I believe that as an art educator, I should offer every student an opportunity to develop creative skills and competencies within a supportive and encouraging environment. The art-room is a community in itself, and as such, I feel strongly about nurturing an inclusive and holistic classroom.
I seek to prioritise the creative process in each scheme of work undertaken with students, in order to introducing them to a structure that mimics formats associated with new classroom based assessments. I have in my previous teaching incorporated formative assessment into schemes of work, with the aim of placing a value on the process and not necessarily always the product.
I am a strong supporter of the use of digital technology in the classroom and see the digital sketchbooks option in the new Junior Cycle Visual Art Curriculum as a great opportunity to offer students a platform (to document their creative process) in which many of them are highly proficient. While teaching in St. Louis Secondary School and in Ardscoil Rís, I incorporated a number of different digital technology resources into my teaching to support students learning and increase the audience of students work. Students used mobile devices to photograph their 3D work in progress and captured high quality images of their final pieces using a DSLR camera. Digital online platforms provided a space for students work to be shared online and offered an opportunity for students to receive feedback on their coursework.
I believe that engagement with the wider community, is important in order to enrich students experiences in the art room. Offering students opportunities to engage with industry and the general public helps them to develop interpersonal skills necessary for everyday life, while also acting as a motivator during the creative process. I have found in my previous teaching that providing such opportunities supports knowledge acquisition and encourages expressions of empathy by students.
Over the last two years, reflective practice has enabled me to critique my own teaching while also providing a space whereby, I can determine effective teaching strategies for a group of students moving forward. I have over the course of my teaching practice specifically used reflective practice to improve my ability to differentiate for SEN in the classroom, while also finding it useful in develop strategies for group work.
I am continuously looking to improve my own skills and knowledge in the field of education and associated areas. In terms of professional development, I hope in the near future to undertake occupational first aid training to further reinforce my ability to deal with any issues that may arise in a classroom/ within the school grounds.