Harvard’s Studio Habits of Mind

The human eye can see 60 frames in one second.Think how much information we’d take in if we looked at things again or from a different angle.

I currently teach for a school in St. Louis that is going through the National accreditation process- a big honor for all of us and our many thousands of students! It is such a point of pride to be affiliated with a place that serves the arts to the community with such quality, outreach, and innovation. The teachers and staff work so hard to think ‘outside-the box’ in approaches to the students that enter our classrooms and what happens inside of them, making lessons more interesting and enriching for our diverse student population.

We had a faculty meeting the other night and discussed something that I think is worth sharing for any teacher but especially anyone who works in the arts; it is called the Studio Habits of Mind (SHoM).

This framework was developed by Project Zero– a team of educational researchers from the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University.

Studio Thinking Framework
Eight Habits of Mind

Develop Craft Photo Develop Craft

Learning to use and care for tools (e.g., viewfinders, brushes), materials (e.g., charcoal, paint). Learning artistic conventions (e.g., perspective, color mixing).
Engage & Persist Photo Engage & PersistLearning to embrace problems of relevance within the art world and/or of personal importance, to develop focus and other mental states conducive to working and persevering at art tasks.
Envision Photo EnvisionLearning to picture mentally what cannot be directly observed and imagine possible next steps in making a piece.
Express Photo ExpressLearning to create works that convey an idea, a feeling, or a personal meaning.
Observe Photo ObserveLearning to attend to visual contexts more closely than ordinary “looking” requires, and thereby to see things that otherwise might not be seen.
Reflect Photo ReflectQuestion & Explain: Learning to think and talk with others about an aspect of one’s work or working process.

Evaluate: Learning to judge one’s own work and working process and the work of others in relation to standards of the: field.

Stretch & Explore Photo Stretch & ExploreLearning to reach beyond one’s capacities, to explore playfully without a preconceived plan, and to embrace the opportunity to learn from mistakes and accidents.
Understand Art World Understand Art WorldDomain: Learning about art history and current practice.

Communities: Learning to interact as an artist with other artists (i.e., in classrooms, in local arts organizations, and across the art field) and within the broader society.

During our meeting, we broke into groups to bounce around ideas in ways we could implement each emphasis into general teaching as well as specific lessons. As predominantly a dance teacher, things like ‘observe‘ and ‘reflect‘ are pretty self-explanatory: tell students that the mirror is there for the reason of self-correction and to observe the demonstrator (if you have one) or fellow students when split into groups to catch things done well, and then try to do so themselves. Understanding can be increased by using music from famous ballets and asking students if they can identify where the music comes from, the composer, etc. Express and Envision are I think, the hardest to teach. As much as you can tell students to imagine themselves in a glorious costume, ona huge stage, as a character, etc. this comes naturally to some and it’s like pulling teeth with others. teaching technique is one thing, teaching performance is another. You know the ones I’m talking about- those shy kids that you have to shout ‘SMILE!’ at every five seconds because you would guess from the look on their face that they’re being slowly roasted over a fire rather than flitting about to music.

I love this framework because it helps me broaden the ways I communicate information so that I can challenge and encourage students to make them not only more succesful, but enjoy the process more.  For more info, on Project Zero click here

I’m also enrolled to take a 3 day seminar course focusing on the Vaganova syllabus for the teaching of ballet. Yes, I did in fact earn a BA in Dance Pedagogy with a double emphasis on ballet and jazz, but I love refreshing the knowledge and picking up tips and tricks from other teachers.

Anyways, while we’re on the subject of ‘thinking-outside-the-box’ or a second or more in-depth look or what-have-you, look at this junk I found! I love it!

Photos found via one of my Favorite sites  Honestly..WTF

Also of note and further nerdiness, apparently all of ‘The Hobbit’ is being shot in 3d! They are using about 16 cameras called ‘red epics’ with some kind of mirror device to create the effect, as well as using twice the usual amount of ‘frames per second- 48 instead of 24 so it’s much closer to our natural 60) The art designers even did sketches in 3D to show director Peter Jackson how it would look when he shoots it- a feat accomplished by placing two incredible artists side-by-side who draw while wearing the weird red and blue glasses. I don’t understand what the purpose of the two colors are. I thought that the reason we could see in 3D was the space between our eyes giving us depth-perception, which a camera (with it’s single lens) does not capture. Two eyes are better than one!

A lot of things are worth a  second look, like how I can improve my lesson plans with the SFoM, going over the information that I maybe learned and have forgotten or just flat-out missed in college, and maybe this video that explains the camera-usage for the Hobbit since I didn’t pick up the purpose for the glasses. Or if someone wants to clue me in two heads are better than one!

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