There is liberation through limitation.
The enemy of art is the absence of limitations.
There is liberation through limitation.
(meth - od - ol - o - gy): a body of methods, rules, and postulates employed by a discipline ; a set of procedures.
In other words, a methodology is just a means to an end. Just like there are a plethora of methods to eat a Resse's Peanut Butter Cup, there are a plethora of methods to teach a class... I know, I know, that's probably an unnecessary analogy, but I'm seriously craving a RPBC right now. So here it is.
In "Children and their Art," Michael Day and Al Hurwitz describe methodology, simply, as “a decision regarding the means of learning.”
“Art,” they say, “like any other subject, no matter how intrinsically interesting and attractive, can be poorly taught. Teachers have failed when students learn to dislike the subject and avoid contact with it later in life. Successful teachers must never become so concerned with emphasis of subject content that they ignore students’ attitudes and thinking about it. In general, students will respond positively to art instruction when teachers are well prepared, have learning goals clearly in mind, and are able to explain the goals to children and their levels of understanding... Successful teachers bring the student to believe that art matters... art can influence the whole atmosphere of a school. Thinking becomes livelier.”
They say most instruction can be lumped into one of three categories:
1) The Directive Method. Used primarily in transferring skills, techniques or processes.
2) The Socratic Method, also called the questioning method. This method is intended to guide a group of learners in finding their own answers. This is particularly appropriate in any realm of instruction that involves ideas, theories, interpretation and analysis.
3) The Discovery Method. In this method the teacher sets the stage for lessons that are open ended, speculative and problem solving.
They continue, “Art teachers need to develop and employ a repertoire of teaching methods... If curriculum deals with the content of instruction, methodology concerns itself with the most effective means of moving students toward realization of curriculum goals... a teacher can and should use a multitude of methods or strategies.”
“Teaching can be considered an art form... Like artists (actors, poets, dancers, musicians, and visual artists), teachers develop a repertoire of meaningful behaviors and apply them as they see fit according to their experience and goals.”
Here’s a list of teaching methodologies, to be developed and used when most appropriate in realizing a curriculum goal:
portfolios & journals
etc, etc, etc.
From distorted skulls in Flemish paintings to Hirst's "The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living," artists throughout the ages have used an endless variety of media to respond to the inevitable brevity of human life.
Candy Chang, "Before I Die — New Orleans" 2011
For more on Candy Chang, go here.
We're studying learning outcomes in Dan Barney's curriculum class. Learning outcomes can be really bland, but they can also be elegant, curious and motivating. We're endeavoring to create learning outcomes that are liberating rather than constricting and confining. Also, I'm discovering that learning outcomes & lesson plans can be oppressive when too many rules & guidelines are given — but they can also be oppressive when they are too ambiguous.
I love the idea of including self-referential questions. These questions produce subjective answers. They take many forms, such as, "If you were to go blind tomorrow, what image would you leave behind?" (Created by Juan Carlos Castro, photography teacher, inspired by a quote by Dorothea Lange, depression-era FSA photographer), "Where have you felt alone/afraid/joyful/confident?" "What are you most afraid of?" "I may be little but I can still..." etc, etc.
When a learning outcome includes a self-referential question, it becomes an elegant problem.
D.B. mentioned that this is a relatively new concept, and is only being taught at a couple schools, including M|I|C/A and San Diego, I think. I'll be posting more of these later. Just wanted to throw down a quick definition here.
Here are some of my pedagogical musings, dabblings, wonderings and wanderings.