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  1. 1. How I Became a Better Teacher When I Stopped Teaching Art History © Dr. Melissa Hall 2009 Westchester Community College Doris Day in Teachers Pet (1958) Image source:
  2. 2. Westchester Community College  Located about 45 minutes north of New York City  Affiliated with State University of New York  Open enrollment
  3. 3. Art History Curriculum • Studio Art program designed for transfer
  4. 4. Art History Curriculum • Art History Sequence:  Ancient to Medieval  Renaissance to Modern
  5. 5. Art History Curriculum • Sabbatical Project:  Art Since 1945 View of Marion Peak from Cartridge Pass, Sierra Nevada, California, 2009
  6. 6. Art History Curriculum • Standard chronological overview of major artists and periods
  7. 7. Assessment • Students study major monuments
  8. 8. Assessment • Written exams evaluate student learning  Slide Identification  Discussion of significant features  Compare/contrast Image source: Arbitrary.Marks @ Flickr
  9. 9. The Challenge • Many students are not adequately prepared for a college level art history course Image source: K8Lynn2007 @ Flickr
  10. 10. The Challenge • Weak writing skills pose an especially difficult problem Image source: Mirza R @
  11. 11. The Challenge • Written exams can’t accurately assess learning Image source: Arbitrary.Marks @ Flickr Image source: Arbitrary.Marks @ Flickr
  12. 12. Ummm . . . the significant feature The Challenge of this work is that it expresses emotion and has a lot of detail Statue of a Kouros (Youth) c. 590-580 BCE Image source: Mark E. Wadley @ Flickr Metropolitan Museum
  13. 13. Ummm . . . the significant feature The Challenge of this work is that it expresses emotion and has a lot of detail There is often a disconnect between what students know and what they write Image source: Mark E. Wadley @ Flickr
  14. 14. Common Solutions • Common response: focus on Go a l: improved content delivery I w ill be a be tte r te ache r! Doris Day in Teachers Pet (1958) Image source:
  15. 15. If they understand the material better, they’ll be able to write better . . . Go a l: Im p r o v e Co n te n t D e live ry Doris Day in Teachers Pet (1958) Image source:
  16. 16. Common Solutions • Standardized tests measure knowledge acquisition outside of writing ability
  17. 17. Common Solutions • Written assignments isolate area in need of further development
  18. 18. Common Solutions • Test scores improved but students still couldn’t write Image source: HappilyKnit @ Flickr Image source: UNTAMED+ @ Flickr
  19. 19. Ummm . . . the significant feature of this work is that it expresses emotion and has a lot of detail Image source: UNTAMED+ @ Flickr
  20. 20. Cool, here’s something on Wikipedia • Plagiarism was rampant Image source:
  21. 21. Common Solutions • I issued the standard warnings How to Av o i d p la g ia ri sm Doris Day in Teachers Pet (1958) Image source:
  22. 22. Common Solutions • Developed extensive guidelines
  23. 23. Common Solutions • What the students heard . . . . Image source: Sevenzeds Sketch blog Image source: Brian Germain bgstudios
  24. 24. I can’t teach my students how to Ar t write! H is to ry Le s s o n # 1:
  25. 25. I have too much to cover! Ar t H i s t o r y Le s s o n # 1 :
  26. 26. Redefining Goals • What if writing was the primary goal of the course? “Constructive alignment means that what we ask students to do must relate to what we want them to learn” Image source:
  27. 27. Diagnosing the Problem • Premise #1:  Students can’t write because they don’t know what they are supposed to write Image source: yoshiffles @ Flickr
  28. 28. Diagnosing the Problem • Punctuation, grammar, and writing style are secondary issues Image source:
  29. 29. Diagnosing the Problem • My goal is to get students to the point where the Writing Center can take over Image source:
  30. 30. Diagnosing the Problem • Premise #2:  Students plagiarize out of desperation Image source:
  31. 31. Diagnosing the Problem • Student fear of writing must be taken seriously Image source: Jonno Witts @ Flickr Image source: Emdot @ Flickr
  32. 32. Implementing the Plan • First Step:  Conquer fear of writing with assignments that do not require writing Image source:
  33. 33. Implementing the Plan • Break the essay down into manageable parts: – Description of subject matter – Formal analysis – Relation to social context Image source:
  34. 34. Implementing the Plan • Assignments should be:  Short, fun, easy to do  Easy to grade Image source:
  35. 35. Web Quest • Web Quest #1:  Visit selected websites  Choose a representative image  Analyze the work using arrows and labels
  36. 36. Web Quest • Analyze an example of Ancient Near Eastern art using arrows and labels
  37. 37. Web Quest • Write a brief paragraph describing the work
  38. 38. Web Quest • Labels were good, but paragraphs often missed the point Paragraph discusses function, and paraphrases museum information
  39. 39. Web Quest • Feedback enabled me to reinforce understanding Good discussion of the function of Sumerian votive statues; but assignment called for detailed description of this specific piece. You can write a description simply by weaving together the details you point out with your labels!
