Instruction is a process of conveying information through different methods. Some methods are direct; others are informal. Delacruz (1997) explains, "Instructional practice is theory in action" (p. 4). She wonders if teachers actually do what they set out to do. Instruction also is a process by which we transmit cultural heritage through directed learning (Wolcott, 1988). Stokrocki (1990) earlier documented the frequent forms of instruction [substantive, managerial, appraisal, and nonfunctional] of junior high school art teachers in the Midwest. Sub methods of instruction include demonstration, questioning, lecture, giving examples, storytelling, modeling behavior, and tribal play, to name a few. Stokrocki (1993) then studied how four art teachers adapted instruction to their students' cultures in Arizona and discovered how one teacher, Larry Woodson, did an outstanding job of integrating art history information on the Day of the Dead with studio mask making (Stokrocki, 1996). This section highlights some his his methods of teaching architecture and about ancient Southwest peoples.

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Discussion Question:

How do the instructional resources in this room motivate or inhibit learning?


Substantive instruction is a process of presenting new material about art (the substance of the course) to the entire class. Questionning was the dominant form of substantive instruction. At the beginning of every class, Woodson introduced a new concept through a major question. For example, he asked, "Why do we build a house heavier at bottom?" S1 answered, "More support at bottom." Woodson emphasized, "Good, even if we fail to do so, we learn something new." S2 asked, "What about the upside-down building in Tempe?" [Good counter example]. Woodson explained, "That building has steel beams for support." Then he asked, "What else do you need to consider when you are building your clay brick walls? [Problem: building a clay brick wall is not as easy as it seems.]

Discussion Questions:

* What type of questions did the instructor ask? [narrow or open; factual, analytical, technical, evaluative, comparative, other; See Hamblen, 1984.]

* What other questions would you ask?



Comparison of life back then with life today. Woodson constantly compared life back in ancient times with modern living. He showed examples of floor plans: a modern square one and a Hohokam round one. He asked students to draw their own floor plan. He summarized, "It's through art that we can find ways to understand the ancient ones. He asked, "How will we be remembered?"

Discussion Question:

What other information can be given to understand a floor plan?



In-process [formative] appraisal is the informal monitoring of process and suggesting of alternatives. Woodson evaluated students' progress daily and remotivated them. Later in the unit, he asked students to change perspectives. For example, he told a group of boys, "Stand back and look at your shelter as a group. Then he asked, "Is your roof well thought out or just thrown together?" They thought it looked "OK." He then stood back and literally blew off the roof and said, "Now do you see what will happen when the monsoons descend on your house? Look at the cross-beam construction of the roof in the picture that I showed you before.

Discussion Questions:

How appropriate is this type of appraisal and why?

How else can an instructor monitor students' everyday learning?



Formal summative appraisal: Appraisal is the evaluation of an activity that can be formative (during the lesson) or summative. In this case, Woodson chose not a test but a final presentation for students to present their cooperative work. He explained his expectations for the final architecture presentation. He stated, "I'm from Mars and hard of hearing. As a group of concerned citizens, tell me all the wonderful things that you learned." Then he listed requirements to consider: choice of people, house style, materials, construction methods, purpose of house, how you made the roof, problems, and solutions. He ended, "You have five minutes, plan a script, establish eye contact, share the load, take turns, save each other when one person gets nervous." He ran the presentation as a director, "All quiet on the set..."

[Photo example of students conducting their group final appraisal is on the web page called "Multiple Descriptions."]


Discussion Questions:

How appropriate are these questions for sixth graders to consider?

What other quidelines would you give?


Managerial instruction is a process of maintaining classroom facilities, organizing resources, and monitoring student behavior. For the entire class, Woodson laid down the rules, "Throw clay... you're in big trouble. If it (clay) is too dry, that's realistic looking." To one group of boys who were making clay rabbit turds, he warned, "You guys are going to fail. In this tribe I am the chief. Tomorrow, start again. By the end of day, I expect your foundation to be laid. Work more and play less." On the wall, he also had a billboard poster of Robocop with his gun saying "Keep this room clean!"

Discussion Questions:

* How appropriate are these forms of managerial instruction?

* What is happening in the picture?

* What other forms can be used with sixth graders?


Nonfunctional instruction is a process of motivation and conveying knowledge that is not directly related to the lesson. It deals with other kinds of education such as tribal play, role-playing, story telling, character building, and enrollment building. At times Woodson acted various roles: a man from mars, a detective, a prosecutor, and a Native American chief. As part of school "Dress-Up Day," he wore a tie-dyed T-shirt, buckskin vest with fringe, long braid, and turquoise beads. He reminded students to get busy building before it snowed. The Anasazi lived in the high desert where the weather was much colder. He jokingly rhymed, "The Anasazi made houses of mud and stones and when they were finished, they called them -- their homes."

Discussion Questions:

* How appropriate are these forms of motivation?

* What other forms of informal motivation can you use to teach architecture?




Delacruz, E. M. (1997). Instruction: Design for inquiry. Reston, VA: NAEA.

Hamblen, K. (1984). An art criticism questioning strategy within the framework of Bloom's taxonomy. Studies in Art Education, 26 (1), 41-50.

Stokrocki, M. (1990). Forms of instruction used by art teachers with preadolescents. In B. W. Little (Ed.). Secondary art education: An anthology of issues (pp. 35-46). Reton, VA: National Art Education Association.

Stokrocki, M. (1993). A cross-site analysis of cultural adaptations of art content and instruction in four Arizona middle schools. Grant from the Arizona Arts Education Research Institute.

Stokrocki, M. (1996). A participant observation study of how a middle school art teacher integrates multicultural art history with art making. In Carole Henry (Ed.). Middle school art: Issues of curriculum and instruction (pp.35-55). Reston, VA: The National Art Education Association.