This is the formal statement of my teaching philosophy, first developed when I initially sought a position in postsecondary art education. Although it has been finetuned and slightly revised over the years, it remains an accurate reflection of what I strive for in the teaching of art, and more specifically in the teaching of drawing. The memory of walking into a classroom of students for which I had complete responsibility for the first time still fills me with wonder and terror. I was no longer the student waiting to be showered with pearls of wisdom from my instructor. I was the instructor. The sense of awe and responsibility that I felt was simply overwhelming, especially since I had come from an undergraduate experience that seemed to promote the laissez-faire approach—for the most part, there was not a lot of active teaching taking place. The unspoken philosophy during my undergraduate years seemed to be one of passive instruction, supported simply by the primarily silent and stoic presence of the faculty member in the classroom. With few exceptions, there were no lectures or demonstrations given, there were no slides shown as examples, there were no textbooks or reference materials recommended or required, no group critiques or discussions of materials and media, no mention of current philosophies or issues in the art world. As students, we were often left to fend for ourselves. For the student with some natural ability, it may not have been a traumatic experience, but for the student who needed more guidance and encouragement, it was often an experience filled with frustration and a sense of failure. This was not the environment I wanted to re-create for the students for whom I was responsible. Once again, although in a very different role, I found myself on my own. As I gathered teaching experience in the classroom, I saw with increasing clarity the significance of the foundation experience for the student of visual arts. The quality of this introductory experience had the power to broadly influence a student’s entire attitude toward his or her education in the arts.
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