My philosophy of art education has changed tremendously since I was in graduate school. If you were to ask me what art education means, I would’ve said something about discovering and embracing a sense of pride that comes with art making. Fast forward 11 years later and my answer is that art education stresses the importance of developing creative problem solving skills that are critical for success in a rapidly changing world. Over the years I have developed a curriculum that meets the needs of a diverse population of students. I am exploring how art education can merge diverse student interests and passions in an evolving, responsive and socially relevant way.
Currently in my classroom I am providing a safe space for my students to explore a variety of styles in Graffiti art that they personally have interest. In the past I have taught this unit and focused on specific styles while providing a minimum of at least three options with how to create a particular art form. Some examples are the formation of lettering in Graffiti; bubble/ block letters, wild style or tags. I have revised this unit, with authenticity in mind, to provide students a wider variety of choice with what style and technique to investigate and master. We have studied Graffiti in its various forms; stencil, poster, sticker, heaven, street art and guerilla art. In addition, students also have to write an individualized art plan that incorporates techniques to explore, research styles and artists and materials needed.
Authenticity in the arts focus on developing a students’ capacity to express their ideas and feelings and to present their creation in artistic forms. This has been accomplished in my class by incorporating opportunities for students to imaginatively develop their own ideas and solve problems. Students in my class also learn and practice skills with arts material, concepts, processes and think reflectively and respond to their own work and the work of others. Through the lens of authentic learning, I have provided a space for my students to explore problems that have a personal frame of reference. This happens when students are provided choice in defining the problem and selecting the path of its solution. This year I will be attending a P.D. for the Arts and we will probe what it means to know your students and plan effectively for their success. I will use my findings as a resource for the guiding question I am researching in relation to authenticity; how can I support all students to build deeper connections between themselves and their work, ensuring that their work matters to them? For some of my students I think that they are making art just for me or to simply pass the class. I look forward to discovering new ideas to ensure that every single one of my students has a personal investment in their art making.