  40. 40. Web Quest • Analyze a painting by Giotto Learning Goal: formal concepts of spatial recession and modeling Erne s t S tude nt with light and shade
  41. 41. Web Quest • How does Giotto’s art • Formal analysis accompanied by brief written paragraph differ from Medieval art? • Concept of a “thesis” and  Thesis: Giotto’s art is supporting detail was introduced more realistic  Supporting Detail: use information from labels
  42. 42. Paragraph has a thesis and supporting detail that address assignment topic
  43. 43. Web Quest • Using labels and • Subsequent assignments build upon and reinforce complete sentences understanding point out at least three details that support the thesis that Flemish painting is more realistic than Medieval art
  44. 44. Cri teri a Poin t s Comm ents Wor k Selection Used web r esour ces as direct ed t o locat e a repr esent ativ e Fl em ish painti ng t hat w as not stud ied in class Iden tification Artist, title, m edi um, da te, location Realistic De tail s Rubrics provide Ind icat es thr ee d et ail s tha t supp ort the th esis tha t Fl em ish p ain ting is feedback based on high ly r eali stic learning goals Summ ary Stateme nt Statem ent summ arising ho w work selected i s typical of Flem ish painti ng Tot al
  45. 45. Web Quest Group feedback also delivered on Blackboard
  46. 46. Web Quest Outcomes • Preliminary outcomes were satisfying
  47. 47. Web Quest Outcomes • Exposure to web resources and expanded visual vocabulary
  48. 48. Web Quest Outcomes • Students were actually looking closely at pictures
  49. 49. Web Quest Outcomes • High participation rate and active student engagement Image source:
  50. 50. Web Quest Outcomes • Bonus outcome: significant improvement on standardized test scores
  51. 51. Web Quest Outcomes • Students were now prepared to write their first Visual analysis essay Image source: Pocketofpills @ Flickr
  52. 52. Visual Analysis Essay • Sample outline provided
  53. 53. Introduction addresses concept of Humanism in specific historical context Work is correctly identified by title, medium, location, and date
  54. 54. Paragraph remains focused on a description of subject matter
  55. 55. Formal analysis is guided by a thesis
  56. 56. ART 109: RENAISSANCE T O M OD ERN Assignm ent #4: Visual Anal ysis Essay Evaluation Nam e: Cri teri a Comm ent s Int rod uct ion Introd ucto ry par agr aph pr ovid es clear exp lanation/ d efi niti on of the Renaissanc es and pr esents a clear thesis about its i mp act on art Identif ication Corr ectly i den tifi es work and includ es all p ertin ent m useu m information in an engaging narra tive Subject Matt er Provides a vivid d escription/ exp lanation of the subj ect m att er with s upp orting d et ail and insigh tf ul observations Style Provides a detail ed d escription/ It is now possible to exp lanation of s tyli stic techniques in supp ort of t hesis us ing cour se evaluate learning more vocab ulary wit h con fi denc e and und erst and i ng effectively Conclu sion Summ arizes poi nts, r elat es w ork to th esis pr esent ed in t he introd uction , and r efl ects on l arg er sign ifi cance/ m eaning Coll ege level wr itin g Gramm ar, punct uation , f ull y develop ed ideas, pr op er cit ation Grade
  57. 57. Building on What Has Been Learned • Students with writing issues could be directed to the Writing Center Image source:
  58. 58. Building on What Has Been Learned • Part II: building on what has been learned Image source:
