Art Mindset means being creative and expressive, it means thinking VISUALLY- Most of all it means having a positive, “Growth Mindset” when it comes to making art. I believe that Art is for EVERYONE. Most everyone can walk or jog even though not everyone is an Olympic athlete. We learn to read and write even though few of us become professional authors. In the same way- even if you can’t draw a convincing stick-figure, you can still enjoy, make, use and share art.
So… What are you so Afraid of?
Oh you don’t think so? Well, maybe you’re just afraid to try. The fact is even the most successful professional artists feel insecure. Probably because art, by nature is something that others get to see. If other people get to see it, they’ll probably have opinions about it and might just tell you what they think. Let’s face it, that can be intimidating. But as Stanford Professor and Growth Mindset guru Carol Dweck will tell you, COURAGE is part of learning- for that matter, FAILURE is a part of learning.
THINK OF IT AS A THINKING TOOL
Maybe it will help if you stop thinking of “ART” as this high and mighty, holy, special, set-aside, mystical, miraculous and just think of it like reading, writing and executing mathematical functions. Think of it as a thinking tool. Drawing, doodling, sketching, diagraming, designing and making art are ways of working out your thoughts. It’s another way of working through ideas. If you can think, you can art.
Meanwhile (maybe because it’s visual/spacial and analogous instead of logical/linear/linguistic) Art can still be magical and mystical and mysterious- but at the same time approachable, practical and usable… for EVERYONE.
DARE TO ART!
Too often, we become paralyzed by our insecurity about how art will turn out. STOP. Don’t worry about how it will turn out- concentrate on what you can learn from the PROCESS of making art instead of whether or not you’re any “good” at art, okay? Be courageous.
So how can you nurture an “Art Mindset?” By developing positive attitudes about art and then repeating, rehearsing and practicing them over and over again until they become good habits. Education author and “Genius Hour” advocate Angela Maiers might even call some of these “Habbitudes;” positive habits built on positive attitudes which help you learn and grow.
Maybe the most important positive attitudes you can have to help you experience and create art is wonder. Call it curiosity, call it whatever you
want- You have to look more closely at things instead of merely glancing quickly and taking what you see for granted
DON’T JUST LOOK, EXPLORE
The next important thing is to process what you see. Look at it from different perspectives. Compare & contrast it to other things you’ve seen, COMBINE it with other things you’ve seen, and examine it so closely that you discover new things and begin seeing it in new ways.
FEED ART TO OTHERS!
Once you’ve seen what no one else sees- SHARE what you’ve seen. Help others see what you see. Don’t hoard it to yourself.
Four Art Disciplines; Art History, Aesthetics, Production, & Art Criticism
Those who STUDY art generally follow four basic strands; They look at what artists have done in the past, they analyze how images are composed and structured, they MAKE Art- of course and they apply critical thinking skills to examining, reflecting on and responding to Art.
These are great ways to learn about Art- but… on the one hand, these categories seem almost too specific to Art, stuff that non artists and not art experts aren’t gonna “get,” but at the same time- they’re waaay too broad, too vague; they’re not clear enough, specific enough or practical enough for non-art-experts to wrap their minds around, let alone use. Fair enough. So look at some habits you can really use that will help you develop as and artist AND will help you develop and “Art Mindset” that you can use for everything in life, not just art.
Studio Habits of Mind (SHoM)
In 2003 the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s “Project Zero” published a list of eight ways of thinking that student-artists learn while in the process of creating art.
THIS IS NOT A LIST
Because these eight ways of thinking all work together and influence each other and build on one-another, and because none of them leads to another and none is more important than another, they really shouldn’t be considered in a specific order.
These eight habits work TOGETHER to create what I’d consider an “Art Mindset.”
Check your Progress
How do you teach expectations about Studio Habits in school Art departments? That’s going to be different for every Art teacher. Here are three levels that might compare to “Got it,” “Almost got it,” and “Not yet.” Or- if you prefer teacher jargon: Proficient, Adequate and Inadequate. Too often, Art students blame poor products on a lack of talent. These three descriptions let students know when they haven’t invested enough in the PROCESS to be able to realistically expect successful finished products.
