Personal Reflection 4

Judy Chicago and an image from her Birth Project 1982

This week I have been working hard on my Judy Chicago presentation.  Quite honestly I did not know much about Chicago until I started to research her life and art.  She is a phenomenal inspiration and I feel so excited at the prospect of seeing her at NAEA this April.

Dr. Karen Keifer-Boyd

Karen Keifer-Boyd’s (2007) article From content to form: Judy Chicago’s pedagogy with reflections by Judy Chicago in Studies in Art Education was also very informative.  Keifer Boyd empathized Chicago’s teaching goals in exploring artistic process and promoting a balanced teacher-student relationship in student art critiques.  Chicago’s pedagogy encouraged the teacher to act as facilitator of discussions as opposed to the all knowing hierarchical leader.  Her classes are taught in a circle formation without desks or chairs so that participants can observe each other’s body language.  She encouraged silence in critiques to provoke thought that could lead to greater artistic reflection.

The Dinner Party, 1979

As an educator I very much wish all my classes could be taught this way.  In Taiwan many classrooms are structured with desks pointing to the front of the room where the teacher talks.  This discourages class participation and interaction which ultimately creates lower learning outcomes.

In the Shadow of the Handgun, 1983
When I first started teaching at Huafan I moved the classroom desks to be in a square formation so all students could have eye contact and engage in discussion.  The process was time consuming and awkward.  It was labor intensive to have to re-arrange sixty classroom desks and chairs each week.  In addition, this type facilitator-based of teaching style was unknown students who still expected the teacher to lead discussion.

It is always darkest before the dawn, 1999

Perhaps in the future art educators of all disciplines can adopt Chicago’s example in and create product focused pedagogy with a student-centered teaching style.


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