Every year at this time, just a few days away from the start of the year, I get reflective and introspective. I'm thinking about, as always, what I want my kids to learn and also about what the value of an arts education is. Here's what's on my mind.
Goals for The Year
1. Build an understanding that art is powerful and relevant.
I want to expose my students to art that will expand their world view and extend their thinking. I want to challenge their understanding about what art can be. To do this I'll show lots of current, working artists and find a diverse body of work that reflects an inclusive view of who can make art.
2. Work toward creating personally expressive work.
I believe that communicating meaningful ideas is something all kids are capable of. My role in supporting this is setting students up for success by directly teaching creative thinking. Another key aspect is selecting themes that ask for examining big ideas. In the past I've seen good results with themes like "identity" and "current issues". This year I want to try "freedom" and ask students to look both at what freedom is to them and who lacks it in our society.
3. Make art fun.
You shouldn't have to be one of the top artists in the class to enjoy art or to get an A. In fact, some of the people who my class holds the most power for are those who enrolled to get their arts requirement out of the way. I want all my students to see that art is welcoming and inclusive. I want them all to be successful. We, as art teachers, can't complain about our programs not being valued or funded if we also complain about the ability level of students placed in our classes. It's valuable and necessary for everyone.
I'm an high school art teacher who's really interested in student choice and creating opportunities for self expression. I'm also a writer for The Art of Education and co-author of The Open Art Room.