Philosophy of Education
It has been said that “The future of the world is in my classroom today, a future with the potential for good or bad.” (Ivan Welton Fitzwater). In my belief, this statement is fundamentally why teachers and the education of all children are so vital today to the continuation and improvement of our society. The future of our world, now more than ever depends directly on the people who live here. Because of this, I believe that the role of education must be rooted in fostering and nurturing people who will become active participants in the world and can successfully navigate the complexities of life, cultivating people who cherish diversity and believe in equality for all, and nurturing the desire in children to pursue their own happiness and hopefully work to help others to be happy as well. It is my belief that without excellent teachers and without a well rounded, quality education, these things would be difficult to come by, if not impossible. Art education is an important key in bringing these things together.
First and foremost, the students that emerge from our schools ultimately need the skills and attitudes that will make it possible for them to be active and successful in whatever paths they choose to pursue. Art education, more than many other disciplines helps students develop these skills. When experiencing the arts, students practice higher order thinking skills such as problem solving, decision making, and the investigation of new concepts and materials. Art offers the freedom to explore without judgement and often without rules, allowing students to develop the understanding that personal success it is ultimately the individual’s responsibility.
We live in a world of diversity. Based on this premise, all teachers must be aware that all children learn differently and believe that all children can learn. Along with an education of fundamental knowledge and skills, I believe it is the teacher’s duty to help instil values of social interdependence, equality, and respect for each other and the planet on which we live. The skills and thought processes taught in art education directly support these values. Through learning about, discussing and creating art, which is a universal construct, children necessarily learn about themselves and others. Because art education can be connected to nearly all disciplines, students learn the concept that there are connections and relationships apparent in all of life. They also learn tolerance and appreciation, how to take risks and have the confidence to try new things and learn to recognize the difference between criticism and constructive criticism.
Last but certainly not least, I wish to instil in my students the desire to pursue their own happiness. Along with this pursuit must also be the knowledge of what happiness truly is. While this may be a tall order to try to fill, I believe that through art education, students can come closer to knowing themselves, and therefore closer to knowing what truly makes them happy. Art teaches that there isn’t always a right or a wrong answer. Instead it is through experimentation and investigation that students look deeper into themselves and the world around them. In this way, students learn to interpret, define and most importantly they learn to ask questions. It is when you stop asking questions, when you believe that what life has to offer is finite, that boredom and apathy set in. With art education, I believe that a student’s inner curiosity can be ignited and nurtured to lead them in a lifelong pursuit of their own happiness.
As an educator I will strive to include different viewpoints, cultures and types of people in my teaching methods and lessons. It is important for students to appreciate our differences and value the underlying similarities between us all. I will help lead students to knowledge through relating the material to the student’s lives, helping them to identify and make meaningful connections. It is these connections that guide students to higher levels of thinking and turn their education into a positive and powerful resource in the creation of themselves. And lastly, I will give students the freedom to make mistakes, learn from their efforts and explore the possibilities this world has to offer.