Like athletes, musicians, and STEM scholars, if you aren’t challenging yourself, you may plateau and not really improve. “Coasting” basically says that you’re doing okay, but you’re not really excelling or exceeding.
Generally, when you’re learning, growing, or improving, you know, but this description celebrates and shows gratitude for the effort students put toward their own learning. Combining Growth Mindset, Positive Behavior Initiatives and visual art learning nurtures an “Art Mindset.”
My hope is to create eight more videos explaining each of the eight Studio Habits in more detail, one at a time. Please, watch them, like them, share them, link to them, use them, comment on them, and of course, consider subscribing. I’m not looking for fame or fortune, I want to share these ideas and the more views, likes and share these videos get- the easier they are to find in search engines.
I say it’s “my hope”- but I’m gonna spend ‘School Art Month’ (March), preparing for my school to host a conference Art show in April. But not only do I need to re-tool how I overtly teach, and integrate and implement the Studio Habits in my own classroom- I genuinely want to share the Studio Habits with not just other Art teachers and artists, but with EVERYONE, because I believe this Art Mindset can help anyone see different adt think more visually and creatively.
So if/when I find time, I’d like to; write blog posts like this, create graphics and slideshows, perhaps even videos and podcasts concerning the Studio Habits.
WHY AM I DOING THIS?
Partly because the articles and videos already out there are mostly aimed at K-5 & K-12 Art teachers. I have 6-12 Art students and like I just mentioned, everyone else. Parents, art hobbyists, novice artists, non-artists, business people, teachers in other disciplines, coaches, people who’ve always assumed that they’re art-impared!
- YouTube Video; “Hungry Eye, Art Mindset”
- GoogleSlides Show; Art Mindset
- MORE: https://naea.digication.com/maldog/ART_MINDSET
- Podcast; https://anchor.fm/ted-mallory/episodes/Episode-5-Art-Mindset-e3bo64
TALK TO ME/WITH ME/AT ME
Have you used the Studio Habits in your own art (or Art classroom?) what have your experiences with it been? Do you use them in grading art works? How do you teach them? Please share your ideas and experiences below in the comment section.
There used to be a song that they’d have us sing in Sunday School and Vacation Bible School when I was a kid that went “They will know we are Christians by our love, by our love, they will know we are Christians by our love.” I think it was based on John 13:35, where Jesus said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
The hard thing these days is that many are seeing Christians not as loving but intolerant, and lacking compassion at best and homophobic or even racist at worst. Some Christians get defensive and think that they’re being persecuted by these perceptions people have of us, but we should be careful about this because we have to remember that it’s not about us, it’s about Jesus. We must always become less so that He can become more. If we are the body of Christ, what a shame if would it be if when people look at us, they think that Jesus is exclusive, angry or even hateful?
We also need to be discerning and careful about the voices that we listen to when they are telling us what God’s opinions are. If we’re not grounded in God’s Word, reading it for ourselves (preferably daily) we may be vulnerable to false teachers, be they televangelists, celebrities, pundits or politicians.
They may claim to be fellow Christians, but are they genuinely representing Jesus, or are they trying to gain leverage or power for their own agendas by taking advantage of our desire to seek and serve the Lord?
Jesus tells us how to tell when someone is full of malarkey:
Matthew 7:15-20 You Will Know Them by Their Fruits
15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
So, should we look for when it comes to this “bad fruit?” How do we know which things help us grow and which are toxic? Saint Paul does a pretty good job in his letter to the church in Galatia. Basically he tells us that if people don’t teach what Jesus taught or do what Jesus did, we’ll be able to tell:
Galatians 5:13- 22 Life by the Spirit
13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever[c] you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law…
|The acts of the flesh are obvious:||But the fruit of the Spirit is|
|Healthy & Nutritious!
|Against such things there is no law.|
And in case you’re about to tell me, “it’s easy to just go around accusing other people of hatred or selfish ambition, but take the log out of your own eye because you’re just jealous and so you’re spreading discord!”
Believe me, I get it. I’m chief among sinners. As a matter of fact (not making excuses here, but) I’ve lost my temper more times than I’d like to admit in the last year and in the midst of my feeling guilty about it, I ran across an article that said that “fits of rage” can actually be a symptom of anxiety.
