Thursday, January 04, 2007

Thoughts on Teaching and Learning

I am still breathing! I have just been lying low because I am not feeling too crisp.

Seems like January is going to be a whirl wind of preparation. Yesterday I was invited to teach a 5 part series on ATCs to kids which will likely begin mid-February. I am excited about this because it's always fun to expose kids to mixed media art. I remember when I was in elementry school. It was a small school-there was only one teacher for each class and back then, classes were split (two or three grades in one room) because there weren't enough kids to make a full grade class. Anyway, the grade 6 teacher was Mr. Hanna. Mr. Hanna was the teacher whom everyone couldn't wait to have because Mr. Hanna's passion was art! He would do all these very cool art projects and everyone was just dying to get to grade 6 so they could do them. I remember making clay masks, painting and firing them. I loved working with clay. My Gram still has that mask hanging on her bedroom wall!

I get alot of satisfaction from going into schools and sharing my love of art with the kids. They are enthusiastic learners and while I can show them what to do initially, they always surprise and delight me with their own take on the project. It's that give and take that happens, that is so exciting.

Just prior to Xmas, I taught my altered mirrors class to two classes of grade 6/7 students. At the end of the class, I asked the kids if anyone thought before they started that they couldn't do it because they didn't think they were an artist. Lots of hands went up. One girl said she didn't think she could do it at first, but once she started, she realized what she was doing was good! A couple of boys chimed in and agreed with her. That's a golden moment right there! It's a good lesson for all of us as artists, wherever we are in our learning and creating: never underestimate yourself! There is courage in even starting something and once you start, you never know what you will learn along the way.

"Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I am enjoying reading your blog. I am a teacher at a school in LA that has not had any art for at least the 4 years I have been teaching there. We will finally get an art program next week. I think it is insane on several levels. For one thing I was not a great student, but I LOVED art class as a kid. I believed that I was good at it. I liked school because of the projects. Second, LA is one of those cities that exports a great deal of art to the world in the form of movies& music.We have amazing murals all over the city. Art is valued by the community, yet we don't make it a priority for our children in the public schools. Crimes against humanity. Truly. That sounds horrible, but when children don't believe in themselves creatively they are wounded. Anyway, that rant was just to say that when you go into a school and do art with kids, you change lives. Do not underestimate this fact for a minute!