I want students to feel that there is a space for them to grow independently as well as within a community. My experience and involvement in classrooms that use choice-based and emergent learning curricula emphasize the importance of lessons that are adapted to what a classroom needs and even more importantly, what each student needs. As an educator, I ask myself: What does it mean to be in a classroom that helps facilitate students to think like artists? How can I provide the space for students to think critically about themselves intra-personally and interpersonally?
As a teacher of color, I believe that it is critical to have conversations about race, human rights, and education. Within those conversations, I do my best to help cultivate cultural responsibility and accountability. I want to support student growth as “agents of change” by developing open mindsets and exposure to other perspectives and stories to develop an awareness of themselves and others. I want to provide my students with a diverse range of exposure to representation in art history while fostering authentic learning. Building a variable knowledge base is fundamental for each student to produce autonomous and socially integrated individuals.
Having centers for different mediums stationed around the classroom is a way to foster freedom and autonomy for students. In promoting choices that are personal to them, students develop an understanding of material and subject matter. Arranged in this way, learners navigate the classroom as both individuals and as a community. They share knowledge and guidance for their peers as they experiment and analyze each station.
Student identity is very important to me as well; their personal experiences can be brought forth and shared with their peers to facilitate internal confidence and external social cohesion. I want to exemplify a deep passion by giving my students a safe space for self-expression, constant wondering and exploring. Meaningful and authentic works in art are what I strive for my students to create. I do not believe in any right or wrong way to make art; however, I would want for my learners to create works that they can both speak and think critically about.