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“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” ~ Edgar Degas
I want my students to learn to see the world in different ways that are reflective of multiple perspectives, interpretations, and feelings. My goal is to help them realize that there are multiple ways a problem can be solved and that they should always adopt lateral thinking. Teaching art fosters critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, and innovation. Teaching these skills through art education is my goal as an art teacher. I teach my students to think analytically, work collaboratively and apply investigative approach. Teaching art involves lots of steps that include planning, preparation, hands on experience, interpretation, judgement, inquiry, teamwork, and analytical thinking. I endeavor to inculcate these techniques by planning art lessons that incorporate various activities such as brainstorming sessions in partnership, class discussions, question-answers sessions, hands-on activities and class critiques. It is through these activities used over and over again in my lessons, that students learn to think analytically and respond to various situations positively. I see my students as pile of clay when they come to my studio. It is my role as an art teacher to prepare them the same way as I prepare clay by wedging. It is through my lesson plans that students learn to communicate effectively with each other, work in teams, think critically , explore and investigate, and provide constructive feedback. These magical tools that they inculcate in my art studio, make them well-equipped to handle situations in everyday life. Small group discussions at the beginning of the each lesson provide every student an opportunity to share his/her views. Each member of the group pro-actively participates in every activity planned. Students who prefer to talk less feel comfortable sharing in front of small groups before sharing in front of class. The class becomes a small community in which students work together as family members.
I plan class critiques and share at various stages of lesson. During class critiques, each student shares his/her work followed by receiving constructive feedback from peers. This activity becomes very engaging and meaningful. Students share their views on someone else’s work and give suggestions from different points of view. My students come up with very unique ideas, alternatives and suggestions during the sessions. It is through these activities students realize that there can be more than one solution to any problem. My approach is fully supported by Elliot Eisner’s theory. The theory states that the art teaches children that a problem can have more than one solution and questions can have more than one answer. Critiques also teach my students to think interpretatively about artworks. This approach is also supported by Eisner’s theory. It states that the arts celebrate multiple perspectives and there are many ways to see and interpret the world. Thus, my approach to art education teaches my students to see in different ways in response to various perspectives, interpretations, and feelings. As an art teacher, I clearly see myself instilling these important skills in my students and making them ready with this magic toolbox that is going to be with them forever.