The Art Classroom is an excellent place to unite differences. Each students cultural background, ethnic or racial foundation, can be used in art. Art unites diversity through expression and communication using the elements and principles of art. The elements of art are line, colour, shape, space, form, texture and value. The principles of art are gradation, pattern, balance, contrast, variety, rhythm, and and emphasis. Using these elements and principles,a teacher can create a positive classroom climate.
Students all have personal micro-climates within their minds and hearts. These micro-climates are made up of personal issues about family, self-image, and friendships, just to name a few. A variety of issues can cause students to withdraw, or quietly live inside their minds without ever sharing. Sometimes they get taunted by peers, other times, even by their family members and teachers.
In my classroom, I try to create an open, safe and accepting environment where every student can find acceptance, praise, and understanding. To create this positive relationship with students, a teacher has to do a number of things. First, the teacher has to reassure the students that making mistakes is a welcome experience. If you want to create original work, and if you want to discover new things about yourself and the world, we have to feel comfortable to make mistakes-many of them.
Cultural groups exist in the school as well as outside the school. I share my cultural upbringing, and how adversity brought me to paint and become a teacher, specifically now an art teacher. This makes the students opened to share their personal experiences. Even if they do not want to share out loud, they feel at ease to create inside a classroom. Segregation disappears and students look at each other beyond appearance, beliefs, and ability.
Each student comes from a diverse background, so building self-esteem occurs when we talk about our differences and create art. Then, we see how the art created is linked through the elements and principles of art. So, even though students express their celebrated differences, we can see how art unites us. Their art can be discussed using terminology about line, colour, space, value, form, texture and shape. We analyse gradation and movement, pattern and contrast, unity, rhythm and emphasis. These powerful communicative tools help us move beyond the judgmental surface of our physical individuality. We look at the art the person creates rather than the person. Art becomes our human experience.
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