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Final tph2


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Final tph2

  1. 1. Teaching Philosophy Paper Coordinator: Veronique Olin Otago Polytechnic Assessment: Combined GFS/LCL 1
  2. 2. What does learning and teaching mean to me? When I think about learning, the first word that comes to mind is ‘fun’. From my personal experience as a student, ‘fun’ is an important motivator for me. This does not mean not working hard on my studies, but rather that I feel excitement and enthusiasm about learning the chosen subject. Viewed from the perspective of being a teacher and having observed students in my art and creativity class, I have definitely noticed that students who have ‘fun’ while working on a chosen project, do enjoy the learning process. As a teacher, I will endeavour to always find a way to inspire the students to chose an art and creativity project, which they will enjoy. Method of teaching I teach ‘in process’, a method I learned while studying an Advanced Diploma in Art and Creativity with ‘The Learning Connexion’, International Art School, Wellington, in 2010/11. This particular course of study was focused on the topic of ‘Process, Materiality and Horizontality’. Basically, each student chose one material, for example: paint, stone, fabric or anything else of interest and then started to work with it horizontally (on the floor or any flat, horizontal surface), exploring and building up a sequence of events, hence initiating a process of: ‘do one thing – which will then lead to an other’. The encouragement from the tutor was to ‘play and explore’, which 2
  3. 3. is not something I have ever practiced previously while studying. The responsibility for what I wanted to learn was predominantly mine as was choosing and working on a creative project I selected. ‘The Learning Connexion’ as a training provider was offering a learner centred learning approach (as cited in WikiEducator, 2012, Learner Centred Learning section). Based on my learning during this fascinating and fun year as an extramural student with The Learning Connexion, my choice of teaching method is strongly influenced by that experience. In the Art and Creativity class at Springhill Addiction Rehab, rather than telling my students a lot of theory about a particular material, I will only point out the basics. For example: acrylic paint is water based, hence we use water to wash the paint brushes and we can choose how thick or thin we want the paint to be by adding more or less water to it. I then encourage the students to explore the material, starting a process of getting to know it by experimenting. Through this process, a lot of theory is inevitably learned as a consequence of exploring that particular material. One thought or action progresses to the next, creating an overall process. A lot of learning can result from simply ‘doing it’. Through this way of teaching and learning, creative thinking is also encouraged. Learning ‘in process’ creates freedom to explore rather than starting with a preconceived idea of how it is ‘meant to be’ or of embarking on a traditional method of using materials. Working in process frees up the person to ‘play’ rather than to ‘perform’. Teaching ‘in process’ can be taught to students of any skill level or from any background; from beginners in the field of art and creativity to more advanced 3
  4. 4. students with previous knowledge, which makes it the perfect method for the environment I teach in (Addiction Rehab), as there are students from very diverse backgrounds. ‘In process’ is also the way I work as an independent artist. Through ‘practicing what I teach’, I am constantly learning as well, hence I stay in touch with the process of learning. While teaching the subject of art and creativity, I also learn from my students. Building on previous knowledge The freedom created by working ‘in process’ also encourages everyone to use previously acquired knowledge gained from any field of professional or from everyday life (as cited in WikiEducator, 2012, Adult Learning Theories, Principles and Practices section) hence building on previous knowledge. For example, someone who has worked as a pastry chef would find creating something from clay relatively easy because of similarities in texture and how the material behaves. Someone who has worked as a builder might find it easy to transfer some of that knowledge to carving plaster. I believe that learning can be very successful by utilising previous knowledge and relating it to different situations and/or materials. One of the first things I do when I welcome a new student is to discover through conversation what kind of previous knowledge my student brings to class. Based on that information, I will then help him or her to decide on a suitable project. 4
  5. 5. Learner Centred Environment I enjoy an interactive relationship with my students and will encourage everyone to ask questions. If I do not know all the answers I am happy to acknowledge that. It is likely that this will be the case more than once, as the subject of art and creativity is simply huge. The students and I often end up in discussions about a subject, exchange existing knowledge and brainstorm about possible solutions. The students become actively involved, find out answers themselves by researching through the Internet (for students who have access to a computer) or sometimes they will get books from the library. This way of facilitating a class encourages deeper learning (as cited in WikiEducator, 2012, Deep Learning section). In my current teaching position, I don’t teach only one topic, like drawing or painting for example, but I rather cover many different materials and artistic techniques, as well as some crafts. I will also research a topic in response to a question asked and follow up with some information and print-outs in the next class, hence I demonstrate a willingness to learn myself and at the same time support learning in my students. I invite suggestions from students about what projects/topics are of interest to them for future classes. I believe that learning and teaching is a social process of interaction, sharing, discussion and collaboration. The social constructivism approach encourages active learning (as cited in WikiEducator, 2012, Adult Learning Theories, Principles and Practices section). 5
  6. 6. Balance of Power A learner centred environment (as cited in WikiEducator, 2012, Learner Centred Learning section) creates a balance of power through the active involvement of the students with each other and also with the teacher. I often create the class content by deciding together what everyone would like to do. This approach creates a relaxed environment. Learning ‘in process’ is often something new to the students and because of this, students’ start off on ‘the same level’, which creates a sense of equality. Positive feedback is the norm in my class and I will encourage students to relate to each other and their individual artwork with positivity. As a consequence, no matter what the student’s ability, age, gender or cultural background, the environment feels safe and respectful towards self and others. Even a so-called ‘failed project’ is not a ‘failure’ as there can be a wealth of knowledge gained from the process, no matter what the result. If there are areas of possible improvement, suggestions might be offered but the choice to take these on or not is up to the student. Teaching art and creativity allows a lot of room for individuality. I believe that there are no right or wrong ways of creating and that every student’s preferences towards a project or material deserves to be supported. 6
  7. 7. The rewards of being a teacher For me, teaching means sharing the knowledge I have gained through my own learning and practical experience of a particular subject that I feel enthusiastic about. One of the most rewarding experiences for me as a teacher is to see a student find their own creativity, when enthusiasm blossoms and an impulse emerges to embark on a journey of creative exploration, which truly has no limits. The phrase: “The sky is the limit” can quite confidently be applied to art and creativity, which I find rather exciting. Being able to ‘transfer’ that enthusiasm to my students is definitely a very rewarding experience. 7