During my education courses this semester there has been a running theme and general agreement on what teaching and education should be. The consensus is that education doesn't just mean reciting information at students for them to memorize. Education should be tailored to what the students will find important. Lessons should relate to the students' lives in some way, it should relate to the world around them, and it should relate to other subject areas outside of its own. Making art is wonderful, but if the student cannot see the importance then what was the point? As teachers we need to be able to explain why what we teach matters to the students' lives. It doesn't make much sense to make students recreate a cubist painting by Picasso when no one paints that way anymore. Creating a project about graphic design or abstract expressionism however, is something that artists still do today. How can you justify to students that creating cubist paintings is important if the culture they live is deems that it is not? Rather, the students should understand the importance of the movement in history, but in studio create something relevant to current art. It's this connection to their lives and culture of today that will keep their interest and ultimately deepen their understanding of the lessons.
For elementary school I attended Richard Kane Elementary in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Throughout my time there I had 3 different art teachers. Kindergarten through third grade, Mr. DePalma was my teacher and while I can't remember why I know he was my favorite. The one memory I do have of him was during a library class, where he came in and illustrated a story as the librarian read it. I was amazed by how fast he could draw and how animated he was as he drew. The second of my teachers was only there for a year, Ms. Wilkie, and I just remember her reading a Narnia book to us... not much art. Mr. Graham was the last teacher I had, his class I remember the most. We made boomerangs, lots of boomerangs, more boomerangs than I ever want to see ever again. I don't remember caring much for art in elementary school, I much preferred math and science. During my elementary years most of my art inspiration and education came from my grandmother. Every weekend in the summer I would go to her house and she would show me how to use watercolor, acrylic, oil pastel, or anything else I could get my hands on.
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Mrs. Samantha Anderson
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