Dr. Mark Seals
7 February 2012
Teaching is a multifaceted profession. When teaching in different areas and to different students one must adapt and adjust to these situations which is what I believe about how the best way to teach is. That is not to say that there aren’t set, solid rules for all situations, for example not talking during demonstration times and that the last ten minutes of class are to clean up all the supplies that the students have acquired throughout the class period. However, there are adjustments in the severity of punishment when it comes to the student’s specific home problems or other varying problems they are facing.
When it comes to teaching art I think that this all applied beautifully. In my experience the best way to teach and experience art is with some overall structure and then some personal direction when it comes to individual projects. For example, for a ceramics section of a class the assignment would be to do a coil built form, after a demonstration on the techniques, of their choice. This gives students a lot of creativity when it comes to what they decide to make but still gives students enough structure when it comes to having deadlines and instruction.
Demonstration is the best way for students to understand the techniques and concepts that art is based around and so one of the rules I would have for my classroom is that there will be absolutely no talking while I am talking. Much of the rest of the time students will be spending in the classroom will be doing work independently and in groups which they’ll be able to talk during which’ll make the silence during demonstrations easier to do and hopefully more acceptable.
One of the articles I read in my education classes at Alma said that it’s not the kids that are changing but the world they are living in. so it’s not today’s kids that I’m going to be contending with as a teacher but the environment they have to interact with on a day to day basis. The world today is hard, especially for kids at the middle school level who are attemping to discover who they are. This process can be extremely challenging when they are being pressured to do drugs and drink and sneak out of their houses for a few examples not to mention the multitude of other stresses that they have to deal with. I think that because of all of these issues it is very important to know a student’s background so you know the best ways to approach them, deal with them in discipline situations, and encourage them to do their best work. Their personal background is just as important, if not more so, than their academic background. A personal relationship is the bedrock on which a good classroom environment and a strong love of learning can be built.
When it comes to what is worth knowing I feel that it all is in art. There are so many different techniques, styles, and subjects that can be inspirational and that different students will become good at and find fascinating. I think that the surest way to encourage all students to their fullest potential is to do various projects that each focus on a different area of art so students can get their feet wet in several of the different disciplines of art and hopefully find something they’d like to pursue at a later date in time. A final project would be for each student to do a large project, to be approved by myself of course, in their favorite area of art. Clearly this approach would change if the course was more specified in nature, for example in a ceramics course all the projects would be ceramic in nature though the students would be able to experiment and experience different techniques of hand building and wheel throwing as well as the different techniques within those areas. I think that in art it is also important to have some aspect of history, at least at this level. The history of various art forms should be used as a way to break up the monotony of normal classroom activities. I think this is especially important for the areas of the class which deal with different painting style such as those used by the cubists and expressionists.
In my experience the way students learn art best is through practice and then making adjustments in according to the gently critiques of myself. Therefore most lessons will proceed in the order of a demonstration on the medium or style of technique that we’ll be dealing with and the students will then individually practice on their own while I circulate the room to assist and adjust the student’s performance. As for the types of projects the best way for students to improve and build on their knowledge of topics is to begin with several smaller projects so that they can acclimate to whatever it is we are doing at that point in time and them to finish with a large project that demonstrates their skill in whatever topic.
Classroom environment should reflect all of these things. It should be a very structured and labeled classroom but with tables for groups and prints of influential art on the walls. Art supplies must be well organized and clean or chaos ensues with glue and paint dried on everything and most of the supplies rendered useless because the caps have left off. I want my students to be creative and let their imaginations lead them when it comes to their artwork but when it comes to the supplies they must be respectful and clean. This is why the last ten minutes of every class period will be for cleaning up and every tale will have to have everything in the order and neatness that they found it before they can be dismissed.
School and the public school system is one of the things that makes America great. As someone who went through the public school system I have a lot of respect for it and I think that it’s a great thing. However, it’s financing system could certainly use some work as schools in low income areas do not receive anywhere near enough funding to run an effective school but I digress. To me school is the most important thing we can offer to our children and therefore we should strive to provide the best school atmosphere and learning experience we can. The most important aspect of school is learning, learning as much as you can about as many things as you can to give the student a good foundation for whatever future they want. This is why we have a mandatory public education system so that our citizens all have the same basic education and though this system is not equal in all parts of the country we should emphasize learning wherever we teach. The second most important part of school is the social aspect. Though there are legions of teacher who when disciplining students will spout the words “You are not here to socialize!” school does teach students the basic social and people skills that they will use for the rest of their lives. Their social development happens primarily in the school system, and I did state above learning does come first and I stand by this statement, we should also try to facilitate their social development as much as possible.
Teachers should strive to encourage and inspire their students whenever they can and in whatever manner they can. The classroom should reflect these values while being organized and structured. I think the way I will operate my classroom will promote these things and will contribute to a overall good classroom environment.