Makes perfect sense. From a neurological perspective, anxiety, depression, anger and attention deficits are all influenced by our limbic system, the “lizard” (fight or flight) part of our brain. When are you most “edgy” or cranky? When you’re tired or stressed.
But Paul doesn’t tell us to just give in to our flesh, because it’s natural and normal and human. He tells us to walk in the Spirit, to ask God to live in and through us.
Our natural/instinctive reaction to injustice may be to be angry or combative. I know when I’m outraged by what I think is a travesty I don’t want to take it lying down, I want people to know that I won’t back down, that I’m right and they’re ignorant.
But that’s not Jesus’ way. He would not break a bruised reed or snuff out a smoldering wick. 1 Peter 3:15 says to “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” That’s not easy. Not for me, I don’t know about you.
So how can we not just use Galatians 5 to discern false prophets by their bad fruit, but when we look at ourselves in a mirror and see bad fruit in ourselves, how can we start growing GOOD fruit? Fruit of the Holy Spirit?
If you’re anything like me, you’re thinking- I’m not anything like Jesus, at best I’m more like Simon Peter, the disciple who was zealous, presumptuous and short-tempered and arrogant one minute and being reprimanded by Jesus or vehemently denying he even knew Jesus the next!
Well, if you want to learn, you must spend time with the Master. You can’t learn if you’re constantly ditching class.
Spend time reading God’s Word. Spend time in fellowship with other believers. And for Christ’s sake, spend time in prayer. The more you learn about Jesus and read or listen to His words, the more you’ll admire & appreciate Him. You’ll also discover that there’s a difference between just saying you believe in Him and calling yourself a “Christian” and really following Him. Meanwhile, He’ll be be working on your heart, your mind and your character and spirit.
One last way to think about this is a secular (maybe even bordering on “New Age” one). There’s a popular idea out there in the business and self-help world called the “Law of Attraction.” Basically you get back what you put out. What goes around comes around. It’s not really new age because Jesus taught this Himself in the “golden rule,” do unto others as you would have others do unto you.
Would you rather attract hatred, anger, jealousy and selfishness? Or peace, patience and kindness? Some people sure seem to thrive on “drama” and conflict and power-struggles, don’t they?
Back in the 1970’s and 80’s Educational Psychologist William Glasser talked about what he called “connecting habits” and “controlling habits.” More recently Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck has been talking about “Growth mindset” and “Fixed Mindset.” Each of these sets of opposites contrast behaviors that are basically self-centered and defensive and behaviors that build community and encourage others altruistically.
Guess which behaviors the psychologists consider positive and effective and which they consider negative and ineffective? Go ahead, guess. I’ll wait.
Believe me, I know it isn’t easy, I louse this up all the time. Who doesn’t like orgies, right? Just kidding- what I mean is, my first inclination is to be reactionary, and impulsively try to put people in their place when I think they’re wrong and I’m right. Gentleness? Self-control? Not in my nature.
That’s the point. You, me, all of us need to ask Jesus to give us His Holy Spirit to make us more like Him and “produce good fruit.” Let’s turn this world into a farmer’s market.
Dear Jesus- Help! As Jimmy Buffet once sang, “we need more fruitcakes in this world and less bakers!” In Your name we pray- Amen.
This year something I’ve adopted with all of my classes is “Mindset Mondays.” We learn about the concept of having a growth mindset in order to develop attitudes, build habits and practice skills which help us learn better. Usually this involves a short video and some discussion or a brain-teaser or activity meant to encourage becoming a life-long learner.
In Art classes at Boyer Valley this has meant taking notes on and learning about the “Studio Habits of Mind” developed a few years ago by educators at Harvard.
I really believe in these. I think that they’re not only things that artists genuinely do even without thinking about it, but very real reasons why art education is meaningful and important and not just “enrichment.” These are critical thinking activities which are valuable in the work place, in academic disciplines other than art and in everyday life.
I encourage everyone to practice them, not just my art students. I encourage parents and other teachers to talk about them with your students. Have conversations about what they mean, how to use them, and how they help.
It may be too soon to gauge what effect ‘Mindset Mondays’ has had on my classes, but it has definitely helped me to get students to consider their process more and not get so hung up on their finished products. This is immeasurably important in art because as any experienced artist will tell you, if you fall in love with the process, more successful products will be a natural outcome.
