Art Education (K-12) Post-Secondary Workforce Readiness, Self-Awareness, and Soft Skill Development
My most passionately held belief is that educators must assist students in the acquisition of critical thinking skills in order to foster a new generation of problem solvers, who seek to redefine and fulfill democratic ideals and maintain an equitable society. In addition, it is also my belief that a comprehensive art education provides students with visual literacy, which is an invaluable skill to acquire in our increasingly visual consumer society. Because of these two fundamental values I strongly indentify as postmodernist in regard to my philosophy of education. Like Giroux, I value independence and self efficacy as indispensable qualities of a decision maker (Webb, Metha, & Jordan, 2010); I therefore believe that educators must model these traits in order to fairly expect students to exhibit the same behavior. Because I believe formidably that every student is capable of complex enquiry, it is also the responsibility of administrators and educators alike to create a classroom community which is nonthreatening and where social, economic, and political issues can be intellectually debated. Believing as I do that all students are capable of critical intellectual enquiry, I assert that their personal experiences are not only relevant to but directly impact their capacity for critical assessment (Tavin, 2005). Students need to be provided with fertile ground through the implementation of lesson plans which aspire to teach more than simple technical ability, and in addition provide multifaceted conceptual themes (Hanes & Weisman, 2002). By allowing students to explore these themes and express themselves through sketching, journaling, dialogue, debate and ultimately in the production of an art object or performance students become invested in their own learning, and will mature into proactive agents of social change. These thematic lessons are enriched through the inclusion of cultural context, including relevant historical and contemporary social/political frameworks. This context is provided by exploring the works of contemporary and historical artists and theorists alike. In order to better understand issues of hegemony and subjugation on a local, national and global level, it is crucial to provide students with a multicultural curriculum that is both broad and comprehensive. By incorporating multiculturalism into every lesson, rather than presenting it as subsequent and therefore inferior material, students will develop a respect for diversity while also gaining a greater understanding of their personal cultural identification. Student should also be encouraged to tackle issues of representation (Hooks, 1995) and the human form (Nadaner, 2002); it is my belief that in doing so young adults may develop a more positive self image. I also believe that in addition to developing student’s individual identity multicultural education also provides students with an increased awareness of their potential contributions to the collective. In this regard my classroom will function as a democratic community; I will always maintain a high level of respect for my students and peers with no tolerance for derogatory speech or behavior. I will enforce this justly and consistently while always modeling the behavior that I require of my students. As previously mentioned, I believe that having an understanding of art and art theory is synonymous with possessing visual literacy skills. Student competency in interpreting visual imagery is crucial in our society which is predominated by visual media. Form and context are interdependent and no image is neutral in its messaging; interpreting Danto’s theory Anne Wilcott writes “works of art are about something, they are created to present a view of the world and to affect our attitudes and visions of the world”. This is also true of television, cinema, advertising and all other forms of popular media. As both producers and consumers of media, in addition to being part of a capitalist society, it is absolutely essential that students develop the ability to decipher visual media. More importantly students must come to know that exercising this capability is both a right and a responsibility. Art education is above all else multifaceted, when presented through thematic curriculum rich with cultural context art education becomes a binding agent integrating a broad range of disciplines and subjects. That being said, the study of art is crucial in its own right, while developing visual literacy skills students are encouraged to think critically (Nadaner, 1984). Critically assessing media allows students to become conscious consumers, as well as more proficient producers of media and product. When students are given the right to think in addition to the tools to think critically, we as educators cultivate a generation of inventors, entrepreneurs, and revolutionaries. Through the art productive process students will gain insight into themselves, and a means of expressing this personal evolution. Individual cultural identification and appreciation for diversity are fostered through a multicultural education. Multiculturalism should be well integrated into lesson planning and should never give the impression of being adjunct, as this devalues and diminishes the aforementioned goals of a multicultural curriculum. Issues of representation and the human form exist within a multicultural dialogue and are two of many discourses relevant to student’s lives and should be included in art education. The classroom is a community and therefore the personal experiences of the students within that community are relevant and impactful on every student’s capacity for learning. Above all else I believe that every student has incredible intellectual potential, and that it is the responsibility of educators not to impart knowledge on their students but to reveal student’s intrinsic ability to learn. Moreover if art education were to hold true to these philosophies, I believe that as a result students would become inspired and motivated, developing a lifelong love of learning. References Hanes, J. M. & Weisman, E. (2002). Thematic Curriculum and Social Reconstruction. In Y. Gaudelius & P. Speirs (Eds.), Contemporary Issues in Art Education. New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc. Hooks, B. (1995). Art on My Mind. New York: New York Press. Nadaner, D. (2002). Issues of the Body in Contemporary Art. In Y. Gaudelius & P. Speirs (Eds.), Contemporary Issues in Art Education. New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc. Nadaner, D. (1984). Critique and Intervention: Implications of Social theory for Art Education. Studies of Art Education A Journal of Issues and Research, 26(1), 20-26. Tavin, K. (2005). Opening Re-Marks: Critical Antecedents of Visual Culture in Art Education. Studies in Art Education A Journal of Issues and Research, 5-17. Webb, L. D., Metha A., & Jordan K. F. (2010). Foundations of American education: Sixth edition, 69-91. Wolcott, A. (1996). Is What You See What You Get? A Postmodern Approach to Understanding Works of Art. Studies in Art Education A Journal of Issues and Research, 74.
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Academy of Art University, San Francisco CA Metropolitan State University, Denver CO
Learning is my passion and teaching is my calling. Though born and raised in CO, I started my BFA at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco CA, before transferring back home to Metro where I finished my BFA + my teaching certification. (I am content to be back in CO but I miss the smell of the ocean and the adventure of a big city every day). I live with one cat, three birds, and a fish named bug eyes... oh and my significant other! I love all things daring and unusual. I collect small objects like pop bottle lids and buttons to use when I make art. Autumn is my favorite season because of the colors and the smells, and Halloween is my favorite holiday. I do not watch TV; my idea of the perfect evening is curled up with a good read, and a cup of hot tea. My new favorite word is collywobbles- which means to have butterflies in your stomach.