Winslow Armstrong

I have pursued a career in art education because I am deeply passionate about both art and education. I believe that the purpose of education is to provide students with a diverse well of information that they may lack access to without entering an environment dedicated to those topics. Through education, students are exposed to a worldview that may be alternative to the one they are surrounded by within their home environment. The purpose of education is to provide the skills necessary to think critically, and develop independent thought; to exist in and interact with the world confidently.

During my own formative education, I had the opportunity to encounter a diverse range of art teachers, each with their own unique methods and attitudes. Some of these teachers, especially those I encountered later in my educational journey, were exceptionally motivating and inspirational. However, I also had an art teacher throughout elementary and middle school who had a predominantly negative and discouraging approach.  These varying experiences have deeply influenced my decision to pursue a career in teaching, and they have shaped my approach to education. I firmly believe that the type of teacher and the classroom environment students encounter during their early years play a crucial role in shaping their perceptions of art. Drawing from my personal experiences, my goal as an art educator is to create a supportive and nurturing environment in which students feel encouraged and comfortable expressing themselves creatively. 

As someone who attended small schools in a rural area of New Hampshire through high school, I now look back at my own art education and recognize how much it was lacking in diversity. Acknowledging this, diversity is a priority in my teaching practice. Creating a welcoming classroom environment that serves as a safe space for all students is crucial and easily achieved by incorporating classroom visuals that communicate this message. However, I believe that a diverse curriculum is even more important. I aim to incorporate units and lessons that focus on more contemporary and non-western artists. By focusing on contemporary art, students can gain real-world context that extends beyond what is learned in the art classroom. Ultimately, I believe that incorporating diversity into the art curriculum will benefit all students. exposing them to a broader range of artistic styles and movements encourages students to develop a deeper appreciation for art and its role in shaping our world. Additionally, it prepares them to engage with the world in a more thoughtful and informed manner, promoting cultural awareness and understanding.

In my experience, I have discovered that employing various methods, such as repetition, one-on-one instruction, and demonstrations, greatly enhances the delivery of information to students in a manner that facilitates comprehension. By utilizing repetition, especially for important concepts or vocabulary, students are exposed to the information repeatedly, allowing them to internalize it gradually and subconsciously over time. Demonstrations play a vital role, particularly in art classes, as they provide students with visual examples of how tools and materials are effectively utilized—to watch and learn. Moreover, one-on-one instruction has proven to be exceptionally beneficial as it enables teachers to cater to individual student needs and provide personalized guidance, allowing for a deeper understanding of students' strengths, weaknesses, and learning styles, fostering a more effective learning experience. This multifaceted approach not only enhances comprehension but also promotes active engagement, skill development, and a deeper appreciation for the subject matter.

My goal as a teacher is to establish my classroom as a safe and supportive space for fostering creative problem-solving. Error and mistakes are integral components of the art-making process, and it is crucial for students to feel comfortable taking risks and embracing their creative exploration. I am equally dedicated to implementing a diverse curriculum that introduces students to a wide range of artists. By creating an environment where students are not afraid of making mistakes, I hope to inspire students to explore different artistic styles, techniques, and narratives.

Making sure that students feel confident in their own ability to creatively problem solve is of the utmost importance. Art-making should not be intimidating and I want students, no matter their technical artistic ability, to feel confident and comfortable in the classroom.