The Art of Possibility, by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander
Chapter 1 – It’s all invented
As a photographer, I have been so trained to look at photographs and interpret
them that it came as quite a curiosity that people who have never seen a photo cannot read or understand what they are looking at. Our experiences and training create what we see as well as what we think. I must remember this when I teach. Instead of showing frustration or impatience, I should take the time to understand what my students are thinking and seeing.
Chapter 2 – Stepping into a Universe of Possibilities
I teach photography. I teach theory and I teach composition or how to look at the world. Some students do well in theory, but have difficulty with looking at the world. Others can’t handle theory, but make great pictures. My problem has always been how to grade fairly. I wish that I could just give them a acceptable or unacceptable grade for the entire course, but my school will not let me do that. After all, I have to assign a grade that will give them a class standing. They are, after all competing against their fellow students. The possibility of helping them learn to see is what keeps me excited about my class. I only wish the grades weren’t more important to everyone else.
Chapter 3 – Giving an A
I had a meeting with a parent. It seems his daughter; my student received a low grade from me. It was a trend with her that every grading period, her grade went down. I knew that he came down hard on her and in defense; she blamed me for all her problems. The truth was, as the class got more involved, she spent less time on the assignments. I really felt sorry for the girl. All her father wanted was a high grade. He could care less if she learned anything. I have often wished I could get my students to worry less about a grade and more about what they are learning. They just don’t seem to understand that good grades will follow learning.
Chapter 4 – Being a Contribution
This was my favorite chapter so far. I really want my students to feel that if they contribute to my class, then right or wrong, they are doing what I want them to do. It is much more difficult to contribute, than to hide in the wings and watch others. Working with teenagers has proven that the most difficult thing to do is to make them understand the value of contributing.