Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES, Greater Southern Tier BOCES and Alfred University’s Department of Education joined forces to provide insight into a new and exciting way to teach art for over 45 art teachers in the area.
Officially known as choice-based art education, the method has grown in its number of practitioners over the last few years. Several of these teachers who have incorporated this style of teaching in their classrooms have started a group known as TAB – Teaching For Artistic Behavior. The classroom becomes a studio and the students become artists and the teacher is a facilitator of artistic experiences for each individual student.
Anne Bedrick, teacher, author and artist was the keynote speaker for this day-long seminar. Anne is the author of the e-book CHOICE WITHOUT CHAOS. In her book she includes numerous images and video clips of how she uses choice-based art in her K-4 classroom at Rye Country Day School in Rye, New York. For the seminar she gave a more in depth view of her book and its contents. Ms. Bedrick also presented her story of how she “discovered” TAB and how she transitioned into it and the trials and tribulations associated with it as it is much different from the teacher-directed learning in traditional art classrooms. Throughout her presentation she answered questions as well as a question and answer period at the end of her presentation. Also included in the seminar were presentations by some area teachers who are familiar with TAB and are currently using it in their classrooms. Andy Reddout, an elementary art teacher from Bloomfield Central School and Chris Brown, a K-12 art teacher from Whitesville Central School each gave a presentation on their own personal experiences using choice-based art education. Corrie Burdick, Art Education Professor at Alfred University, and graduate assistant Liz VanHouter also gave a brief presentation on choice-based art education and its effects over various educational settings.
After lunch the teachers were treated to a glass-blowing demonstration by Angus Powers and his students in the glass blowing studio in newly renovated Harder Hall. Teachers were also given a brief tour of the renovations. Upon returning to the Knight Club on the AU campus to continue the seminar the teachers organized into groups (elementary, middle and high school) and had a roundtable discussions on how choice could affect assessment, APPR and strategies to use choice in their classrooms. Many teachers left more enlightened about choice-based education and its principles and eager to learn more and even experiment with it in their classrooms.
This program would not have been possible without the help of CABOCES, GST BOCES, Alfred University and Corrie Burdick who has been a key figure in promoting choice-based education and its benefits to area students and teachers.
By: Chris Brown, Whitesville CSD Art Teacher K-12