You know there is a career in art education waiting for you, but the thought of constructing your philosophy statement has been intimidating. Understanding the main elements to include in this brief statement, typically one page in length, can both streamline your writing process and also leave you feeling confident that your statement accurately articulates your views on art education.
One of the central messages you should convey in your philosophy statement is why teaching art is important to you and exciting for you. For example, perhaps you've been interested in a career in art education since you were a child or a past professor inspired you. You should also delineate your objectives as an art educator and the topics or issues that are most central for you. You might be passionate about arts integration, for instance, and thus hope your students gain an understanding of the interplay between the arts and other scholastic subjects.
Reinforce your reasons for wanting to teach and how you will approach teaching art with examples or anecdotes. If you want to teach because a past educator inspired you, then you can cite specific examples of what she did that you felt were particularly effective. Without such direct examples or anecdotes, your goals, however valid, may come across to the reader as generalizations that could undermine the strength of your statement.
From Concept to Classroom
It is also important that your philosophy statement emphasizes how you will implement your personal values and views in your role as art educator. For example, if you feel strongly about multicultural art education, then you could discuss the cultures on which you would focus and how this emphasis would blend with your overall curriculum and desired learning objectives. If you've taught art previously, then you can cite examples of what you've done in the past; if you're new to art education, brainstorm some ways you would implement these topics. You can include ideas of how you plan to measure or assess the effectiveness of this approach.
Establishing why you want to teach and what values are most important to you in art education curriculum can be a very introspective process, so it is important that before you begin writing your statement, you spend some time contemplating these questions. When you have a working draft prepared, you can share it with educators you know for constructive feedback and understand that it will likely require a few edits to refine. This statement will probably change or evolve over the course of your career, so continue to review and rewrite it as necessary.
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- Iowa State University Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching: Writing a Teaching Philosophy Statement
- National Art Education Association (NAEA): Effective Teaching Practices
- Contemporary Issues in Art Education: Mapping Identity for Curriculum Work; Kristin G. Congdon et al.
- How to Develop a Professional Portfolio: A Manual for Teachers; D.M. Campbell et al.
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