Being a teacher is a tough, but rewarding job. Students may not always want (or feel comfortable enough) to participate in activities, especially creative ones. There are a number of reasons why. But as a teacher, you likely advocate for your students and want to help them realize their full creative potential. We explored some ways to help kids recognize their inner artist.
Recognize what interests and motivates them
After spending a couple of weeks in the classroom, most teachers will begin to get a sense of what interests their individual students. For example, students might be interested in a particular subject when creating art, such as landscapes or still life. Or, students may focus more on the mediums like clay, pastels or watercolors. Students are likely to gravitate towards materials, subjects and techniques that are most compelling for them.
Once a teacher has recognized their student’s interests, the teacher should find out why their student paints ponds, or sketches urban settings. What is the motivation behind it? Easier said than done, right?
Well, you could simply ask your students what their motivation is. For students who may not be so forthcoming, find out what draws them to that particular subject or medium. Are their ideas unique, or have they seen them elsewhere? Do they like a specific painter or movement? Once a teacher can parse out their students’ motivations, they’ll be able to assign activities that will help their students creativity flourish.
Give your students a chance to steer
Schedule a couple of classes to let your students create their own art pieces. Make various types of art materials available to them and give them the entire class period to make their own, authentic creations. Even if the outcome is rather a mess, or they decided to use certains materials for the first time, the result is secondary to the lesson that they’ve learned. They’ve now been given a chance to tap into their imaginations, explore and discover new ways of creating, and hopefully, learn something about their own artistic interests along the way.
For students who are more apprehensive about “diving in,” teachers can act as a guide. For example, teachers might ask whether the student wants their piece to be in color or only graphite. The could also ask whether the student prefers concrete images or abstract ones. Once students are able to imagine what they’d like to create, it will be much easier for them to focus on the execution.
Introduce new ideas
Not every student is going to immediately excel at each activity. That’s ok. Why not give your students the opportunity to find out what they’re good at? For example, if your student is an excellent gamer, why not introduce a digital arts tool to them? They can continue with the projects you assign, and simultaneously hone in on their digital art skills. Although that student may never have considered him or herself to be artistically inclined beforehand, they may have developed a new passion for digital art.
Students may lose focus if they are forced to engage in projects that don’t interest them. If a teacher recognizes indifference in a student, they can present the students with new, never-before-seen options that could spark their curiosity. Besides, art creation should go wherever a child’s imagination takes them. Introduce your students to more abstract forms of art, like found art and collage, or splatter painting.
Encourage your students to share their artwork
Encourage is the operative word here. Teachers should be encouraging and supportive when students are willing to try new things and give it their all. Encouragement will help students to feel empowered, take risks and feel confident in asking for help.
But, students don’t only have to find encouragement in the classroom. Create an art gallery or “museum opening” in your school, where other students can view your class’ artwork. If you don’t feel like your school offers a safe space for students to share, teachers can choose a private showing with just families. Additionally, an online resource, like Creatubbles, allows students to share and receive positive feedback from other creators around the world.
How do you encourage your students to recognize their inner artist? Share their creative ideas with us on Creatubbles.