Value is such a tiny word but has such big implications.

For instance, you can value intrinsic things like perseverance or kindness or your could value material things like a new iPad.  So let’s do a little experiment: I’d like you to pause for a moment and explore the term value on your own.  Try going to www.visualthesaurus.com and search the word value.  Then, follow these steps:

  • Type/write out a complete list of words that are synonymous with the term value as well as the definitions that are key to you for this term.
  • Using this list as a reference, compile a list of things that YOU value.  Create your own personal meaning.  Place this list directly below your definitions list.
  • Looking at these two lists, answer this question for yourself:

“Is the creative process itself the art, or is all value embodied in the finished work?”

This mini-activity should have sparked some interesting personal reflections for you to ponder in terms of what and how you value creativity, student work, and your own systems of beliefs.  One of the most difficult parts of both Common Core and Arts Integration is the shift of focus from products to processes.  We have been swimming in a culture of accountability through products for so long that the processes have almost vanished.  We are so concerned with how the students do on “the test”, that we do not spend enough time on the process for getting to that product.  After all, where is the time?

One of the true revolutions of Common Core State Standards is that they truly focus on the processes of learning and manipulating the information.  Yes, there are still products that need to be assessed and there should be.  However, the emphasis now lies in the process of getting to those products because if a student understands the process, they can solve any number of problems that arise – not just number four on the State Test.

This is also why Arts Integration ties in so nicely with Common Core.

The Arts have always had a focus on the process of creation.  In the end, the product that you produce, be it a painting or a piece of music, will always be judged as the culmination of your work.  However, without an understanding of the processes involved in creating that work, nothing new can ever arise.  And the Arts are all about creating something innovative and new that has never been seen before.  Therefore, if we use the processes of the Arts as a pathway to teach the processes in math, reading, science, social studies or writing, we are making natural connections that make learning more meaningful for our students.

Think back to your answer for that reflection question: “Is the creative process itself the art, or is all value embodied in the finished work?” and look at that now through the lens of an artist.  How do you think they would respond?  How does that relate to how you responded as a teacher or administrator?  Artists go through this struggle all the time, because value is determined through so many different factors.

I’d like you to take a moment to view the presentation where this quote comes from:

http://prezi.com/hwz6wvj0gwnd/exploring-the-value-in-art-process-vs-product-dichotomy/

When you get there, hover over the right hand side of the presentation and you’ll see the word “more”.  Click this and then select “Full Screen”.  From there, click the play button to move through the Prezi.

As you move through the Prezi, reflect upon:

  • The questions that are posed and your personal opinion about the answers.
  • How this relates to Common Core State Standards
  • The “uncomfortableness” of subjectivity and the classroom
Let’s start a conversation about our values and where our focus should be in the classroom as we move towards the future of education.  I’m interested to hear your thoughts!