Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education


Date of this Version



Essays on Teaching Excellence" Toward the Best in the Academy (1995-1996) 7(6)

A publication of the Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education


Copyright 1996, Donna Glee Williams. Used by permission


Teachers of the creative process understand intuitively that different types of students need different types of teaching. The art students who splash paint with abandon over miles of canvas but have no interest in craftsmanship or self-evaluation need a different sort of intervention than the young artists who are so bullied by their own self-criticism that they can hardly bear to make a mark. The music students who by dint of excessive practice produce music-box accuracy--completely without fire--need a different sort of help than their sloppy but passionate colleagues. Our task as instructors is to understand our students’ needs and to design experiences that will help them master their chosen arts, whether these be visual, written, dramatic, musical, or outside of the traditional boundaries of "the creative arts." But our job does not stop there. We must also see that, when they leave us, they understand their own needs and have some conceptual frame for continuing to challenge themselves and improve under their own discipline. A modified version of Transactional Analysis, because of its relevance and simplicity, can provide just such a system.