Reposted from Teaching Artist Studio participant Chas Martin’s blog www.chasemartin.com
In November, I participated in the Young Audiences Teaching Artist Studio, a 5-day intensive workshop focused on classroom skills for artists who teach. Teaching artists are working artists who share their knowledge with students while working collaboratively with classroom teachers to integrate art into related studies.
I thought my experience as an artist and communicator was sufficient to connect with students. Yes and no. Yes, I knew how to connect with some students. No, I was not connecting with all students. Here’s one of the things I now understand more fully.
There are many different learning styles. Some students learn best through reading. Others learn through hearing. Some learn faster through hands-on exercises. Still others benefit through song, dance, role play, etc. I’m a visual artist. It comes as no surprise that I learn best through images and kinesthetic or hands-on techniques. But that’s just me. The art of teaching art has to address all learning styles.
A teaching artist is expert in both an art form and the skills for communicating that knowledge to a full spectrum of learning styles. This is one of many valuable experiences I gained during the workshop. I have already integrated a number of techniques. With my painting students, I have them drag an empty brush over an existing painting to help them examine the brush strokes of the original painter. I found this creates a bit of suspense which fully engages students. Then we imitate those strokes with a brush loaded with pigment. In the process, they see, feel, hear my description, and describe their own observations. It also makes their strokes more deliberate and expressive.
Young Audiences Teaching Artist Studio is a professional development program for teaching artists in Oregon and SW Washington.
Are you interested in participating in Teaching Artist Studio Workshops? Click here to see what’s planned for February and March.