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Sharing the Passion

from the Columbus Area Writing Project:

This weekend, I presented ways to incorporate “art” into the language arts curriculum at the Columbus Area Writing Project conference. Two major ideas I tried to convey were that art pieces can be used to teach analysis, argument and improve writing, and that the artistic process can be studied and practiced by teachers and students.

To demonstrate using art in the English classroom, I modeled extended looking as a scaffolding tool to teach thesis writing. Not surprisingly, the teachers were just as engaged and intrigued by Shana and Robert ParkeHarrison’s Garden of Selves as my students have been the last two years. They, too, wanted to know, Т“What does it mean?Т” Regardless of the audience, there is innate wonder and curiosity while engaging with art. Teachers later came up with the same eloquent thesis statements I hear in my classroom.

Teaching the artists’ process is a much more involved transformation. It is a shift from a teacher-centered to a student-centered classroom. However, I will say this in summary- the process of creation is rigorous; it is relevant to my students lives; it has changed the way I feel about education, and it does not necessarily contrast with the shifts necessitated by the common core.

Thanks to Pages for helping to clarify my position on the purpose of education. I hope to continue advocating for learning environments where students experience the pleasure and transformation of the creative process.

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