Teaching for Artistic Behavior

  • Artistic Behaviors
  • Similar Approaches
  • Assessment
  • Relationships and Communication
  • Resources
  • Evaluation

Teaching for Artistic Behavior

After some research into teaching approaches, I’ve found that Teaching for Artistic Behavior, aka TAB, is one I’d like to apply in my own future classroom.

TAB is for starters is a very student-centered approach. The teacher and students are thought of as equals, with the teacher being more like a facilitator or guide and allows the students to have a lot of freedom and control over their educational experience. But in this case students are also responsible for self-directing their learning and putting in the effort, just into their own interests and goals.

Artist Behaviors

As in the name, this teaching approach focuses on teaching the behaviors and skills that most artists develop. These include practice, persistence, critical thinking, problem solving, observation of processes, reflecting, evaluating outcomes and progress, planning ahead based on those outcomes and reflections, accepting that sometimes you won’t know where you’re going, and above all, making and expressing the things that matter to them. This puts a lot more emphasis on the process of making and experiencing the art rather than making some nice-looking piece. Making art IS a process and can involve a lot of scrapped rough drafts and disliked attempts so, in being a class focused on artist behaviors, this teaching approach reflects that.

Similar Approaches

The TAB approach is a lot like the constructivist approach in my last post in that the TAB approach is very student-centered and puts a lot of emphasis on students actively learning through making art on their own and experimenting and actively practicing with the process and material interactions. And, in making their own art that is important to the student artist, TAB is very focused on the student making their own interpretations and meanings from the experience. Each artist has their own little favorite art approaches, strategies, mediums, and tricks so while the teacher will likely demonstrate basic materials and strategies, it’s still up to the student to make those their own.

TAB is also very similar to another approach known as Inquiry-based education. In this approach, the teacher is also a facilitator focusing on guiding the student through exploring and researching their own interests. Research and thinking strategies might be taught but mostly the teacher would do things like checking student work for research errors or asking prompting questions to think or search further in some relevant direction, and giving suggestions for things that the student might not know about but would benefit them. In TAB, the teacher would do these things as well and give feedback and inspirational suggestions to the students based on their interests, goals, and ideas. Overall, both focus on the student deciding what they want to do and asking their own questions to explore.


In this approach, assessments would probably include self-reflections or other reflective writings to understand student thoughts and processes and ideas in more depth, and critiques to give feedback to the student on their work, and discussions to understand their ideas but also share ideas and maybe gain new ideas from peers for further inspiration. Regardless, the grade would be applied to the observed efforts and growth and processes rather than the finished product which also puts less stress on the student and encourages them more to just try their best.

Relationships and communication

With the approach being process-based, teacher and peer relationships should be pretty close so the student feels comfortable asking for feedback and advice on ideas as needed, but also so they can get that feedback and support without having to ask all of the time. Peer relationships strengthened through discussions and feedback-focused critiques can make students actually want to help each other improve their art. The teacher-student relationship (as mentioned earlier) also has that added benefit of helping the student find the resources and inspiration relevant to the student’s ideas and goals too. And, like the constructivist approach, a relationship with the rest of the school and community will aid this search for the right resources to match the student, such as if they want to make technological art and want to visit the computer lab or even learn from an actual engineer outside of the school.


Resources and technology will also need to be flexible based on student needs and may include internet for free research. A large variety of art supplies to choose from would be required so students can choose their desired medium. It would probably be a good idea to make most of these supplies safe for student independent use so the student can freely grab what they need as they need it without waiting for permission. But, of course there may be some useful-but-dangerous or expensive mediums that the student could still use freely so they can have those sometimes-higher-quality materials, but they would still need permission for those. Just free up as much as you can for ease of use. A class website would be another useful tool for the teacher to more easily keep track of all the individual projects going on and the little steps and parts of those projects, and for easy communication and feedback with the teacher on the side of the students.


In this teaching approach, anything that will aid the students in making the art they want to make should be strived for. And, that is absolutely one of my goals as an art teacher, so I will very likely be making use of this one.


  • 2U Inc. (2021). Teaching methods. Teach. https://teach.com/what/teachers-know/teaching-methods/ 
  • Hein, G. E. (1998). Educational theory. In Learning in the museum (pp. 34-40). New York: Routledge.
  • Kirlew, B. (2021). Teaching for artistic behavior. Teaching for Artistic Behavior Inc. https://teachingforartisticbehavior.org 



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