Teaching Visual Art

Every teacher has their own way of working.  In my career, I followed my own inclinations in the way I structured my classes, but I also accommodated the requirements of the school  where I taught.  I fit my own ideas within the structures of the British Curriculum, the Advanced Placement program, and the International Baccalaureate Program in Visual Art; both the Diploma program and the Middle Years Program.
Most of my teaching experience is within the IB structure.  The IB requirements changed radically over twenty years  and the content of their course  became less of a studio art class, and more a course in academic humanism.  I disliked this shift and struggled to keep an emphasis on a creative process, free of the deadening influence of Postmodern pretenses; the idea that an artist can “talk” a work of art.

Nevertheless, the IB emphasis on process and research stands as a superior approach to teaching art, from my perspective. The units of study presented on my website can easily accommodate a Middle Years Program, and to a more limited extent, a Diploma Program class.  The units can also be adjusted for any secondary art program. 

The difference in skill and age levels within an art class,  has much to do with the scaffolding offered and the time frames assigned. The most serious mistake an art teacher can make, is to underestimate the ability of a student.  With enough time and permission to “fail” in attempts to master a  technique, an idea, or a theoretical problem, a student is encouraged to learn how to learn.   Showing a daily process in research journals puts the responsibility for progress squarely on the student and gives them a process by which they can grow.
I think the quality of student work shown in my art units testifies to the high standards students can achieve when they take a measured approach to projects, teaching themselves what they need to know in order to express their own unique voice.