Friday, May 27, 2011

Human Development and Learning



("Plums" and "Hydrangea" are both abstract artworks I painted a few years after my graduate studies at The University of Chicago.)

"Art has a way of getting around man's intellectual and emotional prejudices. This is because art always speaks indirectly--whether in being the vehicle for delivering a new answer, or in causing a new kind of question to be asked that must be asked before any new answer can make sense." Robert L. Short.

      I think teachers should incorporate the knowledge of student development into their curriculum and provide innovative learning opportunities that support the intellectual, social, and personal development of all their students. In the article, Safe and Accepted In The Classroom, I write about how Maslow’s human developmental theory influences my choice of curriculum and strategies in the art classroom. Maslow, like most respected theorists, does help us to think about “how” we teach. We can definitely improve the health and welfare of our students by adopting and adapting some of his principles. It is possible for students to be nurtured in a pro-active environment and to be given safer communities to live in. As an art teacher, I hope to successfully fulfill those necessary practices that build self-esteem/character appropriately in my own students.
      Every experienced teacher builds upon the prior knowledge of those students who have attended public or private institutions before entering their classroom. One method of building upon prior knowledge of a student while introducing new information can be demonstrated through the application of curriculum that is designed to integrate more than one subject. I've included a set of lesson plans that integrate Botany/Zoology studies with art practices in my private portfolio. I wrote this curriculum during my pre-service studies. These lessons cover grades k-12 and expand upon both of the grade-level expectations present in the Science and the Fine Arts curriculum taught by Missouri public schools. There are so many ways to mix the fine arts with other subject areas and I indeed do this automatically with subjects like: Art History, Literature and Communications. However, I thought it would be a greater challenge to integrate science and the fine arts. I keep a larger portfolio of this ever expanding project at home; interested parties may request to view this collection in it's entirety during a interview.
      An additional way to build on a student's prior knowledge is to determine from their previous accomplishments, the level of achievement they have mastered. After doing this, a professional artist may then apply more or less challenging assignments to either an entire group of students or adjust the complexity of predesignated work within a lesson, according to the special needs of a particular student. In order for these methods to work with young people, one must be well informed about artistic methods and age appropriate child development. I've included a simple developmental grid here that demonstrates my comprehension of Piaget's age appropriate stages of cognitive development, because most teachers are familiar with his work.
      Because I comprehend/study the many processes of child development, I can and should create curriculum that challenges my students through the use of age appropriate materials/strategies on many different levels. During my student teaching at a local public school, I gained much experience in determining what methods worked best with broader skill sets of high school students. Included here is a chart I developed representing some Depth Of Knowledge suggestions for my high school drawing classes. This chart will serve as both a reminder and an abundant resource for drawing objectives in any lesson plans that I may develop for future applications in the classroom.
      Art educators also build upon the knowledge base of their students by incorporating their own experiences and academic education into the classroom environment. It is very necessary for a 21rst Century art educator to be familiar with a wide variety of techniques and philosophies. He or She may need to teach students who are different from one another in their personal development, habits, and culture. I have painted in many different styles throughout my career as a studio painter. Cubism, Expressionism, Impressionism and Photo Realism are just a few of the techniques that I have become accomplished at within my lifetime. I’ve included at the top of the page two examples of abstract artworks ''Plums" and "Hydrangea." I painted these two pieces a few years after my graduate studies at The University of Chicago. I can demonstrate through my professional portfolio, extensive painting acumen during a private interview should a administrator or colleague need me to do so.

article copyrighted 2011 by Grimm