Teaching philosophy

               Art is a form of communication, individual expression, and interaction with the world around us. As an individual who is committed to continually learning and growing, I am also committed to growing as an artist and educator. Centered on a belief that a learning environment can be built to encourage and celebrate the uniqueness and creative expression of every student, I am dedicated to building an engaging and inclusive environment where we can grow and learn from each other.

               I believe that art education offers an unlimited and flexible opportunity where students have the opportunity to freely express themselves through many different mediums. Art offers many opportunities to capture the ideas, talents, and experiences of everyone. I would like every student to feel that art is a safe place for them to express themselves.  Each student enters the classroom with their own culture, educational experiences, skills, and talents, and every student has something valuable to share with others.

               As a teacher, I would like to share my love and experience of art with my students. The purpose of schooling is to help students expand their knowledge, develop their problem-solving skills, and build a sense of community where individuals recognize that everyone can learn from each other.  I believe that art education is about much more than art. As Don Hellison describes in Teaching Personal and Social Responsibility, teachers have responsibilities that extend beyond just the presentation of skills and ideas. A teacher has the responsibility to help empower students to be personally and socially responsible people, practice and teach self-reflection, and learn how to connect with the world around them (Hellison, 2011 , pp. 23-25). I believe that it is the teacher’s role to create a positive environment for learning, by modelling and scaffolding ideas, sharing materials and curriculum, and encouraging students to think beyond the information within the textbook to find applications of the materials in their own lives and the world around them.  

               Students learn in many ways, so it is important to utilize a variety of teaching methods in the classroom in order to meet their various needs. I believe that art has the potential to help student physical, cognitive, and emotional development. Students strengthen their fine motor skills using many different mediums. Art requires students to brainstorm, use problem-solving skills, and carry out the details of their plans, in order to complete a project.  As an outlet for expression and emotions, art can provide an opportunity for calm and reflection.  I believe that the kind of classroom that is most conducive to learning is one that that employs a variety of learning methods to meet the diverse needs of the students. While it is important to provide some direct instruction to students, I believe that a student-centered approach to learning, including many hands- on experiences, provides the greatest opportunities for student growth. The ideal classroom should be an environment that encourages student interaction and discussion, and is designed to be welcoming and inclusive of differences in learning styles, cultures, genders, and perspectives.

               Providing students with time to share their ideas with each other, and encouraging goal setting and student reflection, helps students expand their view of the world around them. I believe that students should be encouraged to experience art, and discover ways that art can be applied outside of the classroom as well. Signs of art and creativity can be seen all around the city, and provide a wealth of opportunities to bridge the gap between the classroom and the community. As Elizabeth Ellsworth describes in Places of Learning, museums, architecture, murals, and sculptures are just a few of the places students can experience art and pursue inspiration (Ellsworth, 2005).

               Art is a wonderful communication tool. It allows people to express themselves in a number of ways. True communication requires listening and expression.  I believe that it is the students’ role to be open to learning from others as well as from themselves. In order to learn from others, I believe that it is important for students to be kind, respectful, and considerate of each other’s work and views. I believe that art is an active learning process; and therefore, it requires active student participation to be successful.

               I believe that everyone has the ability to learn. There are many learning styles, and each student has unique skills and needs, so it is very important for teachers to get to know their students so they can use the best methods to teach and inspire their students. Education cannot be simplified as a one size-fits all system because students are not all the same. Trying to make an educational system that is the same for everyone fails to utilize the wealth of skills, talents, and experiences that are within our society. As Paul Tough explains in How Children Succeed, teachers are in a unique position to help and inspire students to become resilient, creative, and caring adults (Tough, 2013, p. 147). To help meet the needs of students with a wide range of needs and abilities, it is important for teachers to demonstrate enthusiasm, creativity, and optimism. 

               A visual art classroom involves an ongoing process of assessment. The art teacher has an opportunity to evaluate the students’ willingness to discuss and/or implement the basic art terms, forms and techniques that are suggested by the teacher and other students throughout the project. From one project to another, students’ growth can be assessed through a process of reflection and goal setting. Students’ understanding of the curriculum can be evaluated by their use of the techniques and strategies that they have learned in class and from each other.

I believe that art is a form of creative expression that can benefit everyone. Sharing and expressing ideas, and being willing to learn from others are the fundamental concepts of art education. Through art, students and teachers can grow socially and emotionally, and develop a cultural awareness of the world and community around them.

 

 

Works Cited

 

Ellsworth, E. (2005). Places of Learning. New York, NY: Routledge.

Hellison, D. (2011 ). Teaching Personal and Social Resposibility Through Physical Activity Third Edition. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, Inc.

Tough, P. (2013). How Children Succeed. New York, New York: First Mariner Books.