This is from Billi London-Gray.
I have five years of classroom teaching experience, but teaching art to college students strikes me as something that will be different from my experiences teaching general education courses. I think of myself as a good teacher – fun, organized, clear about my expectations and course goals, respectful, attentive to different learning styles, building co-learning into class activities, prompt at giving feedback, making good use of time, etc. using best practices – but I feel like there’s more at stake in teaching art. I think people tend to regard art-making as something different, something way more personal and reflective of their own creativity and identity, than other kinds of learning activities. (I mean, think about why you are an artist.) At some point in childhood or adolescence, it seems like many people categorize themselves as either “artistic” or “unartistic” and correspondingly develop confidence or anxiety toward anything art-related. Since a foundations course will have both art majors and non-majors, I would expect folks to enter the class looking for confirmation of their gifts and choice of major, or concerned about being creative/talented “enough”, or dismissing the class, perhaps as a safeguard against anxiety.
So how do you encourage creativity and make art rewarding while still evaluating performance? How do you help break down that binary – artistic vs. unartist, creative vs. not creative – when students will still self-sort through evident levels of skill, interest and performance? What are your thoughts?