Sunday, January 2, 2011

And Now? A Standards Antidote

Okay, here's my special challenge (and I take comfort in knowing that out there are other people who understand exactly what I am about to say).  I am an artist.  I am a teacher.  I am a teaching artist, curriculum developer, website designer, market research specialist, performer, agent, writer, editor, math student, calf wrangler...I am going insane!  Well, not really, but I do feel like I exist in multiple worlds simultaneously, sometimes to the point where I can completely contradict myself and agree with myself in the same moment!

Today I was all over those Common Core State Standards I wrote about yesterday.  I just spent the better part of the afternoon working with the new language.  I'm not making anything new up, just translating what I do, what I've always done, into the language of the most current stated education goals.  I've also been working on a grant project for the second pilot stage of Young Audiences, Inc. Signature Core Services program, which has meant working with new forms and terminology.

Along parallel lines, I have been spending the better part of my after-the-kid's-in-bed time systematically reading all my back issues of the Teaching Artist Journal (I'm into year five at this point).  I started this particular project in December because I figured that, as a recently appointed Associate Editor for this publication, I should probably have a working knowledge of what kinds of articles, topics, research etc. have been published in the past before I move forward with my new position.

Re-reading TAJ's has actually been really interesting and inspiring, and much less an exercise than my husband thought it might be.  It's been interesting because the process of reading them one after another is bringing me the big picture I never had getting each new TAJ one at a time, three months apart.   I'm learning a lot!  And, it's been inspiring, because I've been running into really great thoughts like this one (below), which balance out all my standards-based wonkyness of late.  So, without further ado, here's my standards antidote for today:
"Although making art does encourage curiosity, critical thinking, and empathy -- necessary tools in today's world -- these very qualities may also demand that one speak truth to power or insist on beauty.  Nourishing imagination may inspire one to declare along with Blake: Everything that lives is holy.  Such a vision might make one less suited for production lines, prison cells, or political speech.
"So how do we, as human beings and as artists, speak honestly about art?  I'm glad that we talk about the connection between art-integration and academic progress, art's value in passing down community wisdom, and the transferable skills that making art develops.  But I hope we also remember to say that making art is a voyage into the unknown and, therefore, not a process inherently practical, polite, predictable, or proper."
From Judith Tannebaum's article"Oh How We Sparkled: One Vision, Two Themes."  Teaching Artist Journal 4.4 (2006): 248-9.

1 comment:

Thanks for reading. I would love to hear your thoughts and comments!


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