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Dr. Patty Bode

February Mentor, Principal, Amherst Regional Middle School

Monthly Mentor Posts

  • Promoting global understanding: Islamic patterns in context. The study of Islamic patterns in tessellating geometric imagery can authentically integrate PK-12 curriculum through mathematics and visual art. Including sociocultural and historical perspectives about these patterns adds vibrant meaning to this unit of study, and simultaneously expands some understanding about Islamic traditions and breaks down misconceptions about some Muslim experiences.
  • Language, power, humor and visual culture. Inviting dialogue that analyzes the relationship of language to visual culture may stimulate student awareness of the power laden within spoken text and dialogue within the school and classroom, as well as in the broader social context of popular culture. In an earlier posting, I mentioned that youth literature resources about Islam and Muslim experiences may guide this effort to hear, see and understand this complexity through the voices of Muslim authors and characters.
  • Connecting traditional art forms to contemporary practices. My final blog posting as the February Monthly Mentor continues my effort to counter Islamophobia through art education by encouraging the study of contemporary artists who draw upon, extrapolate from, re-appropriate and juxtapose concepts and imagery from Islamic experiences and traditions. Furthermore, I briefly comment on the conflation of Arabic identities and experiences with Islamic experiences. Meaningful engagements with, and research about, contemporary artists and their work may prompt students to reimagine studio practices while expanding their view of these artists’ experiences, and move closer toward our NAEA mission to: advance visual arts education to fulfill human potential and promote global understanding.
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