This week I taught my first Arts Education class and was nervous to say the least. I would not say that art education is my strong point, so I struggled with what to teach the students. The biggest struggle I had with creating this lesson was how to create a project that could be explained an executed in one class. Most projects in arts education require a certain time span to be carried out. Since grade eight arts education is focused on social issues, I decided to focus my lesson on white privilege. This was a daunting task because first of all, the topic itself is complex, I do not even know everything there is to know about white privilege, and I only had once class period to execute my plan. With that being said, I believe the lesson went well.
I began my lesson simply by asking the class if they had ever heard of white privilege and if so, what they believed it meant. I was surprised at the number of students who had some previous knowledge about this topic, as I expected none of the students to have heard of it before. I played Macklemore’s song, “White Privilege to open the discussion. I also handed out the students a copy of Peggy McIntoshe’s article, “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” to give the students examples. The final project was for the students to write an example of white privilege on their puzzle piece (a handout that was given to them) and provide an illustration that symbolized the example they wrote. I was impressed with how much the students were engaged during this project.
My idea is to create a classroom video on white privilege with the students holding their puzzle pieces and stating their example of white privilege. I have recorded some of the students that finished today and the other students were assigned the project for homework. I am hoping to record the rest of the students next week and create a video on white privilege. Teaching a lesson on social justice can be discomforting and challenging, but it is also very rewarding. My cooperating teaching commented on the fact that this concept could be transformed into a “thought provoking art project” and is a great “springboard for so many ideas”.
As far as my target for the week, I think I did relatively well with giving directions. My goals were to have handout that clearly explained the assignment, have the students repeat the directions, and address questions to the entire class. All three of these goals were accomplished and the students were always on task, which indicated they understood the project. I am already looking forward to next week!