The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be ignited - Plutarch
Learning, I believe, should be approached holistically and that the integral goal of a teacher is to educate individuals to embrace challenge and take responsibility for shaping a better world. My world is grounded in creativity, self-realization, and the process of becoming, and so my teaching practice and educational research in the field of Art Education emulate this.
I have three overarching objectives within my teaching practice. First of all, I want my students to engage in active, inspired creative learning. I seek to cultivate students who can critically discuss and evaluate artworks, artistic intentions, and processes in a nuanced, sensitive, and supportive manner as well as reflect on their personal art-making process. Secondly, I strive to produce students who are open-minded to international and cultural perspectives. Thirdly, I seek to foster a collaborative learning environment, where students can learn from one another. I aim to forge a sense of intellectual community so that students can imagine aesthetic possibilities beyond today's existing technologies.
As a Visual Arts teacher, I have had the opportunity to teach multi-levels of Visual Arts, specializing in higher secondary, within various national and international curriculums (both IGCSE and IB) and studio mediums of drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, and digital media. In my Ph.D. studies, I am exploring feminist perspectives embedded in the artist-teacher relationship through a lens of indigenous knowledge using research-creation focused on visual storytelling and the art teacher voice.
Within my educational practice, I strive to incorporate educational strategies and to create a learning community that is inclusive, nurturing, and vibrant. It is my belief, garnered through years of formative observation, that every student possesses creativity, a sense of inquisitiveness and is endowed with unique talents and gifts. It is my privilege to encourage and support each student within a safe space to embrace the artist within, developing personal mastery, and transformative understandings.
To facilitate this emergence, I design my curriculum to enlist students in the ongoing dialog between theory and practice. Lessons are structured in a non-formal way that allows me to define large concepts, pose open questions to incite discussion, illustrate expectations, and invite students to creatively explore their artistic journey personally and among peers. Critiques are safe spaces of positive observing; encouraging students to be a presenter, a viewer, and an interpreter. Diverse, multi-choice, student-driven assignments and projects that encourage collaboration and creativity are organized, accompanied with clarity of evaluation processes such as detailed feedback, rubrics, and re-submission guidelines so that students can feel confident to experiment and delve into the art-making process while sustaining rigour and achievement.
Process within art-making is an area of key focus and I consider knowledge, content, and technical skills equally relevant within the studio. I enjoy being a hands-on educator, demonstrating skills and processes while exploring outcomes alongside students, but I feel that self-directed education is the most effective way for students to engage in creative practices. Considerations of traditional, craft, and new materials media, as well as cross-curricular and transdisciplinary collaborations, are encouraged.
In my experience, modelling artistic and inclusive behaviour is the most effective way to encourage students to embrace their own creativity and overcome inner challenges. As an artist-teacher, I feel it is essential to share my own art-making processes and idea development as a way to elevate connection and relationship, making the obscure more visible. Real-world artists, artistic experiences, and relevant ways of knowing are invited into the classroom to reveal and examine how the creative work is grounded in experience and the broader contexts of culture and history.
My journey from art student to Visual Arts teacher to middle leadership within secondary schools to Ph.D. candidate and university instructor in Art Education has taught me the importance of fostering a relationship with the becoming, of finding the balance between technical skills and content, with honouring the art-making process over product and the need to promote inclusion, support, and guidance. It is my goal to highlight for my students that through exploring theoretical and artistic viewpoints, different techniques of art-making processes, and sharing educational strategies and stories while reflecting and evaluating, as an artist, a student, or an educator; Visual Arts learning is a rewarding process of becoming and expanding one’s creativity and conscious awareness.