Teaching during Covid-19 has been an interesting undertaking. I believe that as educators we have been required to take a look into our practice and analyze if what we are doing is really meeting the needs of our students. I believe my experience as a former web designer has helped me adapt to teaching in a virtual environment.
My philosophy on teaching is very much a blend of my own experiences as a student and also as a teacher. My experiences in the classroom both positive and negative have shaped my view on what is important to include in my classroom and what is not. Ultimately, I want my classroom to be a warm and welcoming environment where students are free to explore their own ideas. A class where they learn techniques of using different mediums so they can best decide how they would like to create their work and convey their message.
We are all creative by nature. We are all creative in some way. My job as the teacher in a classroom that is focused on Art is to find that student’s strengths and help them strengthen their weaknesses. To help them regain confidence they may have lost over the years. To help them apply studio practices to their daily lives to help them persevere, create, and have confidence in their ability. I am here to help students become the best version of themselves and to help them see their value and how their unique voice is needed and valued.
I want my classroom to be free from harsh criticism and include a positive and uplifting environment where students feel confident and supported. I want students to feel safe that their ideas will be valued and that they will be helped to show their best level of ability. Grading will be fair, and feedback will be with their growth in mind. Every person’s handwriting is unique, and I believe so is everyone’s ability to create artwork. The artwork that is created is unique to them so comparison and labels of right or wrong can be limiting and not helpful to nurture their own ability.
Teaching art history and theories is just as important as techniques and mediums. Learning where art has come from and where it is going is important in creating artwork with meaning. To bring an artist into my room that look like my students and show them that success is possible. Sharing with my students the back story behind and artwork discussion of the artist and what their intention with an artwork is helps shape our view of how we see each piece of art we analyze. Teaching different world and community art and cultures to help bring a deeper understanding of other cultures can foster a sense of togetherness and community within our classroom and our school. Understanding and knowledge of cultures that may be different from our own experience help shape us into more empathetic and caring individuals.
The methods I use to teach my students include web applications, PowerPoints, Art Critiques, and discussions. I believe getting students excited about what they are learning and creating an environment where new discoveries and information is a daily event. My students get a solid foundation of the Elements of art as well as an implementation of using principles of design when they are in the beginning stages of a new project. Students are encouraged to brainstorm ideas of what ideas they are trying to portray and the best ways to express those ideas. Having students who are both virtual and in person is becoming the new normal and I believe it is extremely important to give both kinds of student’s equal attention when watching the progress of their work.