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## a repost on how i teach kids to critique

### Kathy Forer on tue 26 apr 11

On Apr 26, 2011, at 6:18 PM, John Post wrote:

> My son's science teacher gave him a zero on a homework paper because =3D
while he showed his work, and came up with the correct answers, he did =3D
not arrive at the answers using the methodology his science teacher =3D
specified for the class to use. What my kid learned through this is =3D
"Don't think of a way to solve these problems on your own, just do it =3D
the way we tell you." His science textbook was hard for him to =3D
understand, so when when I was working with him on this homework =3D
assignment, we went online, found formulas to use to solve the problems =3D
and then he figured out how to apply them. Note to self: do not use real =
=3D
world problem solving skills at school unless directly specified by your =
=3D
teacher. Don't think on your own, think how we tell you to think, so =3D
that you are quiet and can be assimilated.

Reminds me of my seventh grade math teacher. She sewed her own clothes =3D
and wore reversible skirts. I think her glasses hung on a chain. She was =
=3D
totally involved and loved teaching geometry and though we loved her, we =
=3D
tried her patience, surely. She inspired me to elaborate geometric =3D
doodles and schema during class time, and one homework -- it must have =3D
been a Pythagorean proof -- to prove an equation in a way we hadn't =3D
learned but made sense to me. I probably hadn't paid attention in class =3D
=3D
of an effort that she stayed with me after class several lunchtimes to =3D
see how we could make it work and to look at other possible solutions. =3D
It became fun and supplanted the doodling for a time. Knowing that an =3D
equation is creative freed me to play with the symbols on the paper and =3D
it became a challenge to make the proofs as simple and elegant as =3D
possible. Though Queen S left the school shortly after that, her insight =
=3D
and enthusiasm saw me well through Algebra and Calc I and (could it be?) =
=3D
II. I can't remember a thing about Calculus but what I was drawing or =3D
doodling is a basis for some of the underlying geometry in my art work =3D
today.

I wish your son yet has a Mrs. Satterlee! How wasteful to inflict and =3D
then have to undo the bad that teachers (and I suppose parents and =3D
society) do to us!=3D20

Kathy Forer
foreverink.com

### John Post on tue 26 apr 11

This is from a little while ago but seems related to the current =3D20
discussion on critiques...

I recently discussed with my 4th - 6th grade students what a critique =3D20=
=3D

is. I had them come up to the dry erase board, choose any art work =3D20
made by another student and critique it by discussing these three =3D20
questions...

What is working in the art work?
What is not working in the art work?
What advice would you give this artist to improve it?

The kids were most often dead on in their critiques, saying just what =3D20=
=3D

I as the teacher was thinking in my head. They gave each other great =3D20
feedback. This meant letting the kids talk for an entire class. I was =3D20=
=3D

thinking that the kids might not be able to sit still for a critique =3D20
of everyone's work (they are just 8-12 year-olds) yet one kid at the =3D20
end of one of my classes a kid said "This was really fun."

The most frequently asked question I get asked when a kid completes an =3D2=
0=3D

art assignment is "Is this good?" During our critiques I told them =3D20
that when they ask me that question, they are asking me to make a =3D20
value judgment about their art work. Do I like it or not. I told them, =3D2=
0=3D

that I prefer to answer them using the three questions above so that =3D20
they get feedback that they can use as information. =3D01

If you have watched any American Idol last season, this is why Ellen =3D20
stinks as a judge and critique. She always says whether or not she =3D20
likes it. That doesn't give the performer any useful information. (I =3D20
mention this because my students instantly understand what a critique =3D20=
=3D

is when I explain to them that this is what they do on American Idol. =3D20=
=3D

I also tell them to watch and listen for what part is a useful =3D20
critique, and what part is just a value judgment of I like it or I =3D20
don't like it.)

Of course schools set kids up for the question "Is this good?" by =3D20
telling them how to do everything. How to write their name on a paper, =3D2=
0=3D

how to fill out the worksheet the right way, what is good ditto =3D20
coloring etc. Then when they grow up, we want them to be creative and =3D20=
=3D

think on their own to solve problems.