  59. 59. Building on What Has Been Learned • First assignment
  60. 60. Building on What Has Been Learned • Second Assignment
  61. 61. Compare/Contrast • Third Assignment
  62. 62. Integrating Research
  63. 63. Integrating Research
  64. 64. Writing Style Vincent Van Gogh, Peasant Woman Cooking by a Fireplace, 1885 Jackson Pollock, Autumn Rhythm Metropolitan Museum Metropolitan Museum
  65. 65. Writing Style “In this work of art Van Gogh focuses on a peasant woman as his main subject. She is seen sitting on a wooden stool. She is leaning towards an open fire holding a pan in her two hands and cooking herself or her family a meal.” Does this description capture the mood of Van Gogh’s painting? Vincent Van Gogh, Peasant Woman Cooking by a Fireplace, 1885 Metropolitan Museum
  66. 66. Writing Style “This work shows a woman cooking with a pan, probably by a fireplace. It is very dark, so this is probably nighttime. It also looks like her face is dirty, probably the result of working hard all day. She is crouching over, and it makes me wonder if she is doing this because she is cold. Perhaps the heat of the pan is the only heat in her home. A teakettle is on the floor. It is probably there Does this description do a better because there’s no other room for job of capturing the mood? it on the stove. The small stove seems to fit the small, claustrophobic room.” Vincent Van Gogh, Peasant Woman Cooking by a Fireplace, 1885 Metropolitan Museum
  67. 67. Writing Style “The colors are mostly dark greens and browns. There is a section of the wall that seems to be lit by the fire of the stove, and it glows a putrid green. Even where the colors are lighter, like on the floor, they are still mucky. It almost looks as if the paint was mixed together too much, and accidentally a swampy color Use of adjectives to convey the scheme was created. Even the emotion of the colors blue of her skirt has traces of dirt brown on it.” Vincent Van Gogh, Peasant Woman Cooking by a Fireplace, 1885 Metropolitan Museum
  68. 68. Evaluating Success  Improved student outcomes  Standardized test scores  Written assessments  Fewer cases of plagiarism  Improved retention Image source:
  69. 69. Evaluating Success  Dr. Elizabeth Guffey at Purchase College reports similar improved outcomes
  70. 70. Evaluating Success • Weaker exam performance on units unaccompanied by web quest assignments Image source:
  71. 71. Evaluating Success • Several cases of “relapse” and “no shows” on the final essay Image source:
  72. 72. Web 2.0 Technologies • Web 2.0 technologies provide powerful tools for annotating visual images Image source:
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  77. 77. Web 2.0 Technologies • Web 2.0 technologies make it possible to re-think the lecture format Image source: Marshall University College of Fine Arts
  78. 78. Web 2.0 Technologies • Online lectures free up class time
  79. 79. Diagnosing the Problem • More class time can be devoted to areas that students struggle with most Image source: Image source: UNTAMED+ @ Flickr
  80. 80. Writing is the Goal • Web 2.0 technologies can be useful aids • But they do not replace the goal of a well written essay Image source:
  81. 81. Writing is the Goal • For me, the Blue Book Exam remains the ultimate test Image source: Arbitrary.Marks @ Flickr “Sometimes the blank page can be daunting” Image source: J Diggity @ Flickr