To paraphrase Dewey, do we teach a particular way because we expect the future will be like the past? Or do we embrace the realization that change is the rule, not the exception?
Knowledge is not static and neither are learners. Students are not passive vessels unto which teachers transmit information. Learners bring differing experiences and approaches to the classroom. The act of teaching lies not in dispensing knowledge, but exists within interactions and negotiation of meaning. Hence, it is a reciprocal relationship.
Art is worth knowing and experiencing. Visual symbols help to create meaning and allow us to make sense of the world. We change the world through creativity. Art is a subject without boundaries. It has the power to act as a gateway or lens into various disciplines, further expanding the student’s perception. Connecting art to other subjects is not used as a justification for inclusion in education, but rather stems from the awareness that having a deep understanding of visual language is important because it is employed by various cultures throughout history for a variety reasons that impact the contemporary world.
There are no wrong answers in art. It is as fluid and dynamic as the person who creates it. Students should feel free to bring their interests into the classroom, to express their emotions, and use art as a tool to investigate meaning in their own life and the larger culture. Since art has the power to personalize, it can lead to a feeling of vulnerability. It is important to establish a sense of community, where risk-taking and respect are emphasized. Through dialog and critique, students will learn to consider other people’s points of view. I strongly believe in fostering inquisitiveness and promoting an open attitude towards materials, methods, and media. Students should gain familiarity with a variety of techniques through modeling, demonstration and hands on experiences. Student should be encouraged to make mistakes and solve authentic problems so they can develop skills in assessing and analyzing their own thinking. Through creation students will learn to problem solve and foster critical thinking skills that will transfer to daily life.
An effective teacher acts as a catalyst, encouraging students to initiate their own learning and highlights the connection between seemingly diverse ideas. As a teacher I must adapt and be reflective.
In twenty years, a student of mine should be able to look at any painting and possess the tools to analyze the formal aspects and consider how the cultural context imbues the artwork with meaning. I wish them the courage to ask questions which may not contain easy answers.