Article excerpt

As a self-professed obsessive-compulsive, I'm a great believer in structure. Yet I think of the approach I take to teaching as "freedom within structure"--setting up an art problem and then encouraging multiple creative solutions.

As art teachers, we deal with structures of all kinds--the mundane (daily and weekly class schedule, the school calendar, the district-required lesson plan format), the literal (form, sculpture, architecture), and the conceptual (teaching philosophy, scope, and sequence).

Hopefully all the aspects of structure are found in our artrooms, but I receive many more manuscript submissions that focus on two-dimensional concepts rather than three-dimensional ones. If you are unsure of where to start in teaching structure, you might look to art history.

For example, in Ireland several years ago, I was intrigued by the ancient structures found there, structures still not covered in most art history texts. Thanks to the Internet, we no longer have to rely solely on such sources. Research on the Internet before the trip made us aware of the significance of several ancient structures and directed our travels. …