Thursday, March 6, 2014

Looking to hold on to creativity

I have a general concern about my students and their creativity.  It bothers me when they ask me permission before they add something to their work.  You know the question: "Mrs. H., can I add a barn to the background? or Is it okay if my snowman stands on his head?"  My standard answer is always, "I don't know, you are the artist"  Of course, that means, Of Course You Can!

Generally these types of questions come from the older elementary students who have already been tainted by a black and white world where everything is either wrong or right.  They are all victims of the standardized test among other things.

I worry that we will soon squeeze all the genuine wonderment and creativity right out of their precious little bodies.  Everything that is creative will soon become a carbon copy of someone else interpretation of what is creative.

I decided to test the creativeness of my students occasionally this year by throwing them a bone of creativity. I hand them some materials and set them free to see where the material will take them.  This is hard for my students.  They need for me to guide them and to answer their questions about what they should be doing.  I resist and tell them to make what ever feels interesting and comfortable for them.  I hope those little spurts of unbridled art making will keep their creative spirits alive.  It's not about the product, you know.  It's about the journey that takes us there.

1 comment:

  1. I have found the same exact thing with my kids at school! They will ask permission to add something or change up a direction. My standard response is usually, if it makes you happy do it! Sometimes they will ask about changing the color of an object. for example we painted some landscapes in 4th grade. they asked if the colors had to be realistic, I told them to paint their landscape whatever colors made them happy and they had the best time mixing colors and painting different combinations together! The colors they made were amazing! I have given classes different materials and told them to simply create to see what they come up with. Some classes/kids do well with it and others struggle to make their artistic decisions. More than ever, I think we , as art teachers, need to make sure that we are giving our students the opportunity to make their own creative choices within the parameters of a lesson.