My son's science teacher gave him a zero on a homework paper because =3D20
while he showed his work, and came up with the correct answers, he did =3D2=
0=3D

not arrive at the answers using the methodology his science teacher =3D20
specified for the class to use. What my kid learned through this is =3D20
"Don't think of a way to solve these problems on your own, just do it =3D20=
=3D

the way we tell you." His science textbook was hard for him to =3D20
understand, so when when I was working with him on this homework =3D20
assignment, we went online, found formulas to use to solve the =3D20
problems and then he figured out how to apply them. Note to self: do =3D20
not use real world problem solving skills at school unless directly =3D20
specified by your teacher. Don't think on your own, think how we tell =3D20=
=3D

you to think, so that you are quiet and can be assimilated.

John Post
Sterling Heights, Michigan

http://www.johnpost.us

### Randall Moody on wed 27 apr 11

Great post Mr. Post. The best critiques that I have seen on TV come from Ti=
m
Gunn on "Project Runway". He is always dead on and is so matter of fact tha=
t
he rarely if ever gets push back from an "offended" participant.

I can relate to your son's situation. I was the kid in math that could
always get the right answer but most often not in the way the teacher
wanted. I was also the one saying, "I'll give you a+b=3Dc, but WHY?" I foun=
d
out later from a friend with numerous PhD's in physics and astronomy that
the reason I got in trouble for that is because most times the algebra
teachers don't know why either. Geometry always just made sense to me.

--
Randall in Atlanta
http://wrandallmoody.com

On Tue, Apr 26, 2011 at 6:18 PM, John Post wrote=
:

> This is from a little while ago but seems related to the current discussi=
on
> on critiques...
>
> I recently discussed with my 4th - 6th grade students what a critique is.=
I
> had them come up to the dry erase board, choose any art work made by anot=
her
> student and critique it by discussing these three questions...
>
> What is working in the art work?
> What is not working in the art work?
> What advice would you give this artist to improve it?
>
> If you have watched any American Idol last season, this is why Ellen stin=
ks
> as a judge and critique. She always says whether or not she likes it. Tha=
t
> doesn't give the performer any useful information. (I mention this becaus=
e
> my students instantly understand what a critique is when I explain to the=
m
> that this is what they do on American Idol. I also tell them to watch and
> listen for what part is a useful critique, and what part is just a value
> judgment of I like it or I don't like it.)
>

--
Randall in Atlanta
http://wrandallmoody.com

### Susan Cline on wed 27 apr 11

Undoubtedly there are many fine teachers who are members of Clayart,
but I think all Clayart parents of young children should send them
for a summer of "Mr. Post Camp." What a gift to the kids and to the
profession this man is! Would that every child could be taught - at
least once, but more would be so much better - by someone as
dedicated and creative as John Post.

Sue Cline
Cincinnati, OH
On Apr 26, 2011, at 10:17 PM, Kathy Forer wrote:

> On Apr 26, 2011, at 6:18 PM, John Post wrote:
>
>> My son's science teacher gave him a zero on a homework paper
>> because while he showed his work, and came up with the correct
>> answers, he did not arrive at the answers using the methodology his
>> science teacher specified for the class to use. What my kid learned
>> through this is "Don't think of a way to solve these problems on
>> your own, just do it the way we tell you." His science textbook was
>> hard for him to understand, so when when I was working with him on
>> this homework assignment, we went online, found formulas to use to
>> solve the problems and then he figured out how to apply them. Note
>> to self: do not use real world problem solving skills at school
>> unless directly specified by your teacher. Don't think on your own,
>> think how we tell you to think, so that you are quiet and can be
>> assimilated.
>
> Reminds me of my seventh grade math teacher. She sewed her own
> clothes and wore reversible skirts. I think her glasses hung on a
> chain. She was totally involved and loved teaching geometry and
> though we loved her, we tried her patience, surely. She inspired me
> to elaborate geometric doodles and schema during class time, and one
> homework -- it must have been a Pythagorean proof -- to prove an
> equation in a way we hadn't learned but made sense to me. I probably
> hadn't paid attention in class so had missed the actual proof. It
> wasn't the answer but I'd made enough of an effort that she stayed
> with me after class several lunchtimes to see how we could make it
> work and to look at other possible solutions. It became fun and
> supplanted the doodling for a time. Knowing that an equation is
> creative freed me to play with the symbols on the paper and it
> became a challenge to make the proofs as simple and elegant as
> possible. Though Queen S left the school shortly after that, her
> insight and enthusiasm saw me well through Algebra and Calc I and
> (could it be?) II. I can't remember a thing about Calculus but what
> I was drawing or doodling is a basis for some of the underlying
> geometry in my art work today.
>
> I wish your son yet has a Mrs. Satterlee! How wasteful to inflict
> and then have to undo the bad that teachers (and I suppose parents
> and society) do to us!
>
>
> Kathy Forer
> foreverink.com

