Much focus recently has been placed on the importance of innovative and creative thinking for students’ future success but how do we implement that in Art Education?
Students need to be allowed to make decisions about their art even at a young age. Combining skills lessons with innovative thinking will give students more ownership and pride in their work while encouraging more creative solutions to visual problems.
For example, a current project may be to tell students that they are going to choose a rainforest animal to draw with oil pastels then cover with a black watercolor resist. The students would learn the technique and media skills but would not need to explore any intellectual creativity to complete the project.
Instead, lead off with a brief introduction about the Amazon rainforest (the length of this introduction would depend on the age of the student). Briefly explain what the rainforest is, where the Amazon is located and current issues involving the rainforest – such as deforesting, loss of habitat for animals, loss of resources for food and medicines, etc.
Then, encourage creative thinking in your students by asking a series of questions. How can we visually express the rainforest? What would you like to include in your drawing about the rainforest? (If they say animals, for example…) What would the animals be doing in your drawing? What colors do you think you should include in your drawing of the rainforest? Should your drawing use dark colors or light colors? What viewpoint should your drawing be from?
After the questioning starts to inspire some unique ideas, explain what technique and media will be used and let them get started right away!