With each photo I take with my cell phone, I spend more and more time thinking about how to frame the picture I see. I’ve learned that using the zoom feature on my phone helps me see the object clearly in the moment, but degrades the quality of the photograph when I go to edit. I can reframe in the editing process, pulling the image in closer, eliminating some of the background noise. If I shoot too “big” I often find myself with a nondescript landscape. Finding some kind of focal point makes the photo more interesting–and often evokes the curiosity of viewers.
This article in the New York Times on July 2, 2013 also has me thinking about frames and framing. The author plans an outing for his 6 year old nephew based on both his budget and his nephew’s interests and personality. A focus on Grady’s interest in art and low-key, meandering pace in life creates a day filled with drawing and art museums punctuated with opportunities for Grady to interact with working artists, study a variety of art forms, and enjoy a leisurely day with his uncle. Framed in another way, Grady could have been disenfranchised, alienated by having to hurry here and there without the time to study and try out what he found interesting along the way. Uncle Seth’s focus created spaces for Grady’s curiosity to blossom.
This has me thinking about ways I can use this idea of framing in my classroom and in my work with teachers, foregrounding student interests while keeping the skills and processes needed for learning success in mind. I’m wanting each of my students to feel like Grady did on his outing with his uncle: like learning is what you do when you’re enjoying what interests you. That’s what happening with my photography. I’m learning as I play around–and through connections with others with a wide variety of interests and skills that relate to what I am doing. My photography (and the photos themselves) are not framed in a permanent shape with a single focus, I am continually exploring frames and how they work with the images and ideas for each shot.
School curriculum often feels like it exists in the noun “frame” rather than used flexibly with the verb “frame”–ignoring students’ strengths, challenges, and existing interests and knowledge. Does the frame/framing metaphor work for teaching and learning? I’d love to know what you think!