What are my goals in the art room?
- break down the barriers between disciplines
- make art and the rest of academia relevant to the lives of students
- encourage creative thinking, problem solving, cultural relativism and the many other skills that we can learn through art to improve our community and world.
The art educator should not only focus on facilitating a student’s exposure to the art world, cultivating their aesthetic awareness, and honing their art making skills, but also with helping students acquire the intellectual skills associated with these studies, such as problem solving, self-reliance, creative thinking, critical thinking, making cross-discipline connections, and gaining an understanding of cultural relativism. As a result, these skills may be applied to the study of their core subjects, as well as to their personal, and eventually professional, lives. The art room is a place were other studies, such as history, math, science, philosophy, geography, literature, and vocabulary can be reinforced, brought together, and applied to daily life.
Projects are a tool to help students understand and be able to synthesize the accumulation of information and experiences they are exposed to. Therefore, the art curriculum must be a balance of art making, contemporary and early art history, and verbal or written expression of artistic themes, either through critique, creative writing, brainstorming activities, historical examination, or teacher-lead discussion. This approach functions for all ages with varying expectations. Where age appropriate, the educator must also be a conduit for the student to outside opportunities by making them aware of resources in the community, extracurricular activities, colleges, scholarships, and occupations.
For an art lesson to fully function as a resource in a child’s education, all lesson plans should incorporate a link between the subject being discussed and the following: one or more core subjects, real-world situations, and the student’s personal life or interests. They should also include verbal or written communication and foster a cumulative development in cognitive skills. Where possible, students should be given options concerning the smaller details of a lesson, encouraging a propensity for leadership, an individualized synthesis of ideas, and self-reliance. The educator needs to be responsive to what learning method works best for each student, along with being aware of their strengths, weaknesses, and interests, as these factors greatly determine how a student will learn, what they will retain, and how what they learn will impact their lives and academic success.