"Imagination is more important than knowledge" ~ Albert Einstein
Choice Based Art Education fosters imagination. Teachers all across the country are discovering a new way to motivate children through the method of instruction known as Choice Based Art Education (Also called Teaching for Artistic Behavior - or TAB™). Choice is an organization of teachers who teach using this method. Centers are set up in the elementary and middle school art classrooms and students choose which centers to participate in for the day. High school students are self-directed in their studies and studio work. While definitive research on this topic is not available online, some Choice teachers are reporting a positive affect on learning in the core curriculum. (See Clarification of Terms - See poem that shows need for Choice)
"Listen" to what these dedicated teachers have to say about TAB Choice. Visit the Web logs.
TAB Choice Teachers Share Their Views
From Clyde Gaw:
Nothing in education is more powerful than authentic, student directed, student centered learning experiences constructed from the bottom up. The TAB art education concept allows students opportunities to take ownership of their art experiences from conception to completion with teacher acting as classroom manager, environmental designer, art expert, facilitator, and student mentor.
From Kathy Douglas:
I am connected to a group which works to create student-centered art experiences in public schools, the Teaching for Artistic Behavior Partnership (We call ourselves TAB for short) One of our favorite quotes is from our friend Pauline Joseph: "The job of the artist is to have an art idea and find the best medium to express it, or, to use a material which leads to an idea." We call this the real work of the artist, and our aim is to provide settings where students can do this work. We study productive ways to arrange the space, the time, and the materials that our individual situations offer and we feel that choice teaching allows us to make the best of those always limited aspects. Teaching takes place constantly, but in addition to traditional whole-group demonstrations we use small group, one-on-one, peer teaching and indirect teaching via menus in the centers in the room.
We know that teaching is a most individual art and each of us has our own spin on personalized learning; however we believe that art teachers can be very isolated, especially when they attempt to teach in a way which may be outside the mainstream. In the Teaching for Artistic Behavior Partnership we support each other in multiple ways:
1. Frequent informal "conferences" in each other's
2. Email collaboration, troubleshooting and mentoring
3. Conference presentations
4. Detailed replication content on Dept. of Education funded best practice website. This includes stories of Massachusetts teachers who embrace this concept of
5. A newsgroup to which you can subscribe via Yahoo Groups
6. A web log which is published daily with stories and quotes
7. Visits to each other's classrooms
I just recently joined the TAB at beginning of January 2005. The choice-based art program works perfectly for deaf and hard-of-hearing students with or without additional disabilities. These students often get pulled out of art classes for additional IEP services. They work at their own paces and are learning much more than before with better quality teaching from me. Even they get so occupied, most misbehaviors disappeared!
From Patty Knott - TAB CHOICE improves student behavior
Every day I offer more and more choices.
Choice for me is going well beyond activity centers. It's behavior choices I'm throwing back to them - their behaviors that make me nuts and you know what? Every time I say you choose, they mostly choose what is appropriate... MAKE IT SNOWBALL
There are many wonderful outcomes for both students and teachers using the choice concept of teaching:
The choice teacher is freed from trying to think of a "clever" idea that will engage every student. Instead students are told that artists make art about things that fascinate them. When doing the work of the artist students will be expressing their own ideas.
When students chose the work they are self-motivated; most behavior problems disappear and the quality of the finished work is quite good.
When students are working independently the teacher has time to observe students, determining needs that can be met in future demonstrations.
Students can work at their own speed. Some students work on a painting or weaving for four or five weeks while others may use more than one center in a class period. Students have the opportunity to try something over and over again, leading to mastery.
The choice teacher can introduce something new every week, even though some art works will take much longer to complete as the students work independently.
Students see an enormous variety of ideas and techniques at the end of class when amazing discoveries are shared.
Choice teaching encourages independent thinking, persistence and risk-taking, all qualities valued by practicing artists.
Where supply budgets are slim, the choice teacher can order just a few of each item. For instance, there are rarely more than 6 students painting at any one time. We can offer these painters 2’ by 3’ 90 pound paper and better quality brushes. This would be impossible if every student had to paint.
