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The "Wonder Full" teacher project.

Based on our many years of teaching, preparing teachers, and evaluating teachers and programs, it is our firm conviction that the teacher is the most significant factor in helping children learn in school. Whatever the curriculum, educational resources, societal setting, standards, tests and level of funding, we believe it is the personhood of the teacher that is the pivotal element in the success of the entire educational network.

Since the teacher is of paramount importance, our interest is this: What are the characteristics of a teacher who is seen as a "Wonder Full" teacher--a teacher who creates an environment in the classroom where all learners experience a spontaneous elevation of behavior--where their physical, visual, written, and spoken expressions decidedly shift to what can be legitimately termed artistic?

The teacher who is perceived to be a "Wonder Full" teacher first by the learners, then by parents and colleagues can create a learning environment that is literally transformational. The transformation we are referring to shifts the usual self-conscious, hesitant, classroom entrance behavior of most students to artistic behaviors. That is, there is a greater flow and abundance of ideas, effort becomes focused, and a greater interest and empathetic regard develops for all others. There is a decided grace and ease of movement, joyfulness, and spontaneity in broth thinking and acting blossoms, and forms of expression become richer and fuller. We believe that artistic behavior need not be the uncommon and special behavior of a few and gifted minority.

Peter London is the author of Drawing Closer to Nature and No More Secondhand Art. Virginia Freyermuth is a Massachusets Teacher of the Year and a National Outstanding Art Teacher named by Disney and McDonald's American Teacher Awards.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:All levels
Author:Freyermuth, Virginia
Publication:School Arts
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2004
Previous Article:Fabulous first graders: confessions of a first-year teacher.
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