TAB is a huge buzzword these days. I see it thrown around in many Facebook groups. But what is TAB exactly? TAB is an acronym for Teaching for Artistic Behavior. It is a philosophy that has three core values. It asks “What do Artists do?” It believes the child is the artist. And, it believes the art room is her/his studio. It is these three ideas that drive a TAB teacher’s curriculum…how they run their studio.
That brings me to my next topic, Modified TAB. This isn’t really a thing. A teacher either believes in the philosophy or doesn’t. They don’t really pick and choose which of the values they want to believe. What confuses people is the misunderstanding that being a TAB teacher means you are balls to the wall full choice, all day long. Like I said…this is a misconception of the philosophy. When running a TAB studio, no matter the level, there is a spectrum of choice. The amount of choice a teacher will allow has several variables.
- Campus/district expectations
- Some teachers are expected to do x, y, and z. And most of us do like to be in compliance.
- How “on board” a principal is with the change in the art program.
- Bootcamp vs studio time
- bootcamps are short amounts of time where the full class will explore a specific topic such as acrylic paints and color theory or copyright. Bootcamps should last a few days to a week tops. Studio time is where the students create their artwork.
- Needs of the child
- Each child is different in their learning styles and how comfortable they are with freedom. TAB is differentiation at its best.
- Have to’s
- There are certain things that teachers believe every student needs to know. This could be doing an attachment test to be able to use the sculpture center or biweekly drawing tests that have kids focus on the eye/brain/hand connection.
- Teacher comfortability with giving up control.
Basically, a TAB teacher utilitizes varying degrees of choice throughout the year, for various reasons. But, they don’t utilize varying degrees of the philosophy.
Teaching in a “TAB-like” way isn’t a thing, but using varying levels of choice is. You can offer choice without being TAB, but you can’t be TAB without offering choice. You are a TAB teacher or you are not. There is not a formula as to how to run a TAB studio. There are as many ways to run the studio as there are TAB teachers. That’s the beauty of it. Believe the philosophy and do what works for you, your population, and your admin…as long as you have student Artistic autonomy as a goal for your students.
For more information about Teaching for Artistic Behavior, visit teachingforartisticbehavior.org