Most students choose experiences in each of the centers over the time that they are in our schools; however, even if a child never makes a tapestry weaving, she has observed the teacher demonstration, seen the vocabulary and background material in the fiber area and perhaps watched her best friend creating a piece of fabric. There is a lot of learning going on there too!
When students have chosen their work, they can discuss it easily, can describe their working process and false starts and usually evaluate the effectiveness of the finished work.
Time is used very efficiently; the initial five-minute demonstration and the brief clean up time leaves more time for student work. Additional detailed instruction is given to the small groups choosing the demonstrated topic as they work.
Look at these resources and see why Choice teachers are so excited about what they are doing.
Discover how research into how students learn led to changes in how teachers teach -- and the differentiated model of education.
How to Differentiate Instruction
After having read what the research has to offer on differentiated instruction, specifically, brain-based research on learning, learning styles and multiple intelligences, and authentic assessment, you are now ready to plan.
Technology to Differentiate Instruction
This online presentation provides the rationale for differentiating using technology, as well as a multitude of examples that may be used in your classroom. Simply hit the "Next" button to go to each page.
TAB CHOICE WEB LOGS - TEACHER WEB SITES:
Cynthia Gaub - Virtual Classroom [Archive] Choice Base Middle School. Visit the student gallery [Archive]. Cynthia has a unique situation in that her classes are multi age. She has found that providing centers keeps her students motivated and will provide new experiences for her students each year. Cynthia is now retired, but her sites are archived and linked here.
Clyde Gaw, Indianapolis, Indiana. "Transition to Choice Based Art Education"
Kathy J. Velon "Choice Based Art for Students with Disabilities" - 'Teaching Artistic Behavior' Program (TAB) is being applied in the PreK-12 art studio set up for students who are either deaf, hard-of-hearing, or hearing with or without additional disabilities. Primary language instruction is signed ASL, secondary in spoken English.
Recent art work from TAB classrooms at NAEA Show of student work prepared for the National Art Education Association conference in Boston. Schools in six states contributed to this exhibit of over 300 pieces. The work can be viewed at the Arnhiem Gallery in Boston from Feb. 22-March 8.
Knowledge Loom TAB Choice - This is the "promising practice" in education site, funded initially by the Department of Education and run by the Education Alliance at Brown University. Teaching for Artistic Behavior (TAB) professional group created the visual art content. Register to interact with this website. Note: The Knowledge-Loom has no tie in with TAB or Choice-Based Art Education. It is run by Brown University and places article of "best practices" on their website.
TAB-Choice Art Ed - This is the listserv and Internet community created by the TAB Partnership. Register at this site to post, take polls, view photos and lesson plans. A vibrant, online art education community.
These books provide many philosophical and practical underpinnings for choice teachers. These are not books specifically about Choice Art Education.
George Szekely's Encouraging Creativity in Art Lessons: New York: Teachers College Press, 1988. George Szekely has written an inspiring book which looks first to the learner, then to the habits of practicing artists in order to create pedagogical practice. Personal creative processes often have little resemblance to current art education curriculum and practice, often resulting in unmotivated, disconnected students and mediocre "products". Szekely's delight in the unschooled personal art work of small children and in the quirks and habits of creative people is evident and is at the core of his teaching. This is an accessible and inspiring book with a philosophy that has energized my teaching for a decade. (Kathy Douglas)
Peter London's No More Secondhand Art: Boston: Shambalah Publishers, 1989.
Having studied with Peter London over the past ten years I can assure readers that as a teacher he lives what he writes. He embodies what every teacher should bring to students: careful listening, respectful attention, thoughtful questioning. His writings have won the deserved respect of his educator and artist colleagues nationwide. Treat yourself to a fine book. (Kathy Douglas)
"Children in the visual arts program work in seven areas of choice and learn to explore, test, and repeat manipulation of materials."
"The paper concludes that arts-based programming is cumulative, promotes risk taking, and is effective especially for at-risk children, and that teachers must move from interpreting and teaching art to the constructivist notion of supporting children's discovery of the arts."
"A review of solution strategies resulted in the selection of three major categories of intervention: cooperative learning, students choice in activities and assignments, and lessons designed to reflect students' learning preferences."