Day 21: Betsy, Middle and Upper School Art Teacher

[ By on October 05, 2012 ]

 Today, I was struck by the growing cohesiveness in each of my classes. On the first day of school, there were individual students in the art room. A month later, each class has begun to exhibit an energy of its own. Students have met new people, formed new friendships, connected with old friends, and have begun to get to know me, and I them.

In particular, one section of my eighth grade studio art class is coming together as a group. Today, during our closure (or critique) of their still life drawings, I noticed a comfort level, or an ease, that has developed. Students were willing to share some of the challenges in their work in a more serious and meaningful way, or support a classmate with words of encouragement or praise. At the start of a new year, students are likely to be more tentative, in part because they’re reluctant to take risks and to be vulnerable in front of their teacher and peers. However, for self reflection to take place and for the learning to make an impact, the environment of the room must feel safe and the group must be cohesive. Creating a space of mutual respect produces a setting where students can feel safe to explore and take risks. In a nurturing, engaging and stimulating environment, students will be encouraged to think in multiple ways, and understand that there are multiple solutions to a problem. This leads to critical thinking. Only then can the magic of unlocking the imagination happen.


Betsy teaches art in the Middle and Upper Schools.


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