Everything you’ve ever heard about art is a lie: Art is easy. Art is fast. Art is only for the artistic. Art is not applicable in the real world.
Art doesn’t matter.
If all of these things are lies, why teach a lie? Ultimately, why teach art? The steps of the artistic process: doing, intending, making, realizing and re-intending apply to many real-life processes. Art holds the power to transcend content areas, learning styles, ages and real-world professions. However, when we look to art classrooms, certain teaching practices must be pursued in order for students to successfully apply the artistic process. I believe by using the following educational tools, the education of art promotes children’s growth in a cognitive experience beyond compare.
- promoting artistic choice
- allowing for experimentation
- catalyzing artistic dialogue through critiques
- successfully establishing accommodations
- strategic assessment
The academic Visual Arts standards- comprehend, reflection, create, and transfer- are designed to support the nature of process in the classroom. A platform of cooperative balance between teacher engagement with students and the student motivation and inspiration. Planning choice-based lessons and units allow students to reach their own successes rather than that the outcomes of a “pre-prescribed” art program. Moreover, this standard-based curriculum develops larger thinking skills with a pertinence beyond the creation of art, including:
- technology literacy
- critical thinking
- developing a sense of personal identity
By creating curriculum content that guides self-identity in the classroom, classroom management becomes part of the culture of the class. I believe it is harder to disrupt a community you helped to create. In class we model the how professional artists maintain a studio and creative culture. I use a chart illustrating the consequences of disrupting that classroom environment (below) and emphasize:
- the power to “own your actions”
- acknowledging positive behavior
- “no nonsense nurturing”
The beauty of an art classroom is the students are the fuel. This is why art matters and why art should be taught. There are very few spaces in education, where children have the opportunity to choose what they want to learn and in so have success. When students develop their own learning they are set up to be more engaged, feel greater pertinence to the material and ultimately, have a passion for their own education. Everything you’ve heard about art is a lie.