ThinkTank#5 at Urban Glass

The Glass Virus was asked to do a mini-think tank-workshop at the Robert M. Minkoff Foundation’s Academic Symposium at Urban Glass, Brooklyn, NY, titled "Issues in Glass Pedagogy: Criticism, Critique, and Critical Thinking".
This was a great opportunity to re-introduce the Glass Virus, after we had launched it at the first Academic Symposium in 2013.
Here is Jens’ short report of Think Tank#5 at Urban Glass.

“Critique in the Classroom”

To do a mini think tank-workshop at the Academic Symposium at Urban Glass was a new experience for us and given the limited timeframe, it was questionable if the talks could reach the intensity and depth that we are used to. But all concerns seemed redundant as we divided the guests of the symposium in groups and started discussing the topics.
After a short definition of my personal perception of critique in the classroom, the participants were challenged to break down a number of questions, which were in direct relation to the preceding talk or came about in previous lectures at the symposium.
After just 40 minutes of concentrated discussions, all groups were able to present their résumés. Those notes are by no means final answers to the questions, nor do they intent to create a common definition of critique in the classroom. Sometimes even, a group would follow its own dynamic and find other issues more significant.
All those findings are equally valuable. As in many practices, think tanks are about the content an process. They are by definition enclosed gatherings in which all sorts of issues can be discussed, in order to find a common strategy and maybe give advice to other authorities. Our think tanks are about the process much more than the result. We do find that it can be more challenging to proceed with the notes and other outcomes of the discussions rather than dealing with predetermined results. One of the biggest accomplishments of the think tanks is the understanding that frequent communication is the key to progression.

Provided questions to discuss in groups during the mini think tank:

Look at the course of critique – as a teacher, a student, a researcher or former any of that –

• Do we know what’s best for our students and how much of that can we provide?
• Is glass education per definition too monastic?
• Do we allow critique in the classroom?
• Are we fit enough to educate our students to become what we want them to become? (do we even know what that is?)
• Has glass education failed?
• Looking at your own approach: where do you stand, how can you improve your practice?

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