Educational Philosophy

No field of learning stands alone.  Even in art there are many different facets that all inform each other.  Following the Discipline Based Art Education movement, I believe in teaching students not only creation of visual art, but also art history, art criticism, and aesthetics.  With the knowledge of other areas of art, students are able to better understand why they create the way they do in this period of time.  This mode of thought also occurs outside of the field of art.

Art integration is extremely important for students.  As stated before, no field of learning stands alone.  Art can be used for students to better understand math concepts, in science aids, and to explore literature and creative writing exercises.  More recently, art has also played an important role in the field of technology.  From graphic design, advertising, and video game/movie development, artistic abilities are forming into new and innovative career options.

I believe that it is important for students to recognize the opportunities that art has to offer, whether or not they decide to pursue it as a profession.  Regardless of background, all students can learn the concepts and skills that an art education gives.

As an art educator I believe that art plays an important role in a student’s education.  Art teaches students skills that can be used across all subjects, ranging from math and science to the humanities.  These skills can be learned by any student, regardless of their background, style of learning or developmental stage at the time they enter my classroom.

As a result of this belief, it is my job to differentiate my lesson plans to accommodate the wide range of students in the classroom.  While many projects naturally can be modified to suit the needs of kids who are more or less advanced then the average student, it is important to take an active role in discussing the alternatives a student has in order to meet their needs and still provide them with an education that is both stimulating and challenging.  I believe that while these modifications are important and necessary in order to give students the knowledge required to progress in the arts.

From my experience in the classroom I believe in both the progressive and traditional methods of teaching students.  In order to progress as an artist, students must learn and understand basic design principles and elements.  The principles and elements of design are concepts that many people know intuitively, but once students are consciously aware of these principles they have the ability to create stronger works of art and critique the works of others.  It is my belief that these principles and elements should be taught in a structured manner, giving students the opportunity to express themselves, but with specific purpose to gain in-depth knowledge of each element and principle.  While structure is important to lesson planning and curriculum, I believe that students also need the freedom to solve problems independently, and by using resources outside of the teacher such as their peers.

As a student learns the concepts of design, they should be given the choice to explore different mediums and techniques more independently.  From this exploration students are able to focus themselves in areas of art.  During this stage of learning it is my belief that the role of the art teacher is to guide, not direct.  Giving students this freedom with an expert to help field questions, solve problems, and guide students in the right direction enables students to learn real-life skills such as problem solving, thinking critically, and coming up with new and creative ideas.

While it is the goal for all students to eventually reach this more progressive stage of teaching and learning, I also take into account that not all students will reach this stage.  Due to different backgrounds, maturity levels, learning styles, etc., an art teacher must always be prepared to give some students more heavily structured curriculum.

My goal as an art teacher is to hold all of my students to high standards, giving them the education that they deserve.  High standards cannot be defined by one student, but instead is based on the individuality that every child brings to the classroom.  Some students will need more attention then others.  Others will thrive by opting for minimal guidance.  I believe that as long as clear goals are understood by both myself, the students, and the others involved with their education, that every student is able to learn in my classroom.

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