by Mark Heintz and Cindy Pacyk
There are certain classes in the school that are close to what I hope schools could be. Really, what we should all aspire to be. Art is one of those places. I loved to draw a kid. As I got older, I didn’t make time for it since I had more “academic” subjects to focus on. Art didn’t fit into my schedule. I’m making room for it now.
I went into Cindy Pacyk’s art class and the atmosphere blew me away. Students worked at the own pace on their projects. It was a lunch period and students were dropping in and helping kids who aren’t even in their class. Freshmen through seniors worked together. Cindy pulled small groups together to show them a technique and answer questions. There was a calm and ease to the class that is hard to create. It was amazing!
I had to know more. I wanted to know what her definition of learning was and what conditions she felt people learned best under. This is what she said:
How do you define learning?
Cindy: Learning is the ability to master the basics of a subject matter and use them appropriately to find one’s own voice. It is the acquisition of problem-solving skills that allow a student to be flexible in their approach to different scenarios. This level of mastery helps students develop a portfolio of meaningful and individual artworks.
How do you believe people learn best?
Cindy: I believe people best learn by making mistakes with the understanding that this is a tool they have gained or an understanding. If the mistake is seen as only that, a mistake, a greater lesson is not learned but if they view it as a way of gaining insight they have learned. In making that “mistake” they know one way something did not work that is knowledge gained.
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