What Do You Do When You Don’t Know What to Do?

By Camille Tewell, Teacher Programs Manager, The Big Picture

Teachers from Davidson to Carteret County gathered at the NCMA on a recent Saturday to muse on problem solving with artist Jonathan Brilliant. We started the day by chewing on the question: What do you do when you don’t know what to do? What a universal problem! Who hasn’t faced this? Won’t each and every one or your students face this at some point their lives? How does one go about solving this problem?

Teachers approach this conundrum in a variety of ways. Here’s a sampling of responses from the workshop:

– conversation with others (whether taking their advice or not)

– research (Google! and books, too)

– movement (taking a walk; doing something physical to let the problem settle and clarify)

– prayer

– trial and error

– asking Mom; spouse

– giving the problem time to resolve itself

Inherent in creative processes are problems and solutions—of design, communication, expression, and technique, to name a few. Can making art make your students better problem solvers? Probably. Teachers worked in groups to solve a problem of design and engineering using the basic principles of sculpture. When asked to reflect on the skills involved in their solutions, they came up with a long list. Here’s a handful to consider:

– observation

– teamwork

– experimentation

– asking questions

– resourcefulness

– listening

– creativity

– humor

– openmindedness to possibility

– flexibility

– timekeeping

Are these skills you want your students to have? NCMA workshops serve up fresh ideas for integrating art into all subjects to nurture the next generation of innovative problem solvers. Come join us!

%d bloggers like this: