Teaching | J. Alice Sipple
As a teacher and an artist, I believe that students of all
ages should be encouraged to express themselves through art. For 12 years, I have taught art in the United States, South America, and Europe and enjoy embracing other cultures.
Teaching comes naturally to me – nurturing the natural curiosity in students while assisting in their educational exploration. Like most dedicated art educators, I strive to meet the needs and interests of individuals during studio time and in written feedback while monitoring the artistic growth of the group as a whole through class discussion, evaluation and exhibition.
Experience has taught me that students tend to feel most comfortable with artistic expression when they are given guidelines that serve as a springboard for the imagination. At the start of each project, I make learning goals clear by providing students with a rubric. I have learned that rubrics help to make the art-grading process less subjective and protect students’ creativity and self-confidence.
Many of the projects I assign are grounded in art history or a cultural context. Once students have garnered this contextual information, I offer up a creative problem to solve. For each project, I teach certain artistic skills and techniques and make sure that students are familiar with the tools and materials necessary to complete the assignment successfully. When teaching at the high school level, I usually require students to keep a sketchbook for research, sketches and written reflections. Younger students also research, sketch and reflect, but are not expected to carry a book with them.
Upon completion of one of my courses, I hope that students will have obtained art historical or cultural knowledge and learned specific artistic skills and techniques. My goal is to provide students with a point from which to launch, or further explore, their creative selves.
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