Teaching?

It has been a curiously intense week in terms of confronting learning environments for children. Let me clarify:

  • I have been giving a presentation on the history of printmaking in Europe to a group of 180 9-year olds at the French school; followed by visits in individual classes to lead printmaking workshops (I even lug my 1-ton etching press to school!).
  • I have visited The Blue House Nursery, a beautiful Reggio-inspired pre-school at the edge of the Bukit Timah forest reserve;
  • I have given a drawing lesson to a couple of 4-year olds, a group of 5-8 year olds and let a threesome of tweens loose in my painting studio (instead of the usual drawing class);
  • I have sat on in a meeting of young French mothers entrepreneurs… discussing business but with young children at the back of their mind.
  • I have been reflecting on what my “teaching philosophy” would be for a teaching job in Middle School and then for University-level;
  • I have come up with new art-and-science workshops for walk-in crowds for Playeum;
  • I have been solidifying my ideas for L’Observatoire, an art-and-science education workshop (more on that soon);
  • I have attended a student-led “Unplugged” concert at UWCSEA.
… and checking that my own 3 kids had done their homework.
And from all this, I come comforted in a few things:
  • “Emerging Curriculum” really exist (at The Blue House Nursery). I have always resisted following a strict curriculum for my classes (which makes it difficult to hire other teachers to do the work…), preferring to have a general idea of what the students should have been exposed to at the end of the session or series of sessions, and then letting the group of students lead the path. Now I now that this has a name and it’s not “unprepared lessons” but rather “over prepare and go with the flow”….
  • Telling kids answers to questions they have not yet asked is robbing them of the essential pleasure or finding questions. Presenting facts as the result of our own investigation  might be a better teaching approach. I have still not watched Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talk entitled “Do Schools Kill Creativity?” despite being directed to it many times. I suspect the content might in essence be the same … I invite you to listen and give me your thoughts!

About Isabelle Desjeux

Scientist since 1991, Mother since 1996, Full Time Artist since 2000, Part-Time Art Inspirer since 2002.

Posted on November 12, 2011, in Art, Children, Class, Creativity, Drawing, Environment, Teaching. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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