I posted this meme from the Badass Teachers Association three years ago and it is still relevant. When their school work is all externally driven, teacher controlled and directed, children lose all sense of what motivates them.
Just imagine how these so-called “high standards” might impact a five-year-old with poor motor skills?
I find myself reacting with an inner cringe when I see a child, age six or seven, fill in the sky instead of using a skyline and ground line as most young children do without prompting. Here are some paintings from my classroom this year. Note the playful brushstrokes and mixed colors.
Why has conformity become expected? Since when did a child’s drawing become subject to such scrutiny? Has anyone reflected on what this is doing to a child’s sense of autonomy, their sense of creativity, their sense of wonder? Choice-based art teaching and learning, or TAB–Teaching for Artistic Behavior, is a counter-point to this mindless push to make all children conform to arbitrary standards.
We must do more to advocate for the child, their right to self-expression, no matter what form it takes.