Teaching to See: The Value of Iteration

Yesterday began our August photo-a-day challenge at #sdawpphotovoices with a focus on design elements…beginning with symmetry.  Anna over at #clmooc posted this video about Inge Druckrey, a graphic designer and teacher, saying she thought I would appreciate it.  And she’s right.  It is about 40 minutes long (a pretty long video for me to watch!), but interesting on many levels.

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/45232468″>Inge Druckrey: Teaching to See</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/et”>Edward Tufte</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

The idea of teaching to see seems to be a theme of mine since I began this blog almost a month ago.  Photography has proven to be a tool that has helped me see and look at my world in some more intentional ways.

A focus on symmetry has been challenging for the past two days.  Neither of my pictures

photo-3

photo-2

quite captures symmetry to my liking…although I’m not sure I know what that picture will be. The beauty of exploring a concept over a week is that I begin to see it differently as I continue to look for opportunities to capture that idea in my photos.

While Inge didn’t use these precise words, the focus on iteration (which we call revision in the writing world) as a way to improve your craft continues to leave me thinking about my classroom and my own learning.  It also takes me back to Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours as the time needed to gain mastery of something.  And whether that number is right or not, I do believe that we get better at things as we practice them.  But don’t get me wrong…I don’t think we need to drudge through rote and boring practice to achieve our learning goals.  For me, passion is key–finding ways to get excited about learning something new, and to make the practice interesting and motivating–iteration for authentic and meaningful reasons.  One of Inge’s students (now a professional artist) described his weekly practice of figural drawing for three hours every Friday.  He talked about it still being hard, but worthwhile–said he didn’t go to church, but he continues to keep up his practice of weekly drawing practice.

Both my photography and blogging are like that.  They are practices that require effort and time…and I enjoy the practice and the effort because I can feel myself learning and growing.  I want this for my students too–for them to develop practices that support their own learning goals.  I’ll be thinking about this as the new school year begins.  What learning practices are you considering for yourself and your students as the new school year begins?

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