Alex Charner
Alex Charner Art & Communication
Transient

DrawnBack – A Journal of Artistic Redemption

The writing, projects and ideas of Alex Charner

On the Value of Proof in Adult Education

By Alex Charner

Sometimes a teacher speaks to your spirit and brings light to blind spots obscured by fear. This darkness often serves your comfort, efficiency and emotional stability, but creates little of real value. As educators, it's our job to tear down the curtains, knock down the walls and turn on the lights. Every class is a hypothesis we prove at the end.

A solid proof hits you intellectually and emotionally. Here's one that changed my life:

I was an illustration major, well into my college career, when I entered a drawing class unlike any I had ever taken. Things began conventionally enough: I found a surface, set up my supplies, the model posed and for five minutes I drew a reasonable facsimile. I followed the art school formula: A little charcoal, a little time and a lot of nudity. However, after the five minutes ended, everything changed.

Our professor collected every student's first drawing and boldly promised that when the course was over, our one-minute drawings would be measurably better than the five-minute piece we had just completed. This statement was followed by a colorful assortment of doubtful noises.

It was easy to be skeptical. Our class objectives were often built into personal anecdotes that to my short life and narrow experience gave my teacher a folk hero's stature. It all seemed too grandiose, hyperbolic, every tale felt a little too tall. But when the course was over, I looked down at that first drawing, and in the light of better, quicker pieces; I shed my skepticism. Proof.

I was primed to look for a structure that could produce that result when I joined ERC. Thankfully, I found it. Whether we are listing, then surpassing, your goals or documenting your progress on video, we believe in practice and proof. You test every idea we share and measure it next to your own "five-minute drawing."

How else could we expect you to make it a part of your life?

Cross-posted from The Communicator by ERC.