As an art teacher and designer, I instill in students the idea that everyone can be creative and learn the language of art and design. Teaching art is offering students the ability to discover. Students learn that creativity is not just defined by how “realistic” they can draw as a measure of artistic talent. I bring students beyond the societal and cultural tendency that only a select few, who pursue art, can be successful.
My classroom is a place of self-discovery, expression, and problem solving. I meld the ideas of past and present artists and designers as a source of inspiration to students. I believe that design, as much as traditional practices of art making, is vital to educating students. I prod students to have an intrinsic appreciation of design and grasp the concepts of visual communication in ways previous generations could not. I want students to develop their own artistic methodologies using art and design to explore stylistic techniques and investigate aesthetic practices.
I teach students the intersection of art and design in the world. I establish a framework of projects that address the multidisciplinary and culturally diverse practices that can be explored in the art classroom. This approach allows me to introduce many materials, vocabulary, and specific art making processes. My students gain a solid foundational skill set to develop their own voice within future learning experiences across disciplines.
Within my curriculum, rather than ask students to simply replicate a technique, I focus students to respond to questions and problems with their work. This opens their work to be more creatively engaging and requires them to develop a finished product. And, they develop an understanding of how and why they create their work. Students gather information, observe and explore techniques, and brainstorm and develop multiple iterations of their project. This approach expands how students can be evaluated. As an educator, this gives me the ability to consider process and exploration as much as the finished product. This expanded assessment gives me a greater understanding of students’ abilities and how best to encourage individual goals.
Creativity is the most valuable skill that can and should be taught in school. Creativity defines how someone will decipher complex situations and develop better solutions. As an art educator I don’t see my classroom as a place where students get a break from critical thinking and problem solving. Instead, I strive to make my classroom a place where students are challenged to be creative and to expand their own view of how visual communication connects to all areas of their education.