This is going to be a controversial blog post, so dear blog readers, if I offend you I apologize. While it's not my intent to offend, I do feel an obligation to be honest to my readers, and you should know I've given this post quite a bit of thought before putting fingers to the keyboard. So here goes. If I lose readers, so be it. But I am discussing the idea of the No-No board, not the quality of the teacher who uses it. I have seen some marvelously creative and original work posted by teachers who also posted No-No's, so what I am expressing is simply a difference of opinion. Here goes, unfortunately at length:
Some of you have posted about the No-No boards in your rooms, to show unacceptable art practices. The No-No's listed on these boards generally included suns with faces, stick figures, "V" shaped birds, lollipop or broccoli style trees, blue clouds, suns in corners, etc. You can see by the image on the window shade in my art room above (which I created with yellow contact paper and some acrylic paint)that I have a little problem being told "no suns with faces". Oops. And then there is the beautiful Klee painting above, with, yes, stick figures! And this morning, driving to school, I saw birds at a distance in the sky that looked like... drumroll.... letter V's!!! And the clouds in the sky were not white, (and the sky was not blue). Both the clouds AND sky were tints and shades of blues, pinks, grays; just lovely. (My childhood name for this cloud color is "sky-blue-pink".)
SO. The No-No was a new concept for me, so I mulled it over for a while, and then sent an email to other teachers in my district to ask if they'd heard of the No-No board and to solicit their thoughts and opinions on the concept. I considered that they would tell me I was totally out in left field, in which case I would have re-considered my own gut instincts. But that's not what happened. I almost immediately received 1/2 dozen email responses and several more verbal responses, all opposed to the concept. None had ever seen or heard of a No-No board, and none approved. Since nobody was familiar with the concept, I wonder if the No-No is a regional practice perhaps? Did it come from education classes or professional development in a certain part of the country? If you know, please tell me!
Anyhow, I tried to copy and paste all their responses here, but I can't figure out a way to do this, so instead I'll just pick a few quotes to re-type here:
- "please don't censor kids' art."
- "There's altogether too much negativity in the world already. Don't pollute the art room."
- "I hope we're beyond the no no philosophy in education as a whole, not just in art."
- "I think we should encourage children, not discourage them."
- "I much prefer your (referring to me) developmental and positive approach to art."
- "I have seen stick figures in published literature illustrations. (This response went on to discuss faces in suns and moons appearing in Native American and other multicultural literature etc.)"
- And several emails contained comments about developmental growth, and the appropriateness of drawing "circles with sticks" to represent people (as a developmental step), and developmentally appropriate expectations.
- Finally, people questioned the concept of posting images of what we DON'T want to see, and suggested as a positive alternative: a "YES-YES Board". (YES: use your imagination; try your best; be courageous; try new things, use your time wisely, make mistakes, look, .... you get the idea, right?)