First Person VTS: Rachelle Doorley
Rachelle Doorley's introduction to Visual Thinking Strategies was shared with 200 other docents at Huntington Museum and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, CA. When the facilitator didn't identify the art the group had been discussing, many docents were frustrated. Not Doorley.
"Rather than infuriate me, my interest was peaked and I was determined to find out more about this highly participatory method for looking at art. I had never experienced art-looking on such an engaging level and couldn't wait to implement VTS in my own classroom," Doorley says.
Doorley noticed a change in her students immediately. "It was apparent from the first time I tried it that my teaching practice was transformed - children were more engaged, our discussions about the art became true conversations, and I was having more fun as an educator," she says.
VTS is also part of the docent training at the San Jose Museum of Art, thanks to Doorley, who is in charge of writing the curriculum and implementing the program. In order to graduate, SJMA docents must be able to facilitate VTS discussions, and many elect to enroll in advanced training classes in VTS once the training is over.
Both docents and students become better listeners, more engaged observers and more respectful of other people's opinions with VTS, Doorley says. But she's also seen the benefits of VTS a little closer to home.
"Perhaps the most unexpected and fun place that I use VTS is with my two and a half year-old daughter. I expect that this line of thinking will help them become careful observers of the world, good listeners, open-minded thinkers, and generative creators. I'm surprised to hear VTS questions pop out of my mouth during breakfast or on the playground. I suppose that VTS is such a powerful tool, that it's now part of my everyday vernacular!"