You want it…how?

Shipka had me from the moment she mentioned “visual literacy.” I think I am a multi-modal poster child. I teach with John Cage, with Yoko Ono, with Gothic sculpture… I won’t go into much detail here, except to say that there is a legit, super-simple script I learned from big poo-bah sociologists in the Education Dept at MoMA that will get your students talking super fast. And I am happy to teach it to you when we meet.

Thing is: you need to be really visually literate yourself before you can explain to students just what the heck it is they learned about “English” and “writing” — and you have to think on your feet to do it. The next day, after a particularly weird Jackson Pollock-prompted assignment with a summer section of Remedial Reading, I asked the students if they found it helpful. About half the class said “very”; the other half shrugged.

The Shipka reading was totally exciting — and problematic.

She says: In this essay, I look to theories of goal-oriented activity as a w reconceptualizing production, delivery, and reception in the composition classroom…” and those goals include “…demonstrate an enhanced awareness of the affordances provide media they employ in service of those goals; (2) successfully contextualizing, structuring, and realizing the production distribution, delivery, and reception of their work; and (3) to negotiate the range of communicative contexts they encounter…”

I don’t think that “goals” work with such open-ended activities. If you want creativity, you better be ready to get it. In any form. Most museum education departments are guilty of fostering the creation of a whole lot of bad art in service of getting the public to be creative.



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