My own art class experience in recent years is just the opposite. The still life that the instructor and my classmates liked best was set up by the instructor – though the tea pot is my own. But the real point was about how and where we learn. Here’s in part was Robert’s reply:
“Fact is, walls or not, all the world’s a classroom. Fact is, life’s a classroom where curiosity reigns with both over-the-shoulder interest and the joys of struggling alone. Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson is a new book that analyzes historic waves of human brilliance. Gutenberg, Darwin, the Wright Brothers and even modern computer whiz-bangs show that innovation comes from accumulated knowledge, constructive errors and the magnificent happenstance of “information spillover” (information intended for one gets picked up, carried, and improved by another). And good stuff happens anywhere–labs, workshops, hangars, garages and, yep, classrooms.”
Sounds like the book in question is worth a read too.