time our students leave us at the end of the school year.
A teacher/facilitator can guide without directing by being encouraging to students and by being a resource in the classroom. This is not an all-knowing resource, but rather a resource that can point students in the right direction for the knowledge they seek. For example, as a music teacher I ask students to compare the form of a classical piece and the form of a popular, culturally relevant piece in preparation for their own music composition project. I confess that I do not know every single classical or popular piece of music and how its form was composed, but I do know websites, other individuals, and recordings where students can go to find out the information they seek. As a developing teacher, I place more value on HOW to find knowledge, and focus less on trying to become the singular fount of all-knowing.August 9, 2016 at 3:02 pm #4959
The power imbalance that exists between student and teacher is one that comes from deeply embedded relationship dynamics and norms that are almost if not impossible to ever fully remove. We are brought up to acquiesce to power, and just our physical relationship as children to adults contributes to this dynamic. We can’t simply shed such a profound sense of self in relation to others who have authority over us. Even as adults we carry the traces of our formative experiences with us into every aspect of our lives. So, the question of how a facilitator/teacher guides without directing students is salient, and in a way the answer is there in the question: the teacher or the facilitator should guide and not direct. I think the crucial element to be established in order for students to feel confident and comfortable that they can explore and investigate on their own is to create an environment where such is not just possible, but encouraged and welcome. Start with engaging students with open ended questions related to a particular idea or topic and then allow them to follow strands of interest that emerge and on which they can then build their research efforts. I do think it is important to establish goals and objectives, as well as for students to develop and understand the criteria by which they can self-evaluate and by which they will be evaluated by others. Having the student conduct self-presentations would help the students reflect deeply about who they are and why they want to pursue a particular idea, theme, or project.August 10, 2016 at 9:52 pm #4969
I believe this is a tough question, and when you are in a classroom and seen as the leader (and are empowered to be) it is difficult to have your students see your role any differently. I think this is something that is encouraged through time in a classroom; for example, at the start of a new school year or semester, encouraging an environment where questions are asked of each other; a teacher converses rather than tells; a teacher provides many possibilities for students to grab from and go in their own direction, prompted and supported by the teacher asking questions (devil’s advocate, if you will) of the student. Allowing students to explore and help provoke new ideas and interests.October 3, 2017 at 4:36 pm #5124
I feel that it is instilled in children’s minds early on that a teacher is someone who has indefinite and total power in any classroom environment. The students often feel that any educator has control over all decisions in the classroom, which leads said students to disconnecting from the lessons, because they feel that their voices are not important. I think that a way to break away from this early on in the classroom is to break down the myths of a classroom. As art educators, we get artistic license, and can bend the rules of “traditional” schoolwork and tasks, and we should use this to pave the way for all educators. For example, if we alter the idea of the classroom to move away from traditional layouts and furniture, students may feel more open to break out of their normal school routine. When the environment is not all rows of desks and a teacher up front, the students’ minds will not be in the “off” mode that often occurs when in that situation. If we show students that it is okay to stray from the norm, they will begin to follow suit and do so, as well. We can ask them questions that show interest in their personal ideas, then allow for opportunities for each of them to share and create those ideas that matter to them. When we give them the chance to teach their peers about something they are an expert on, their confidence will grow, and soon the students will feel more comfortable keeping an open dialogue in the classroom when it is asked of them. This shift in dynamic can allow power to be shared by the students and teacher, and make it more about “us” rather than “me” and “them”.October 30, 2017 at 10:51 pm #5128
I believe I mentioned this in my previous post about diversity awareness. I mentioned in that post that I believe educators should let students have freedom to choose projects, seats and supplies. I believe that this freedom will not only allow students to feel included but also it will distribute power. Power should not be held solely by the teacher as Judy Chicago mentions. The teacher should give the students freedom and I believe this will allow for the distribution of power throughout the classroom.
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