### Kathy Forer on wed 27 apr 11

Susan, I thought that just after I sent my post. How lucky of John's son =
=3D
to have him for a father! Kathy

On Apr 27, 2011, at 8:18 AM, Susan Cline wrote:

> What a gift to the kids and to the
> profession this man is! Would that every child could be taught - at
> least once, but more would be so much better - by someone as
> dedicated and creative as John Post.

### Kathy Forer on wed 27 apr 11

On Apr 26, 2011, at 6:18 PM, John Post wrote:

> She always says whether or not she likes it. That doesn't give the =3D
performer any useful information.=3D20

impressing the teacher or current artist/art critic, it's a closed loop =3D
system. What waste! As they say, "nothing will further."=3D20

Our likes and dislikes aren't static, they change or refine the more we =3D
see but the best way to approach anything new as new, fresh. We can't =3D
deny immediate like or dislike, as in "man that sucks," but we can =3D
perhaps ask why and challenge our nerve jerk responses. Follow the =3D
thread of a work to what it means (or why or how, or whatever is =3D
meaningful to you), you will of necessity leave behind your value =3D
judgments, though they will return and with that new image or object =3D
synthezised.=3D20

Kathy Forer
foreverink.com=3D

### Gayle Bair on wed 27 apr 11

In one of my first clay classes the instructor brought numerous mugs
from her collection and set them upon one of the tables.
Our assignment was to choose a mug and then duplicate it. As I arrived
late I had lost my chance to choose one of the "nice" ones.
I clearly didn't like it!
It was an excellent lesson! Not only did my skill improve but I came
to like and most of all respect that mug.
Now when I don't like something I generally take the time to figure out why=
=3D
.
I still reserve the right to say " man that sucks" but it's in
reference to my own work!!! That happens just before my work takes a
new direction..... Sometimes it happens right in the middle of a piece
I'm working on.
In college I experienced the "closed loop system " that John refered
to and it prompted changing majors in my junior year. It was
liberating and paved my way to what I am doing today!
It also made me tougher ..... I don't live for adulation or criticism.
Although the complements are nice I can survive without them. The "it
sucks" criticism is noted and I usually looks for the why but do not
fall into fixating on it.

John.... I'm placing an order for John Post clones enough to fill
every school.:-)
Your kids will remember you throughout their lives and more
importantly will use you as a standard for excellence in education.

Gayle Bair
www.claybair.com

On Wednesday, April 27, 2011, Kathy Forer wrote:
> On Apr 26, 2011, at 6:18 PM, John Post wrote:
>
>> She always says whether or not she likes it. That doesn't give the perfo=
=3D
rmer any useful information.
>
> And leads to cult of personality. Presenting work becomes about impressin=
=3D
g the teacher or current artist/art critic, it's a closed loop system. What=
=3D
waste! As they say, "nothing will further."
>
> Our likes and dislikes aren't static, they change or refine the more we s=
=3D
ee but the best way to approach anything new as new, fresh. We can't deny i=
=3D
mmediate like or dislike, as in "man that sucks," but we can perhaps ask wh=
=3D
y and challenge our nerve jerk responses. Follow the thread of a work to wh=
=3D
at it means (or why or how, or whatever is meaningful to you), you will of =
=3D
necessity leave behind your value judgments, though they will return and wi=
=3D
th that new image or object synthezised.
>
>
> Kathy Forer
> foreverink.com