In general, people are naturally curious and creative beings with innate problem solving abilities. Art is one of the most valuable ways people use to express how they view and make meaning of the world around them. I believe that art and art education should focus on “big ideas,” that connect personal experience and academic subject matter with global life themes. In this way art projects are more engaging, personally motivating and educational. Practices like this are what allow art and art education to be successful and relevant for students.
Art education also fosters feelings of self-worth and the ability to see value others while instilling a desire to understand the world and explore possibilities. Art can empower, encourage, and evoke greatness in students and nurtures inventiveness and aids in the development of self-esteem, self-discipline, empathy, cooperation and self-motivation. Additionally, participating in art activities helps children gain the tools necessary for understanding human experience, adapting to and respecting other ways of working and thinking, developing creative problem solving skills, and provides an opportunity for the children to explore their imagination and ideas in variety of ways.
I feel that the teacher’s role is one of facilitator, guiding students to make meaning through art using learner-centered pedagogical approaches. An effective art teacher is passionate, enthusiastic, innovative, and flexible and they continue to learn and explore alongside their students. Effective art teachers encourage students to strive for excellence, and see the potential for success in every student. Effective teachers develop curriculum that exposes students to new mediums and through motivational dialog assists students in thinking critically about the many approaches they can take to find or solve a creative problem. Effective art teachers broaden their students’ socio-cultural knowledge and appreciation through lessons that incorporate historical and contemporary art works and artists from a variety of ethnic backgrounds.
Exploring diverse artists and exposure to the world community opens children’s minds and encourages pride in being an artist. Art is a language of thought and feeling, which must be accessible to all students, not just the talented or well-connected few. Students also need to be deeply engaged in existing art through visiting local museums, artist talks, and digital media resources to gain an understanding of the art the art world. I also believe that cross-cultural, cross-generational exposure and incorporation of multifaceted materials and media foster creativity. The more viewpoints one has access to, the more creative one can be. It is for that reason I incorporate art history and contemporary art in my teaching to better aid the children in their creative processes.
Lessons begin with a well-articulated problem that allows plenty of room for students to explore, discover and investigate their own innovative solutions. My lesson planning process carefully considers the artistic development of the learners in my care, and their individual learning styles so I can make the accommodations necessary for each student to be successful. Lesson plans can be individualized for each child to encourage them to grow, explore, and investigate in ways that work best for each student. My lessons challenge students to investigate, take risks, and conduct research, through this process they succeed in realizing their vision
My goal is to create a supportive environment where every student feels comfortable expressing themselves, is positively reinforced for risk taking and perceives “failure” as a valuable learning opportunity to view something from a different perspective and grow in a new direction. Students learn to explore, appreciate, and understand art.
I aim to teach students to understand how art can be an agent for social change and how engaging in art activities can help people deal with the struggles they face every day. Art is both global and personal. I want my students to move forward with a knowledge of who they are as individuals, a better understanding of how to express themselves, and how to articulate the meaning behind their artwork. I want them to progress in life with the confidence that they can effect change through art.
As a form of communication, art can be an outlet for frustration, fear, anger, and joy in a safe and creative way. Art class is filled with equal and exceptional people, it shows our similarities and embraces our differences. Art is not just painting and drawing but dancing and poetry, inventing and creating, exploring and problem-solving; art is what makes us human. The skills gained from art making will help our students become entrepreneurs, inventors, scientists, strategic planners, filmmakers and politicians. Art is a universal language that can change the course of the world.
Our goal as educators should be to remind our students of their power and worth and foster their curiosity and love of learning. If we can achieve this we have succeeded in creating life-long learners, attentive citizens with a broad, compassionate view of the world.
I received my BFA from the Corcoran College of Art + Design with a focus in Photography in Washington, DC in 2004 and I will be receiving my Masters in Art Education from the Corcoran College of Art + Design in May 2014. I have been teaching art in a private school environment for the past 9 years to students aged 3 to 15.
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