I view education as a process that requires engagement and output from both the teacher and the students. It is important to feed off of your study body to help reach educational goals, getting the students involved and giving them an element of control. I feel Charles R. Garoaian expresses it best when he states, “The adage, ‘two heads are better than one,’ assumes that teachers and their students contribute different kinds of experience, knowledge, and expertise to education discourse.” This creates a richer learning environment, one where the teacher will have a greater probably of meeting the students’ varying educational needs.
Eric Booth discusses an inherent desire to make art, a catalyst that allows for a different way of knowing – it is essential to trigger this desire and preserve its existence for the remainder of the student’s life. By giving the students a voice in the educational process I can shift the environment from utilitarian and controlling to a more comfortable and malleable atmosphere where students will be invited to discuss and engage rather than being bludgeoned by instruction and technique. Allowing the students to be a part of the process as more than vessels for information is essential to help activate the catalyst that Booth discusses. By engaging this angle students can continue their exploration of art outside of the confines of the classroom and educational system.
There are general overlying issues, such as consumption, identity (difference), culture, history, and the idea of art beyond craft and pleasure that should be discussed within the art class. This poses a tremendous issue on how to cover these with certain barriers – large classes, diverse learning styles, limited time and funding, and so on. My philosophy on this is not yet determined, I feel tackling all issues could result in a crowded curriculum, resulting in poorly explored ideas. It would have to be through a series of connections; an assignment with some research, (which could be anything art related), class discussions, and a critical response through the issue researched expressed both visually and in words – this does not sound very exciting or captivating, so one would have to gauge their class to decide what they are most interested in, moving on from that point.
It is my intention to be a photography teacher, or at least teach in an environment with a primary focus on photography. To me photography is a means to engage with our visual culture, to convey messages and provoke discussions. It can be used to better understand our social and physical environments, as well as oneself. Living in a world where photography has become ubiquitous and accessible, it is important to remind others and myself that photography exists beyond the snapshot and the advertisement, and to examine exactly how such images affect us. As an educator I will aim to have my students explore these ideas, as well as more personal themes.
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