Skip to main content

What is Teaching for Artistic Behavior (TAB)?

| Cathy Bachman |

by Tori Snarr

You may have heard our Art Studio referred to as a ‘TAB’ Studio. So what is TAB? TAB (or Teaching for Artistic Behavior) is a choice-based approach to Arts Education that regards students as authentic artists and centers their interests and their ideas throughout the artmaking process. Rather than present to students a pre-planned project with a desired outcome, my responsibility as an Art Guide and TAB educator is to create the opportunity for our students to explore their own interests and ideas – to grant them freedom within limits.

Just as Montessori classrooms are prepared environments for student learning to occur, the MCS Art Studio is intended to function as a prepared art-making environment for our school’s young artists. Art materials are organized into areas of the studio such as Drawing, Painting, Collage, or Printmaking and will be made available to students gradually throughout the school year. Each week, Art Studio begins with a group lesson during which students receive instruction on art materials, techniques, concepts, and/or art history. Students then have the opportunity to apply this learning to their own art-making during studio time.

Teaching to the “Artistic Behaviors” prepares students to engage in every step of the art-making process and helps them find success along the way. This process begins with exploration and play, followed by observation and idea generation, developing a plan, applying knowledge of art skills and processes, creative problem solving, sharing their artwork with their community, and self-evaluation or reflection. In addition to teaching concrete art skills, TAB aims to nurture within students the skills required to think like an artist: curiosity, imagination, critical thinking, adaptability, perseverance, storytelling, and so many more invaluable qualities, all of which are transferable to other subject areas and to life endeavors outside of the studio.