• Teaching for Artistic Behavior (TAB) / Choice Art Education

    In our class, the students are the artists. We explore what artists do through 8 Studio Habits of Mind (Harvard Project Zero). TAB/Choice-Based Art Education and the Studio Habits of Mind are research based models that give children ample opportunities to practice the art of producing instead of consuming.

    What Does a TAB Studio Look Like?

    Students are regarded as artists.

    Students learn about art and the art world by assuming the role of artist and their own learning. They practice coming up with art problems to solve, asking questions and seeing possibilities in the world around them. Students learn to persevere through difficulties as well as to trust themselves and their own judgment while simultaneously becoming self-directed, and organized.

    Students choose what to work on.

    ​Students learn best and work harder when they are excited by what they are working on. And when they design their own work, they understand why they are doing what they are doing and engage much more deeply with their learning.

    Classes begin with a short demonstration or a discussion to inspire new ideas.

    Students participate in the day’s demonstration. Some follow the teacher’s lead and try the new idea. Others observe the demonstration, filing the information away for when they need it, and then work on an idea that they came to class with or continue to work on a piece from another class period. Still others experiment with materials to see what ideas they will lead to.

    Teaching for artistic behaviors with choices creates a nurturing community of artists.

    When everyone is working on different things, there is less of a tendency to compare oneself to others. Students not only feel safe to find their own ways of expressing ideas and investigating art problems but also celebrate each other’s achievements.  Students coach each other, discuss artwork, share materials, and often choose to work with friends and classmates on particular projects.

    Developmentally appropriate work and differentiation occur regularly.

    TAB classrooms are highly structured environments. Students scaffold their own learning, sometimes going deeply into specific subjects or media.  They work at their own pace, following their own lines of inquiry, and develop skills as they need them. Because everyone is involved in their own self-directed work the teacher is available to work individually or in small groups to differentiate for the diverse needs of students.

    Students determine the purposes for their work.

    Not every piece can or should be a masterpiece.  In the same way that musicians and athletes practice, artists experiment and practice to learn from their work. Sometimes students practice to improve skills, or make a quick object or gift to take home that day, or pursue a work over many weeks. Exhibition offers students, like all artists, the opportunity to reach a wider audience with their artwork.

    Students learn to reflect on their work.

    Students learn to look closely at their work, ask questions, and evaluate it to decide when it is complete.  They learn how to talk about their work with others and to write about their work for artist statements that accompany their display pieces.


    Resources to Learn More:

    TAB (Teaching for Artistic Behavior) Website