This past summer I was feeling anxious about returning to school for more university classes. I told myself that my learning style didn’t jibe with the academics I suffered through the previous year; I’m a practical learner and need to see where I can apply knowledge in my classroom. I didn’t get that from the PhD candidates who taught me Art History and I was worried I’d bring that bias to bear on my internships this year.

I needed to get my learning mojo back, so I decided to get my Art Therapy Certification. My guiding question became: where does a greater understanding of my learners improve my teaching?

One of the reasons what I felt the need to have more tools to help my students understand why they made what they make. The other was to improve my self-knowledge on the skill as well.

There was a lot of psychology in the course and it demanded a good amount of self-reflection. It offered case studies to reflect upon real students and their needs. It gave me a greater insight to the use of colours, and further elaborated on the use of lines, force of pencil application, shading, etc… It also broke down what mediums might be better suited to different learning styles and personality types… This is valuable when you want to know your students and how best to individualize their teaching. I was able to make a few connections to UDL (Universal Design for learning) in that giving choices on how to achieve a common goal is the key. Amazing g how it always comes back to clearly defined objectives.

Overall, I feel it helps me to better understand my students, build better relationships with them, and be a better teacher.

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