• Arlene Shelton

Philosophy of Teaching

My passion for art, art history, art education and arts advocacy is truly the driving force behind my motivation to become an outstanding teacher. I want to help others find their creative passions and strive to make creativity a part of their everyday lives. The words of Antoine Saint Exupery sum up my teaching philosophy, “​If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.”

I believe that creative passion is communicable. It is able to be communicated with others. Beyond that it is able to be transmitted from one to another. Once we as a people are gone, it is our art, architecture and literature that will tell our history. I bring that history to my students and community and encourage them to tell their history through creative means. Creative passion is contagious, infectious, transmittable, transmissible, transferrable, spreadable… catching! My job, as an instructor is to inspire my students to strive for creative thought, only then will students be able to problem solve and create original works. An important aspect of developing a classroom which fosters creative thought is to create an environment which is relaxed for students. An environment where students feel respected by their peers, a place they will feel uninhibited in their creative process, knowing that their ideas, thoughts and works will be respected. Over time, developing habits which support creative freedom fosters stealthy critical thinking thus allowing problem solving to develop more quickly and with less fear. In all walks of life, our world is counting on teachers to teach students to be fearless creative thinkers to help solve the complex problems of our future. Learning is interconnected with all subject matter. I can teach any subject through visual arts and teach it so that everyone enjoys the experience. The visual arts teach integration and harmony in various relationships between people, as well as tools, materials, and knowledge thus fostering self-control and cooperation. Education including the visual arts alters your approach to life, your attitude, outlooks and beliefs are more purposeful and meaningful. My life is a reflection of my teaching philosophy. The approach I take to my everyday problems is truly a reflection of the lessons I teach everyday in the art studio. I don’t just encourage students to live passionate, purposeful, creative lives. I model this philosophy! I am a fearless creator in the classroom and at home. I push to find my limits everyday and I strive for failure. I believe that if I accomplish every goal I ever set then I truly am not living to my potential because I have not found where my limitations lie. This philosophy has led me well! I have experienced failure but what’s more is that I have experienced great success both in the classroom and in my own personal art studio.