I have incorporated studio habits into a portion of students’ self-assessments for every assignment and occasionally will include an extended reflection/assessment for a given project that emphasizes the 8 habits, not just the usual rubric objectives.
One of the best things about these is that it provides a deeply researched, legitimate means of both teaching and evaluating what was once considered subjective or intangible, namely; inspiration, motivation, effort and participation.
Hetland, Lois. Studio Thinking: The Real Benefits of Visual Arts Education. New York: Teachers College, 2007. Print.
- “A Look at Lois Hetland’s Eight Studio Habits.” Edited by Kate Thomas, Every Art, Every Child | Studio Habits, Northeastern Illinois University, 20 Oct. 2010, 3:55 PM, www.everyarteverychild.org/assessment/studiohabits.html.
- Veon, Raymond. “Reconnecting to the Artist Within.” IgniteArt, igniteart.weebly.com/reconnecting-to-the-artist-within.html.
8 Studio Habits of Mind – Drawing and Painting
(Adapted from artiseducation.org, with my commentary in orange)
- Become an Artist: Learning to use tools, materials, artistic conventions (the traditional Elements & Principles of Design, which I’ve had college Art educators tell me are a priority to them) and learning to care for tools, materials, and space (teaching procedures, a perennial headache for Middle School Art teachers!).
- Engage and Persist: Learning to embrace problems of relevance within the art world and/or of personal importance, to develop focus conducive to working and persevering at tasks. (This habit hits on things vital for MS/HS students; Attention, Focus, Concentration, Mindfulness, Perseverance, Endurance, Grit, etc. etc.)
- Envision: Learning to picture mentally what cannot be directly observed and imagine possible next steps in making a piece. (Initially this is about planning, many athletic coaches and trainers have written about “imaging” and “visualization,” this puts a name and a deliberate methodology to the creative, imaginative process that most artists and some students already use intuitively and ties perfectly with national core standards. Mid-process it becomes about awareness, inference decision making, flexibility and adaptation- also aligning with national core standards, 1 &2 ).
- Express: Learning to create works that convey an idea, a feeling, or a personal meaning – all within the context of drawing and painting. (A few years ago I realized that while students were claiming that this was the most important aspect of art to them, they didn’t know how to do it. So, taking a cue from Language Arts teachers, I began emphasizing how students could invoke mood using the elements of design, evoke associations using symbols and imagery and how to deliberately provoke discussion and/or reaction with a combination of composition and style. This aligns with national standards 3, 9, 10 & 11 and simultaneously makes art more personal, but also improves student’s communication and critical thinking skills by challenging them to plan, analyze and interpret.)
- Observe: Learning to attend to visual contexts more closely than ordinary “looking” requires and thereby see things that otherwise might not be seen; viewing with a critical eye. (This is the difference between Sherlock Holmes and John Watson- well, this and being a “high-functioning sociopath.” Point being, this is something that scientists and engineers and anyone who works with other people, animals or machinery all need and it’s something that art education gives kids, observation skills.)
- Reflect: Learning to think and talk with others about an aspect of one’s work or working process and learning to judge one’s own work and working process as well as the work of others. ( I really can’t say anything about this better than my colleague at artwithmrdexter.wordpress.com did, except to point out that it aligns with national standards 4, 6, 7, 8, & 10.)
- Stretch & Explore: Learning to reach beyond one’s capacities, to explore playfully without a preconceived plan, and to embrace the opportunity to learn from mistakes – all within the context of drawing and painting. (This not only teaches conceptual ambivalence, an important part of being an abstract thinker- but it increases both curiosity and pushing and challenging yourself. Taking risks in art is eminently safer than in other areas of life!)
- 8. Understand Arts Community: Learning to interact as an artist with other artists in the classroom, local arts organizations, and beyond (By posting student artworks on Artsonia.com and conducting regular class critique-sessions, I help students learn how to interact as members of an artist community. After discussing one habit a week for the first eight weeks, I switch to introducing students to other artistic concepts or to contemporary working artists on my ‘Mindset Mondays.’ By doing this, they see that art isn’t just about historical figures like DiVinci, Rembrandt, VanGogh and Picasso but a real, continuing, active thing. It also shows them that there are people who use the 8 studio habits today in the real world. Finally I model for them that when you learn something, adapt it or master it, it’s natural then to share it and contribute to other people’s learning. Not only do I utilize Artsonia for this, but we also post student artworks on Instagram with @BVArtdogs, which they in turn can share on other social media.)
