Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Wabi Sabi, Happy accidents and Beautiful Oops!

One of the biggest challenges for an art teacher (besides getting the kids to pack up properly and get the work done in the time allocated!) is the balance between teaching kids 'how to draw', encouraging development and understanding of ways of looking and recording what they see in front of them or in their imaginations and and letting their own natural creativity and quirky, wild imaginative drawings survive the 'teaching process'.
Another challenge that I have found to be surprisingly common of late for all year levels is the "I can't draw syndrome". I say surprisingly because often the younger kids don't care a jot if they haven't got it exactly right and just enjoy the drawing for drawing sake telling wondrous stories as their page fills with all manner of images and inventive squiggles. But lately I have encountered more and more kids worried to take a little risk and make a mistake.
So over the last few weeks I have had a dual focus in my lessons. Firstly the arts elements of colour pattern and line but then also that of trying to encourage the kids to step out of their comfort zone and have a go, take a risk and make a mistake. Mistakes are important things that we all need to learn. I think that Einstein was quoted as saying after hundreds of so called failed trials of something or rather that he had not failed a hundred times but rather he had discovered a hundred ways that did not work...Perspective!
SO with this in mind I have been introducing the kids to some ideas around taking risks with their learning especially with art. Last year we spoke of Wabi Sabi - the perfection or beauty of things that are not quite perfect. The fact that often times the things that make something imperfect are the reason it is so unique and why we love it so much, think of your favourite battered old teddy bear or a baby's blankie. Or a home made cake, often they don't look perfect but they have more substance and flavour than the perfect store bought variety.
This year I have been showing the kids in years one to 4 this video clip bases on the book Beautiful Oops. Beautiful Oops focuses on the "happy Accident " approach to mistakes. Look at a mistake as an opportunity to make something beautiful, something different, or more interesting. This doesn't just happen it requires exercising your 'creative brain' or imagination.

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