I get to teach a class in video editing, ART139. It’s called art video because it’s in the Art Department and that’s what my degree is in. That’s right, I majored in art and still found gainful employment, so there.
Teaching is hard – ask a teacher. The hardest part for me is not in the doing of the teaching, though, but in the judging and grading and deciding who wins and who wins less. I want them all to be stellar. In their own way, of course, they are. In the arena of educational achievement, however, fulfilling the assignments is the game. I generally allow a huge range of creative possibility within each project, ringed by a common theme, a limit on total duration, and other overall details such as adding credits, etc.
Despite the wide latitude, sometimes students go off on tangents that are wide of the mark. And even when the work is pretty good, if it veers outside the outcomes, it’s not going to pass. That’s that. Teachers with more experience may have hardened to this routine, but my skin is thin and callouses are still in the development stage. I use words carefully designed to project criticism with the softest blow. Some blow softer than others.
This was my response to a student who knew that their project was out of the assignment bounds, but felt they didn’t want to work within those limits.
-That’s the right attitude; live your artistic freedom.
The danger in not having constraints is that it often leads to artistic ‘ruts’, where one does only what comes easily.
Anytime you are working with the external world, i.e. other people, boundaries emerge. If you choose to engage that world in school, business, and so forth, the challenge is compromising to fulfill a shared goal. Growth happens within those constraints, sometimes painfully, but usually creatively.
“Life is about living with limitations and constraints of one type or another, but constraints are not necessarily bad, in fact, they are often helpful, even inspiring as they challenge us to think differently and more creatively about a particular problem.”
I’m thinking a lot about this sticky area of assessment. What do you think about measuring creativity?