Discovery Walks

— from Billi London-Gray

A friend of mine named Randall, who teaches basic studio art courses at a university, takes his classes on what he calls “discovery walks.” Armed with their phones or sketchpads, his students are instructed to follow him on a slow walk across campus, snapping photos or making simple sketches of things they discover as they go. His purpose is to get them to slow down and notice afresh the details they miss through habituation and haste.

He has told me that he incorporated discovery walks into his teaching because he found it so helpful in his own work. He says it lets him literally walk away from a piece and come back ready to reconsider it. (He even collects materials on occasion.)

I think this is an excellent demonstration of what it means to “reconsider” – looking or thinking slowly and attentively enough that you discover details you missed before. Great in art classes, and probably any class where you are trying to encourage multiple perspectives.

Randall collected broken pencils on some walks.

Randall collected broken pencils on some walks. (Photo by me – not from the interwebs)


About utagtateaching

This blog is dedicated to providing resources to the Graduate Teaching Assistants in the UTA MFA program pertaining to teaching strategies, methods, and materials. We aim to start a public discussion that serves to enhance the classroom experience for both teacher and student.

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