Philosophy of Education
The quick and short of it:
Classroom Organization: an organized room and clear expectations
Student Motivation: relevance, application, and relationships
Discipline Approach: Inquiry, restorative justice and recognizing choices
Classroom Climate: Building relationships, safe, comfortable and meaningful
Teaching approach: Use the right tool for the job, all of the tools are important
Change: Advocate of the arts, art is the voice of change
Classroom organization is the first key to an effective teaching style. The art classroom is one that could easily be unorganized and rather messy if not consistently cared for and kept up. Having studio space of my own has helped me to realize the importance of organization in a creative space. Some may argue that creation is chaotic and therefor requires no law (organization) I disagree. Especially with children and young adults, it is imperative to encourage organization and cleanliness in an area with so much chaos. This will also help to develop a sense of respect and pride for the classroom. Respect for the materials that they utilize, respect for other people’s materials and works, and respect for themselves. Children and young adults respond well to environments when they are organized. Designating certain areas for each particular type of art that will be made in the classroom is the first step. Creating plenty of storage for works in progress, and for supplies of the individual students is also important. Some schools request that the students keep their supplies in the art room to reduce the possibility of a student coming to class unprepared. I think this is a good starter approach, but should be expanded upon. In elementary and middle school settings the materials are usually supplied for the most part, dependent upon the setting, the organization may look a little different. It remains important to include.
Curriculum development is something l would like to be a collaborative effort with other art teachers to a certain extent. I will work to keep my lessons interesting and challenging with application to current events, technology, and industry/education standards. There are so many techniques available to teach that I would welcome a district that supports a collaborative approach to the art curriculum. I would also challenge myself and collaborating teachers to include exploration as well as cross curriculum collaboration. It would be interesting to experience the changes that would come of this type of making. I feel it is necessary to reference curriculum outlines that utilize an order of instruction and focuses on the natural flow of learning.
I find that having a lesson plan is imperative to staying organized and being prepared for whatever may come up in the classroom. Whether I collaborate with other art teachers in the district or not; each lesson plan will still be my own implementation of that curriculum. My goal is to incorporate an emergent style curriculum and allow students to build more rich understandings of the information, techniques they learn, and experiences they have. I feel that with experience that will develop in my teaching style. In the beginning I would like to maintain a modified choice based art room, leading a mostly student-centered classroom.
There will be performance-based assessments within my classroom. Art is not necessarily a subject in which traditional assessment can be employed. Although, I can foresee a need for some written style tests in an art class, in situations of rules or vocabulary. Most art curriculum is something you must demonstrate technique as well as knowledge. Even in the event that I were to teach another subject I would rather utilize application based assessments rather than written tests. Show Me what you know. I want my students to know how to use the information, and make relevant meaning from that information.
Student motivation is important to effective teaching. If students are uninterested in the subject or the current project they will take nothing away from it. Learning about your students at the beginning of the school year may help to determine what motivates them. Understanding your students, if possible, will be key in balancing the curriculum and classroom in a manner that encourages both internal desire and external action. Falling well within the range of interactionist, I find that achieving a balance, however difficult, may provide better results and more motivated students.
I believe that all people are capable of making good decisions, as well as bad. It is my job to point out both. To help those in question find the best path to fixing whatever problem has arisen. Teachers have practiced leading a student through a series of inquiries to arrive at the solution for centuries; this is where I shall start as well. I understand that sometimes there are other currently unsolvable issues that may arise in the classroom that may require another kind of intervention altogether. This is when the set discipline of the school comes into play. In a situation where I am unsuccessful in bringing about the solution, the student is unwilling to solve the problem, or the student is a repeat offender that is when the situation must leave my classroom. So in essence in the area of discipline, I will be a catalyst for problem solving in the classroom. Teaching students to handle their issues with little to no exterior influence or unneeded repercussions is somewhat a long process and should be practiced throughout their academic career. It is an underlying responsibility of all who are involved with the students, throughout their education.
Art is both a collaborative endeavor as well as a private activity. When considering this one must allow for both to flourish within the classroom without detriment to any involved. I believe that everyone should be able to express themselves in whatever way is most comfortable to them. To a reasonable and legal extent I will encourage this in my classroom. Involving the students in a community event as a project or with already completed projects will foster a sense of accomplishment and doing things that matter. It feels boastful to predetermine in full what the climate of my classroom will be until I am there, but I will do everything within my power to create a comfortable, stress-free, encouraging and meaningful environment. I believe this begins with connecting with my students, knowing their names and some of their interests will be the first thing I do, at each beginning.
After reviewing all of the known philosophies of education, under the categories of teacher-centered and student-centered philosophies, I have yet to believe that any one of those incorporated alone will provide a desirable success rate for learners. I do believe that each one has a valuable teaching mindset that applies to certain situations, projects, subjects, students and teachers. I compare it to a builder’s toolbox. If a builder does not have all of his or her tools they cannot effectively complete the job. These philosophies are a teacher’s tools in a toolbox. To only use one would effectively do one type of job but be rather ineffective on another. So you see, a wise teacher would choose to have all of his or her tools present when heading off to work. I intend on bringing my toolbox every day and hope to find new tools, and tips along the way.
As a teacher I am an agent of change, but how do I want to fulfill my position in this agency? I am a rational person by nature, I believe that all things can be accomplished, solved, adapted, and affected by rational thinking. It is then no surprise that I should choose to be an agent of change in encouraging students to think critically about art and society. How these two will affect each other, how they benefit and in what ways do they change. To understand the basic effects on art by society throughout history, may allow the students to analyze current events in a different light. I am also a firm believer in standing up and advocating the changes you want to see. Therefor, I may be inclined to encourage students beyond rationally thinking about change, but ways to rationally bring about change.