I attended a Smithsonian American Art Museum Teacher Workshop because I liked the exhibition, Georgia O’Keefe and Ansel Adams: Natural Affinities. However, fifteen years later, I remember the writing advice more than the art. Whether your children have writing assignments, or you have reports, the following might be helpful.
Smithsonian workshop participants were given MP3 players for classroom use—cheap ones but still a free toy—and told to replicate an experiment in a Bethesda school. Those students wrote about works of art, recorded their work, listened, rewrote, and rerecorded. The steps were repeated until the students were satisfied with their quasi podcasts.
The Smithsonian employee in charge thought it was “educational bubblegum,” and therefore, was surprised with the process and the results. Students heard mistakes that they missed when they read their work. This was especially true when a word was overused. By listening, students also quickly realized when more explanation was needed.
The school emphasized working in groups. One interesting result was that students were more willing to offer helpful advice when they listened to a peer’s work compared to reading a peer’s work. I wonder if it’s because listening is slower than reading.
Have you received unusual academic advice?