Exploratory Arts class teaches students decision making skills


Lyla Ibrahim

Sixth grade dance majors, Sophia Curbelo and Katelyn Sadorf, and sixth grade strings major Mattia Pregadio discuss what they are doing for their chair dance project. The Exploratory Arts class exposed students to artistic elements to help students create collaborative works.

Incoming sixth graders at school were required to take the exploration arts or research and decision making. This required class gave students exposure to all arts as well as critical thinking skills.
“Students need to learn to be creative problem solvers and work in teams so they can become successful once they enter the work force,” Sandra Tepper, exploratory arts teacher, said.
The exploration arts class was about learning how to solve problems with creative projects. It also taught how to work together for these projects. Glenn Barefoot, exploratory arts teacher, said that the class was based off a Stanford University class with modifications.
“It makes student learn and think on their feet, instead of using a textbook. I try to teach kids how to think about what they are thinking,” Barefoot said.
Barefoot’s class dealt with models and prototypes and was “more literal and hands on.” Tepper’s exploration arts class featured short performances that students do to, “learn how to discover and problem solve in the moment.”
“We use critique and revision to learn to look at art in a critical way,” Tepper said.
Many incoming students were not used to the class. Sixth grade theater major, Mariah Waters, considered herself independent and less likely to work in groups well. But, with the exploratory arts class, she learned to work with others on creative projects.
“Students are used to working in very traditional settings, where they have to have the right answer to everything,” Tepper said, “The process matters more than the outcome because that’s how an artist makes discoveries.”