|Educators share tips and resources for Ceramics in Education|
|Written by Susan Reed|
|Thursday, 17 May 2012 09:24|
Creating great experiences for students through interdisciplinary collaboration, creative resource management, and community involvement was the theme of the night at the American Museum of Ceramic Art’s annual Educator’s Night on May 12th. Every year AMOCA hosts an Educator’s Night, inviting instructors from local high schools and colleges to a lecture on an education-related theme. This year featured Stacey Kalkowski (UCLA & OCHSA), Betty Harrison (Elsinore High School), and Angie Reyes (AMOCA). The presentation was concluded by museum director Christy Johnson.
Kalkowski’s presentation focused on the ways in which she integrates her student’s major studies and cultural interests into ceramic projects, promoting increased technical skills while also learning new ways of self expression. She highlighted cross-disciplinary approaches such as working with literature, for example, where students can use the written word as inspiration for ceramic art themes.
Harrison’s presentation covered creative ways to stretch existing resources. She uses found and recycled objects in order to supply her classroom with the basic tools necessary for a ceramic course. Working with a budget that barely covers the cost of clay, Harrison showed examples of her tool kit and explained her use of free, low cost, and recycled items such as pen casings, dowels, paint stir-sticks and toothpicks to create entry-level -quality clay tools. She also shared the techniques that she has implemented to track and retain tools, adding comments on what has worked and what has not.
Reyes, the mentor for AMOCA’s portion of Pomona’s recent high school Cultural Pride public art project, spoke about the importance of collaboration between community organizations and schools in order to expose students to new experiences. Most heart-warming was her description of the ways in which the participants in the Cultural Pride project had the opportunity to form friendships and connections outside the normal age and peer groups existing in their school environments. This interaction contributed to student comfort, establishing AMOCA a “safe” place for freedom of expression.
Johnson concluded the evening by tying the research done by Dr. Billie Session on the pedagogy of high school ceramics instruction to AMOCA’s current exhibit, kilnopening.edu, She gave several examples of work in the show that illustrate Sessions’ theory of contextual-domain teaching. Johnson spoke briefly about the upcoming Patty Warashina: Wit & Wisdom exhibition. Those present were given printed materials and samples of Harrison’s classroom clay tools