How do we teach art? What is the criteria for a good piece of art work and who
determines that? How does a good art teacher inspire a child to find their own personal creativity? How does a good art teacher inspire a child without inhibiting the possible realms of their personal creativity? All of these are extremely important questions that Elwyn S. Richardson explores in her book In The Early World, Discovering Arts Though Crafts. Richardson addresses these issues and put her answers to these questions into practice inside her own art classroom. In her own account of the process of her students' artistic developments, she explains about a number of things that she believes to be the fundamentals of a healthy and non-inhibiting artistic learning experience.
Creating and maintaining such an open and progressive learning atmosphere is not only extremely difficult but also imperative to the full development of a child's creative possibilities. It is scarily easy for teachers to fall back on the pre-existing templates for teaching art especially. However, doing so is disastrous to the full development because it leaves so much room for the student to also fall back on such templates which then denies creativity and individualism. Another problem that a teacher is faced with is the fact that fear of rejection and laziness are so embedded into out society that a child's natural instinct is to use these templates for creativity because they know they are at least accepted, even if they are "cliche . Richardson's teaching experience must then be a balancing act where she must juggle trying to inspire new forms of creativity while also not inhibiting the child by being to harsh with constructive criticism. Richardson does a wonderful job of trying to address all of the issues that are encountered when one is trying to teach a real art class.
Some of the most important points she addresses are using nature study as a source of