Teaching Philosophy

My philosophical approach to art education is laced with high expectations for all students and types of learners. I lean into the constructivist theory in which the base of student learning is rooted in their existing knowledge, experiences, and interests. Students learn best when they feel safe to be who they are, and that learning is more meaningful when they can connect it to their existing knowledge base. I aim to create an inclusive environment where relationships are paramount and serve to cultivate this type classroom culture.

I believe in a holistic approach to art where it can be integrated in a way that acts as a catalyst for students’ core classes. I trust the data. We know that students learn best when the material is reinforced through different modes and means. Understanding, retention, and application of topics can be affirmed and expanded on by providing connection. I am a big believer in interdisciplinary work in which students’ learning is met with a team that are all motivated to meet students where they are to help them get to where they want to be.

Growing up, my teachers became mentors in a way that my parents weren’t always equipped to handle. The feeling that stood out to me was confidence that it was okay to be me. I want to foster the same freedom of expression that my teachers afforded me. Students learn best when they are confident to be themselves in an environment that is conducive to healthy, positive relationships. This means that the curriculum and pacing can reshape depending on the ever-changing needs and dynamics of each class.

Emotional, social, and physical needs of the students vary greatly, as do the modes in which they receive and express information most effectively. This calls us to cater to these differences by providing instruction in a variety of ways. Therefore, having a wealth of different strategies and activities for each lesson will ensure that no one is left out. Getting to know my students individually is a goal that helps to inform how they understand information, and therefore how it needs to be shared with them.

I am an advocate for social justice through the arts. Throughout history, societal challenges have consistently been met with creatives who challenge the status quo. Through art history, art criticism, and studio art students will glean insights into the art world. Incorporating these different facets of the art community will prepare students to interact within their community in ways that can inspire and bring forth social justice. This gives students a voice and the power to use that voice in a transformative way. Art not only serves to build divergent thinking and creative problem-solving skills but is ladened with potential to heal and inspire communities.

I wish to uphold the idea of being a lifelong learner – allowing my personal practice to organically develop and grow through student mentorship. I seek to grow alongside my students as a human and an artist. This means having the courage to be vulnerable and take risks. It is at this intersection where meaningful growth and resilience is born. My practice and philosophy are always in motion, shifting and changing in response to students’ needs. Becoming A/r/topraphy, a foundational article that inspires my teaching, poses an insightful point, “Rather than asking what an art education practice means, the question becomes what does this art education practice set in motion do?” (Irwin, 2012, p. 3).