Art teachers learn to adapt to remote teaching, hybrid model
May 27, 2021
The Covid-19 pandemic has required many places to have alterations to be made. A big part of many people’s lives is school, and in social settings with many people like this, changes had to be made.
The remote way of teaching that many schools have taken part in has changed learning environments tremendously. One area of school that has been heavily affected by this is art classes. Classes solely focusing on physical work, such as art, were obviously going to face some changes this schoolyear.
“Teaching art remotely has had a huge effect on the school year for everybody,” says Tanya Simmons, an art teacher at Central High School. “It has been quite a learning curve and I am amazed by how well our teachers and students have adapted.”
Online learning has affected the overall pace of art classes, resulting in classes going about half the speed they would in an in-person classroom. Though there are positives to the slower pace, as Cisco says, “it has allowed for greater exploration of ideas and skills-building exercises.” But Simmons has seen more negative effects of this learning environment. “Far too many students at home seem disengaged in various ways and that is so sad to see and hard to deal with,” she says, “I have less students turning work in, thus more students are receiving lower grades.”
With the new learning environment, comes new methods of teaching. “I have integrated more digital work, especially in my pottery classes,” Cisco says. “This has allowed for a greater variety of lesson styles and the opportunity to put the district-provided iPads to use.”
“There are many projects we will not be able to do this year with remote learning,” Simmons says, “One reason is we don’t have a way to get more supplies to students that are at home. Another reason is because there are certain art supplies that shouldn’t go home with students, such as printmaking lino-cutters.”
Online learning has made grading and overall organization in class a lot easier. “Using Teams as a platform for providing lesson information and deadlines has made understanding of project requirements much more consistent,” Cisco says, “There is also greater ease, from the teacher perspective, in having all projects in one place.”
“We all know that in-person is best for everybody (or most people),” Simmons says, Since students have returned to five days a week, I am starting to see more successes in student’s art.”
There has been big differences between remote learning and in-person learning, which many people have different opinions about. Simmons believes her online students would benefit greatly from going back to in-person learning. “Having that student/teacher interaction on a regular basis is so incredibly helpful to check for understanding,” she says, “to know when to reteach or give that valuable personal feedback and to gauge how far along students are with an art project.”
“As challenging as the year has been, it has also inspired a lot of personal learning that will benefit my teaching for years to come,” Cisco says, “I have learned techniques and practices this year that I would have never considered during the course of a normal year.”