The virtual conference is now behind us, and we are ready to dive into the holiday season with a renewed passion for our profession. Whether you are an art teacher, art professor, art curator, art museum specialist, or art supervisor, you are engaged in research and learning every day. I have been following a couple of podcasts, one on brain-based learning and another on meditation techniques. As I listen to these broadcasts, I think about the Self-Care Sundays produced for social media by our Advocacy Committee. Please check out our Advocacy section on FAEA website to review some of the most recent work done by our committee members and CFAE staff. Let us know if you would like to become part of this, or any committee, by emailing info@FAEA.org. Becoming part of an FAEA committee is rewarding in a personal and professional way. Participation provides you with a ‘voice’ in your association. It also provides you with a sense of self-efficacy. Knowing that your ideas are respected and valued builds your leadership potential. This is another way of thinking about Self-Care. You care about art education in the state of Florida and beyond, and it might be the right time to step forward and be part of the team. Building and promoting a strong membership keeps us a united and positive voice influencing state and local legislation. Becoming a leader in art education is also deeply rooted in synthesizing current research on current practices.
One interesting tip I picked up this past month was how presenting too many visual images to students during lessons can decrease their learning. The brain-based research study focused on four likely contributors to declined performance. When students are over-saturated with imagery:
- They are distracted and skip absorbing essential content
- Their attention is drawn away from the main objective/concept, and they do not connect the information to prior knowledge
- They get confused by too many details, hindering their ability to understand the essential content
- Their attention is spread too thin across the visual information, which limits their ability to process important concepts.
A meta-analysis of more than 200 students focused on the development of sequential curriculum in the visual arts with online learners and found a decline in their ability to grasp key concepts. Recommendations focused on examining one or two images at a given time when introducing concepts or themes and to build on the deeper understanding within images as opposed to multiple images. When designing online or face-to-face art instruction, keep these three tips in mind:
Tip 1: Keep it distinct
Tip 2: Follow a 'less is more' mantra
Tip 3: End with clarity
Focus on asking learners to compare two examples of artworks that support conceptual understanding. Use open-ended inquiry questions to guide student’s own thinking. Encourage students to share their thinking with peers, on a discussion board, or as an Exit Ticket for quick formative assessments. The big push is to get the remote and in-class learners to work together and engage in learning as a team. Some synchronous strategies can include: using the Chat for understanding; Flip your class to include part recorded instruction with live activities; Adapt think-pair-share as a key collaborative activity; use Think, Write, Share techniques as a ‘show and tell’ activity; Seeing and Critiquing student artwork through virtual gallery walks; Moving station brainstorming online (when students move to different parts of the classroom to answer different assessment prompts at each station).
As we enter the holiday season, keep focused on your own goals, daydream, and limit distractions that absorb your energy. Most importantly, give ‘thanks’ to the people who provide you with great joy and happiness!
Dr. Jackie Henson-Dacey