"Assemblage" is the 3-D version of "collage”. "Found object fragments," "discards," or "throwaways" (artist's work to look at: Schwitters, Cornell, Rauschenberg, Bearden, etc.).

These things are organized by their specific elements. The resulting groups are then arranged into compositions of art.

Extending to many cultures of people living in family, religious, work, and various other groups; We could be viewed as a complex living version of "assemblage”(Webster 1. a group of persons or things gathered or collected).

We have “found” each other by chance; either by blood, common goals, or a certain chemistry. These connections help to formulate new ideas, innovations, and even new generations. John Anderson

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Empowering Students to Learn: My Confession Part II:

“...the paradox of the epidemic: create one contagious movement, you often have to create many small movements first.” 
― Malcolm GladwellThe Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

“If you’ve ever salsa danced with Chewbacca, then you have a pretty good idea of what it’s like to plow expeditiously through a turn inside Lamborgini’s latest V-12 supercar, the Aventador…” Fun at 200 MPH, by David Undercoffler. Chicago Tribune, Rides section July 8, 2012

At the start of my high school teaching career, I was a “control freak.” I was in charge and new my subject well. Students had to approach my level of excellence; and they worked very hard to please me. 

The students left for the summer. They also left their projects on the table. They worked for me, produced my work and learned little about decision making.

My new goal was for them to achieve their goals as well as mine. A beginning foundation series of projects achieved during the first half of the semester was presented for them to acquire independence leading to a personally chosen final project. These building blocks of skills were needed later to express their own ideas. They bought it and raced through the main course to have their desert.

It was difficult for me to teach even one unfamiliar and challenging technical process by myself to 22 to 27 students in 50 minutes. Luckily, 5 to 7 advanced students were willing and empowered to help teach. Learning from each other, beginners left class on the first day of school with a soldered and polished ring on their finger. They were fired up. They showed their ring to friends in school; and at home when asked “How was your first day of school?” Not...”my teachers talked all period about rules and regulations”...”it was boring!”
In his article “Fun at 200 MPH”, David Undercoffler writes about the Lamborghini Aventador, Bugatti Veyron, and the McLaren MP4-12C. These are obviously fantasy dream cars for 99% of us. The opportunity to even sit in one is remote. The fact that these cars are man-made works of art; awesome; impressive; and mind-blowing beautiful; gives students an idea of expectations for their art. At least they can understand how pleased they would be to hear such adjectives about their completed projects.

At 200 mph, Mr. Undercoffler writes... “Outside, the landscape moves past you and the horizon toward you with an ethereal alacrity that’s similar to rushing out of a dream.” (Students, don’t try this with your car.) Then he explains what is needed to achieve this speed...”transmissions that shift in milliseconds”...”brake rotors the size of large pizzas”...”carbon fiber passenger cells”...”aerodynamic down force that would hold an elephant to an ice rink”...”and engines [with] four turbochargers putting out 1000 horsepower.” 

Descriptives like “works of art; awesome; impressive; and mind-blowing beautiful” don’t come easy. Each element required to achieve these dream cars involves years of teams of experts drawing plans and experimenting with various materials. This ongoing process produces continuos changes for improvement.
Students want to play it safe; they can’t accept failure; and they want it finished now. They don’t know what you know. You have to bring them up to speed by slowing down and riding with them for a while until they feel comfortable with you. They want your approval and acceptance of what they can already do in the beginning, but it won’t last, because tomorrow they must do something better. They need time, your encouragement, and knowledge to get it right. Share with them the “Aventador” of your passion. You will never bring them to your level in one semester or even four years of high school; but you can light the “Veyron” fire in their hearts for further exploration and “life-long-learning”.

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