Observing an Art Educator
Ms. Hodgson is an art educator in the 12th class who teaches a general visual course to 20 students. She is a young teacher who was inspired to share her passion of art with others; therefore, she chose the profession to communicate with youth and develop the feeling of aesthetics in them. Ms. Hodgson graduated from the OLV High School and Nipissing University and obtained Bachelor in Fine Arts, which allowed her to teach in middle and high schools. In addition, she ended her studies last year, so the class under observation is her first experience in the educator’s role. In this way, the assignment helped identify main mistakes that inexperienced teachers commit in the choice of educational methods and communication with students.
Ms. Hodgson believes that the role of a teacher is to provide students with information and encourage them to use their creativity for the development of new forms. Consequently, such purpose can be fulfilled through the combination of theoretical and practical stuff and home assignments that encourage learners to create their own pieces of art. Ms. Hodgson states that she wants each person to feel himself or herself as an artist during the class, so after the course, they know in which sphere of art they want to develop further. Therefore, the pedagogue is full of hopes and believes that students would devote their lives to art after the end of the course.
During a personal conversation, Ms. Hodgson describes her own insight concerning a great teacher. She states that a tutor of art should also be an artist; otherwise, he or she is not able to transmit feelings that one gets in the process of creation. The teacher emphasizes that a pleasure that one acquires working on a project and from seeing his or her creation is a mowing power that makes people return to art. In this way, she is persuaded that a good teacher should concentrate on practice. Talking about the course, she specified that one should teach students how to create visual forms and include some intention in them.
From the biography of the teacher, one can say that she does not have much practice of working with students; consequently, she might face difficulties that every teacher experiences stepping in front of the class. Besides, the ideas and expectations of the pedagogue demonstrate that she is more concerned about the spiritual side of the educational outcomes from the class than the informational load. In addition, Ms. Hodgson also neglects the importance of knowledge about art in favor of creativeness. In this way, the expectations before the classes are that she concentrates on visual images and their perception.
The classroom for the visual course does not distinguish from a regular class. Desks are located in two rows, while the teacher’s table is put aside. Therefore, a tutor does not have access to all students while sitting and is encouraged to stand up and communicate with the audience. The classroom is clean and simple so that one cannot see any creative elements in there. 70% of Ms. Hodgson class represents girls and 30% comprises boys. The learners sit in a mixed order that helps organize teamwork. The teacher provides each student with a pixel glass and a sketch notebook for a class, while the classroom also includes a projector and a laptop that allow Ms. Hodgson to show videos and presentations to the students.
The two classes of Ms. Hodgson analyzed for the assignment were devoted to editing. She started the first class with attendance list, then she used the video about printing to describe its history and modern techniques that widely used in arts. Besides, the teacher provided a brief description of the materials that are used in the process. During the second class, she showed a demo on editing. Then, Ms. Hodgson devoted some time to making sketches and finished the class with the individual discussion, including her thoughts on the matter.
The classes consist of three or four parts that refer to different activities; therefore, the students can improve themselves from different perspectives. Nevertheless, the location of the objects in the room is one of the problems for the class, as for example, during the discussion, some students are excluded since they sit far from the teacher. In addition, comments to other students’ responses are limited as far as an eye contact is not possible. In this way, a room for a visual arts class should correspond to the types of activities and encourage students to stay attentive that is not the case in the current high school.
Ms. Hodgson uses video that refers to the combination of visualization and listening method since the information that the students acquire from the source is supported by images on the screen. Besides, she devotes time to discussions that allow students to study through the share of their personal experiences and knowledge. In addition, practical assignments, such as sketches, belong to learning through doing, which is the most effective method of studying. Consequently, if such methods are applied correctly, a teacher should reach great results.
The class management techniques that Ms. Hodgson uses include ensuring group communication and share of experience by students. Besides, she prohibits to use any unnecessary electronic devices that distract students from the content. However, in general, class management is weak if to evaluate the behavior of students. For example, when Ms. Hodgson warned some girls that they might get a detention for chatting during the class, they did not stop their activity and disregarded the message. Apart from that, some of the students sitting in the behind rows where sleeping during the video as far as it was too long. Some were talking about everyday topics, while the interaction during the discussion was poor since the students were not interested in the participation. Moreover, boys and girls were hugging, while Ms. Hodgson was doing a demo. The reaction to warnings was groaning sounds. As a result, one can see that students do not respect their teacher and behave as they like feeling no responsibility for their actions. Consequently, observations from the class confirm that Ms. Hodgson has a poor class management.
Ms. Hodgson tries to motivate learners with the help of content; nevertheless, she does not manage to reach her purpose since some students are not interested in the class and use it as a free time for themselves. In some parts, one can get a feeling that the tutor realizes the situation in the class but does not know how to improve it. Consequently, one can assume that the state of affairs during the two visited classes was similar to the rest.
The discussion in the class is based on two topics. First, the teacher asks about the content of the video and theoretical knowledge that the learners should have as a background. Second, during the part where the students talk about their sketches, Ms. Hodgson asks about techniques so that she encourages the people to share their preferences. Such part is imaginative since others have to visualize provided descriptions and guess how they can look like. However, the discussion is relatively short in comparison to the entire duration of the class; therefore, the majority of time is devoted to the perception of the information that does not involve any creative activity.
The central outcome of this qualitative research is that the most significant part of every class is the engagement of students in it. Ms. Hodgson fails to get attention; therefore, an amount of intentional and acquired knowledge differs. Consequently, a teacher should not only see artists in his or her students but also consider them as an audience that wants content of high quality. Besides, another observation is that the classroom should correspond to the purpose of the class. For example, in the case of visual arts, all students should see the screen and be able to interact between themselves since discussion and practical part are more important than a theoretical base. In addition, a teacher should constantly communicate with students and offer interesting claims for discussion or some statements directed towards creative thinking. Therefore, the students should pay attention to the class and be willing to contribute to it.
To conclude, the observation of Ms. Hodgson demonstrates that she commits many mistakes that reduce the effectiveness of her classes. During the interview, she speaks about the higher purpose of the class and inspiration of students for arts, but at the same time, she fails to communicate with them and ensure the contact. For instance, a long video does not have any outcome since students are bored from watching it and switch to other activities. Therefore, a teacher should not forget about his or her purpose to educate others instead of talking about personal passion. He or she should act as a helper for students to realize their interests; thus, the individual work is highly appreciated as far as people distinguish, while everybody should gain profit from the course. Consequently, a teacher should develop a mixed approach that would pay attention to the individual needs of students and make the class interesting for them.