As an art educator, I’ve learned each student is completely different in the way that they make art, and the way that they intake information. We have Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic/Tactile learning styles. Art students have different learning styles. Some are visual learners who need to see the information. Some are auditory learners who need to hear the information. Others are tactile/kinesthetic learners who need to move, do, or touch in order to learn. I myself have taken the steps to find out what kind of leaner I am, and wanted to implement this process with each and every one of my students to achieve the highest quality of education possible.
I discovered my love for the arts at a very young age, I knew it was always inside me because I found myself drawing constantly and always having my head in the clouds. Growing up with attention deficit disorder was difficult; I was always veering off and daydreaming during school hours. I was happiest when I was doodling during class, but I felt inferior when the bell would ring and I’d look around me to find everybody had a book full of notes meanwhile all I had were drawings. Weirdly enough I still paid attention during class; I would actually draw the pictures from textbooks and somehow be able to remember information based on visual images. I never knew what this meant, since at the time I seemed to be the only one learning this way. It did have an effect on my grades sadly because when it came to taking exams, it was only written terms and multiple choice bubbles with zero imagery from anything that we have learned. My teachers did not understand my doodle method, and looked at it as a distraction for me rather than an asset. My educational confidence was at an all time low, which caused me to lack motivation in everything that I did, including art. Still I used my love for creating as motivation to learn and adapt to traditional studying methods so that I could get into a good art school.
Once I entered college, I began taking academic courses for my Art & Design major, such as art history. I then realized, these classes were all about remembering imagery, and from what I can remember I was very good at that. I discovered a hybrid method, taking notes while also drawing out the images implanted that knowledge in my head instantly. This was when I discovered I was a visual learner, yet also a bit kinesthetic. Academically I am a visual learner, I need to constantly be drawing out what I am learning. For actual art making, I cannot pick up on techniques and methods without physically doing them myself. Watching a demonstration does nothing for me, so this is how I realized I am a kinesthetic art learner. Knowing how you learn first as an educator is extremely important, because until you understand your strengths and weaknesses, you can then understand your students as well. The puppets we have implemented into our program reflect the visual and audio aesthetic of each artist we are learning about. It creates a deeper and more personal level of getting to know who each artist is, instead of just mentioning a name and naming off facts about them. Creating a fun and open environment that appeals to all types of learners is our ultimate goal for this program.
I made a promise to myself that I would never become the teacher who gets frustrated with a child because they aren’t picking up on the lesson. This is a red flag for me that it is I who isn’t fulfilling their individual needs. The sign of a true art educator is to make sure you are meeting the demand of each student. This means treating audio, visual, and physical needs all at equal length. At the culture connection, my plan is to make sure I understand every student so that they can obtain the highest level of information and get the most out of these after school workshops, while also learning to have fun during the art making process.