ARTWORKS!

The instruction method and philosophy of Choices' ArtWorks! programming is simple. We believe that it is human nature to be curious, to want to learn. That, in fact, we all are good at something (or many things).

Traditional teaching methods work acceptably for some people, but they also leave many people out of the learning loop. ArtWorks! - currently offered in Elk Grove, Roseville and Sacramento - is geared toward those left out of the loop because they need to learn by doing. And not just once, but maybe many times in small instructor-to-student ratios. ArtWorks! incorporates kinesthetic, aural, and visual teaching methods.

Our goal is to make people feel comfortable with structure and expectations, so they can access the wealth of inner resources that lie just below the surface. We challenge participants and facilitate their growth by not "helping," but directing them to access their own powers of inquiry and problem-solving. A question posed at ArtWorks! may well be answered by another question, stimulating independence, self-reliance, and inter-dependence.

At ArtWorks!, we believe such basic life skills as communication, hygiene, courtesy, initiative, accountability, responsibility, and self-reflection - are the building blocks upon which real learning is founded. And when real learning takes place, self-esteem rockets. When self-esteem soars, cooperation is a natural by-product. Art is the perfect vehicle for the re-ignition of learning, a balanced blend of freedom, self-expression, and discipline.

ArtWorks! integrates basic life-skill mastery into every creative class we offer, as well as all community-based activities. Too often, the basic life skills are not effectively addressed, and the participant remains marginalized. Where expectations are low, participant investment and consequent results will be low as well. The skill sets our art classes emphasize and develop are transferable to vocation, recreation, good citizenship, and self-determination. Our No. 1 goal is supporting people's goals to "own" their learning process.

We have also found that asking participants to simply choose activities from their limited realm of experience is not the most-effective method for facilitating self-direction, and is not a real-world choice. If someone has only had oranges, apples, and bananas, and you ask them what kind of fruit would they like, the answer will be one of those three. If you show them, and let them taste some of the almost infinite varieties of fruit that are likely to move beyond apples, oranges and bananas.

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