- Decide upon a topic to research.
- Document 4 -6 research resources using a variety of mediums.
- Use the Phase 1 Research Guide to assist in your research and writing.
- Visit with your Instructional/Tech Coach for support.
- Share your research findings in the space below. This will be shared with your building principal upon completion of this project and will be used during Phases 2, 3, and 4.
- Upon completion of steps 1 -5, you will move to Phase 2 – Integration.
Summarize your research findings below.
1. Growth Mindset, and “Culture and Climate.”
2. Here are several things I am looking at and using:
- “Art Education.” Art Education, vol. 70, no. 5, ser. 2017, 9ADAD. 2017. https://www.arteducators.org/research/art-education-journal
- Smith, Mike. “Jostens Renaissance Education.” Jostens Renaissance Education, Jostens’ Inc., 2017, www.jostensrenaissance.com.
- Ragan, Trevor. Trainugly.com, Train Ugly LLC, 2017, trainugly.com.
- Hetland, Lois. Studio Thinking: the Real Benefits of Visual Arts Education. Teachers College, Columbia University, 2009.
- Maiers, Angela. Classroom Habitudes: Teaching Habits and Attitudes for 21st Century Learning. Solution Tree Press, 2012.
- Rosenberg, Marshall B. Nonviolent Communication: a Language of Life ; Empathy, Collaboration, Authenticity, Freedom. PuddleDancer Press, 2015.
- Seligman, Martin P. Learned Optimism. 2nd ed., Vintage Books, 1998.\
- Dweck, Carol S. Mindset: Changing the Way You Think to Fulfill Your Potential. Little Brown Book Company, 2012.
3. Last year our MS PLC talked about using growth mindset. For years I’ve believed that standards and test data are ineffective and often inaccurate if students are unmotivated to learn. I’ve heard teachers complain at PD about wanting AEA presenters to help them find ways to “reach” and motivate students. I’ve read books on developing essential questions. I took license renewal classes on character ed and helping students with anxiety and depression.
So this year, my personal PD will be addressing two things. To work with the district’s goals for PBIS, I’d like to find ways that I can positively influence our school’s “culture and climate.” We need a culture that values and promotes curiosity and personal growth and learning. We need a climate that is positive, safe and encouraging. Not that it’s “bad” or terribly inhospitable (so far as I can tell), but it’s also not intentional. Any school can always do better. The other thing I want to work on is to continue to develop and improve the ways that I address, teach, apply and use growth mindset in my classrooms. Ideally I can not only help students and improve my own teaching, but demonstrate to others the value of these concepts and consider adopting them as well.
I don’t know if I’ve hit all 14 points on the “Phase 1 Research Guide,” I apologize if my writing was too organic. I’ll re-do it if I’m required to follow a specific format.
4. With all due respect to the TLC, and I really like and respect Betsy, but-
5. I am going to be using a section of my personal blog as a repository of my findings and reflections on my personal PD this year. https://tedmallory.wordpress.com/tag/teaching,
… but (as of 8/31) I will come back and type something here after reviewing more of the videos on the two websites and scanning through &/or reading some of the books I’ve listed above.
WATCH THIS SPACE for #5. Also, will Ted ever use the Phase 1 Research Guide? Will he get in trouble for the snarky meme he inserted for #4?
But seriously, I fully intend to study how to teach and use growth mindset, I genuinely want to help our district with their PBIS because I think it can have a positive effect on our community and students’ sense of belonging and identity- I just don’t want to see it stall out in the behavioralist stages of teaching and repeating procedures. And even if the only way I can do it is via the yearbook and cheer squad, I want to work on improving our culture and climate. I want to see us become a community of life-long learners, among other things. Got any ideas for me? I’m open to “crowd-sourcing” from other educators- why should I limit myself to books and websites? Leave your comments below or share your books & websites (resources) with me. Thanks.