I am woman, teacher, friend, Kentuckian, researcher, many things. All of these impact who I am as a learner. Learning is a value-laden, deeply contextualized process. Each new thought, idea, and experience needs to be bridged to what exists in the individual learner. A teacher in training will learn about various approaches to classroom management, but without understanding the human needs engaged by a classroom management plan, any new plan is disjointed and unabsorbed. Students (teachers in training, and ultimately their students) learn better when offered the space to understand and imagine what theories, ideas, and philosophies look like in practice. I feel that students are able to explore and critically examine new information and experiences when given the support and autonomy to do so. As the learning experiences are anchored in personal values and contexts, the learner can begin to take ownership of their understandings. With that ownership comes empowerment.
My research focuses on assessment of quality in the art classroom, and that extends to my own teaching. I believe that I change as a teacher with each course, each class. I invite students to offer suggestions both about the course content and my style of teaching, and work to respond to those suggestions through changes in my curriculum and reflecting on my teaching practices, making changes when needed. My teaching has improved from student suggestions, and I have seen student learning deepen as they see their concerns and ideas implemented in the classroom. I am committed to being an active member in professional communities so that my understandings and ideas of teaching, learning, research, and the field of art education continue to evolve.