The world is filled with things to respond to.
Things that make us angry, things that pique our interests, things we wish to share, things that are beautiful, and things that are ugly. And all of those responses to these things deserve an outlet; sometimes just talking, writing essays, and describing them are not enough to engage our fellow humans in conversations about our shared world. I genuinely believe that art is the way to give young people the gift of responding to the world in eloquent and delicate and powerful ways. Art gives young people a voice, an outlet, and a way to participate in global conversations about their experiences.
I identify as both a progressivist and a social reconstructionist, pedagogically, and intend to use authentic assessments in the classroom to model real-life ways to incorporate art and expression into daily life. With the ISBE state standards (as well as Tolerance.org’s social justice standards) being as broad in their approaches to creating, presenting, responding, and connecting, there are so many opportunities to instill the skills into all of our students to become self-motivated learners and artists for the rest of their lives.
Creativity is the world’s greatest problem solver. Teaching a science-minded student about ways in which to critically think about their world, materials, cycles, patterns, built-in knowledge, and more is a way to engage them with being a creative problem-solver. In my classroom, students learn to be curious about the world and find ways to make others curious as well. My curriculum is developed out of both intuitions about the way students are feeling about concepts and themes and the world around them, as well as utilizing as many mediums as possible in order to expand their knowledge of what’s available to them. I want my students to consider all the different artistic options in the art world - from podcaster to animation cel developer to muralist to installation artist, dancer, graphic designer, and more - and find what makes them excited. In doing this, I hope to set an example and instill habits about finding ways to express our ideas and having as many tools in our toolboxes to work with to do so. I am especially dedicated to the idea that a school is a mini-community within the larger community and should both set examples of how the students wish their neighborhoods looked and felt like as well as the impetus of community beautification and action projects. I want to set my students up to be vibrant members of their communities and to help others amplify their voices as they have amplified their own.
With unlimited outlets and resources like utilizing technology, the ability to communicate and research endlessly online, and a continuous stream of local artists to meet and look to as guidance, I hope that I can give the young people I work with the ability to share their ideas and passions with the world in ways that excite them. I believe that Project-Based Learning coupled with the 8 Artist Habits of Mind are two of the best ways to go about engaging young people in what they are passionate about. Not all of the students who pass through my classroom will become great artists, but that is not the point of art. To believe so would be to feed into the capitalistic landscape of the current art world. The point of art education to give students the confidence and ability to take their responses to the world and creatively amplify them to the best of their abilities. I hope to instill empathy, expressiveness, problem-solving attitudes, a sense of community, storytelling, and most importantly, purpose, to their lives.