Effort

DEFINITION

Mental or physical energy used to achieve a purpose; self-discipline. A person's exertions to reach a particular goal or overcome particular difficulty. At minimum, effort is attempting to accomplish something. Sometimes an effort is remarkable because it is something someone is trying to do for the first time.In science, effort is synonymous with energy, and can be measured. In the arts, although effort ? the exertion of energy ? is essential, it is less tangible than the end result. The art world is typically interested in artists' intentions, but more so in artists' achievements. No collector acquires the "trying" unless it is palpable. When effort is particularly apparent, art critics and historians dwell on those exertions, and might speculate on them when they are not apparent. Although conceptual art might seem to be an exception to this rule, ultimately the quality of what any artist has done relies on that which can be seen in the work itself ? its making, its production, its success. Art educators might assess students' efforts as much as they do their achievements. Effort is more difficult to observe well enough to quantify it. Unless a student displays extraordinary challenges, basing an assessment on effort alone devalues and invalidates that assessment, and may be counterproductive and unethical. Pressure to assess the efforts of able students without assessing their achievements may come from students, their families, or other educators. Their arguments might be: Art disciplines are somehow different from other disciplines. Yes, the art disciplines are different in several important ways ? ones that put the study of art at the heart of our students' education. Nearly every student who enrolls here and exerts energy can and should achieve great things. Not everyone does. But our expectations are not inappropriate ? they're specific to what successful students should achieve. Some students have no interest in becoming artists. Art should primarily be uplifting / amusing / recreational / therapeutic. Art should be much more than entertainment. The best art has a habit of being the most interesting art. Even more important: art is basic. As we motivate students, simultaneously we pursue many other goals. Just look at our school's / state's / nation's fine arts standards. All of our students need to understand that they are expected to do their best, and that they are most likely to achieve to their potential when they give it their all -- when no one makes excuses for them. There are already so many things interfering with their learning! But talent isn't distributed equally, and some or all students are required to (or non-art-majors would like to) enroll in art. If this argument is valid, it could be made for students of any discipline! Every educator here works with every student he gets. (The "talented" ones are in there with everyone else. Or they just learn differently.) If you don't give higher grades, fewer students will enroll in art classes, and you won't have a job. When an educator inflates grades, respect for standards collapses as the program becomes a haven for non-achievers.Quotes: "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." Lao-tzu (6th century BCE), Chinese philosopher, traditionally regarded as the founder of Taoism. "Every calling is great when greatly pursued." Oliver WendellHolmes (1809-1994), American physician and writer. "A work of art is not a matter of thinking beautiful thoughts or experiencing tender emotions (though those are its raw materials), but of intelligence, skill, taste, proportion, knowledge, discipline and industry; especially discipline." Evelyn Waugh (1903-1966), English author. Letters. See knowledge, proportion, and taste. "Things turn out the best for people who make the best of the way things turn out." John Wooden (1910-), American basketball coach, most famously at UCLA, where his teams won 665 games and ten NCAA titles including 7 in a row from 1967 to 1973. "Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment." Oprah Winfrey, contemporary American television talk-show host and actress. "Determination and perseverance move the world; thinking that others will do it for you is a sure way to fail." Marva Collins, contemporary American educator noted for her successes in teaching "unteachable" students in Westside Preparatory Academy, a school she founded in Chicago in 1975. A joke: A flood was threatening a town, forcing everyone to evacuate. But Joe was thinking, "I'm a devout man; God will save me," and he stays put. As the waters rise, Joe's neighbor comes by and says, "Joe, come with me. we've got to go." Joe declines: "I'm a devout man. God will save me." The waters keep rising. Joe scrambles to his second floor. A firefighter in a rowboat paddles by. "Get in the boat or you'll drown," he says. Joe again declines, saying, "I'm a devout man. God will save me." Finally, the flood waters force Joe to his roof. A police helicopter comes by and throws down a rope. "Climb up or you'll drown," the policeman yells. "No," Joe replies, "I'm a devout man. God will save me." But soon Joe drowns. When he arrives in heaven, Joe challenged God, "Why didn't You help me?" "What do you mean?" God says. "I did help. I sent a neighbor, a firefighter, and a helicopter."Also see achievement, advocacy, artistic temperament, art therapy, attention, attitude, creativity, empathy, enthusiasm, evaluation, genius, Individualized Education Program (IEP), inspiration, multiple intelligence theory, obsession, praise, research, and talent.

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