This post is just about a personal experience with teaching and learning.


The big issue for schools right now is the how to have school in the middle – hopefully not the beginning – of a pandemic.

This is a failure mainly on the part of Trump.

It is also a failure of leadership on many levels to have a coherent response to the pandemic for our schools

The issue for schools is all about in or out.

It didn’t have to go this way.

Because of the stupidity, ineptitude and greed of our country’s leaders, out has become the only safe choice for most schools, teachers, staff and students, even as Trump and DeVos call for across the board in school learning.

But this post is not about that.

I wanted to write a few words about a personal experience with my own teaching and learning.

For the past year I have been working with a constantly changing cohort of people who draw. It’s not exactly a class. And it is a class. We have a teacher. She’s not exactly a teacher. Unlike school, everyone has chosen to be a part of it and engage at the level they desire.

I joined a year ago with meet ups in the galleries of the Art Institute of Chicago. Since the pandemic arrived we have been meeting remotely

I’ve seen my drawing skills dramatically improve, especially since the pandemic has forced us to meet and work remotely, with email prompts and posts of finished work on a closed Facebook page.

I would say that the situation for us is better than actual meet-ups.

I want to emphasize. This is NOT an endorsement of remote instruction as an effective way to teach Art or teach anything else. It is only reflecting on this single experience.

Our facilitator provides the prompts each week. The participants have a range of talent, experience and skill.

No matter.

We post our work on our Facebook page and she and the the others respond almost entirely with praise and a few suggestions.

Prompts, practice, praise and a place to show our work.

I don’t want to say it is an  “instructional model.”

It works for us.

I hope that one day soon we won’t have to be totally consumed by debates that are about how to keep our teachers and students safe and alive while trying to teach and learn as best they can in the middle of a deadly pandemic.

And we can talk again about teaching and learning, maybe in new ways, without the constraints of the current situation.

With adequate and equitable funding and support.

Maybe learning through prompts, practice, praise and a place to show work is something we can talk about.


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