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August 15, 2019

A STEAM Powered Practicum for New Teachers

We value the lengths our teachers go to reach their students by helping them prepare for their futures. That’s why it’s so meaningful when the next generation of educators come to ArtStarts for their student practicum!

This summer, we welcomed UBC students, Samantha Brick and Joo Yon Kim to the ArtStarts team and quickly leveraged their strengths to further enhance our upcoming exhibition and programs. They share with us their passion for STEAM-based (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) education and why art is essential for young people's learning:

Tell us about your teaching background and your interest in education! 

[Joo Yon Kim] “I am currently in UBC’s Bachelor of Education program and I recently completed my practicum in a grade 1/2 classroom. I love working with kids and am inspired by their creativity and energy! The positive support I received from many teachers during my own educational journey also had a huge influence in becoming interested in education.” 

 

 

 

 

[Samantha Brick] “I stumbled upon teaching. It was never my intention to teach, but while living in Chicago, I held a fabulous job working for the Chicago Parks District. There I taught art, dance, and science to preschool and elementary school kids. Additionally, I taught adult ceramics, textiles, and jewelry making. Ultimately, I ended up in Canada, where I pursued official certification through UBC’s teacher education program.”

 

 

 

When did art start for you? 

[Joo Yon] “Ever since I was little, I enjoyed drawing. When I read storybooks, I remember being more interested in looking at and admiring the pictures. Drawing became one of my favourite hobbies and I really liked being able to express a variety of ideas. A lot of my memories from school involve participating in extra-curricular activities related to the arts, where I also had the chance to meet and make new friends.”

[Samantha] “There is a picture of me as a topless toddler, running around in a diaper with markers in both hands. I’m going to assume around this time, I discovered markers, followed by art-making, it only progressed from there.” 

 

Joo Yon, you helped us gather more insight into how some of our activities can better meet the creative needs of very young elementary school students. You also researched why our upcoming STEAM initiatives are ideal for young learners! What was that experience like for you? 

[Joo Yon] “It was a wonderful experience taking part in the process of researching and discussing with the ArtStarts team. Everyone here has been so generous with their help! I had an opportunity to provide feedback in adapting future workshops for younger students and for ELL students. It was fulfilling being able to contribute what I have learned from my program and practicum experiences. It was also interesting learning about the benefits of STEAM-based education, such as how it can help spark creativity among young learners, foster their problem-solving skills, and reduce the overall anxiety that some students might have had with solely engaging with STEM subjects.”

 

Samantha, you worked as part of a team to design our upcoming exhibition, Maker Space, drawing on your past work experience. What was that experience like for you? 

[Samantha] “It was a perfect combination of my skills, I have a background in furniture design (woodworking) and applied my education background to help design potential stations, activities, and learning objectives with an emphasis on the process over the making of a final product. I was able to present designs drawn on the computer as well as prototype ideas for the upcoming Maker Space exhibition.”

 

What was your favourite/most memorable moment during this practicum?

[Joo Yon] “I think ArtStarts is a very welcoming space that provides many opportunities to support learning related to the arts. The free Saturday Explores workshops provide children and their families the chance to engage with fun art-related activities. ArtStarts also supports local artists and I have learned about Artists in the Classroom, who engage students with hands-on experiences that not only extend students’ learning but also help to build their confidence. In addition, I think some of the values that ArtStarts supports, such as representing diversity and recognizing that art is focused on the process, are great and can be relatable for both educators and artists.”  

[Samantha] “My most memorable moment had nothing to do with my work, but someone else’s accomplishments! One of the team members was promoted from a contractor to a permanent position. The celebration and support of the team was joyous, welcoming, and so inclusive. Overall my experience within ArtStart’s work environment was outstanding.”

 

Why do you think educators and artists should get involved with ArtStarts?

[Joo Yon] “I think ArtStarts is a very welcoming space that provides many opportunities to support learning related to the arts. The free Saturday Explores workshops provide children and their families the chance to engage with fun art-related activities. ArtStarts also supports local artists and I have learned about Artists in the Classroom, who engage students with hands-on experiences that not only extend students’ learning but also help to build their confidence. In addition, I think some of the values that ArtStarts supports, such as representing diversity and recognizing that art is focused on the process, are great and can be relatable for both educators and artists.”

[Samantha] “ArtStarts provides real life examples and experiences with working artists. Art is available to everyone, you do not have to be a da Vinci to make art. ArtStarts is the catalyst to connecting educators with artists, artists with a space to practice. I highly recommend getting involved with ArtStarts.”

 

How do you advocate for arts integration in your own teaching practice?

[Joo Yon] “In my practicum experiences, I tried to integrate the arts in my classroom through a cross-curricular approach. For many of my students who were visual and kinesthetic learners, I tried to incorporate many visuals and interactive media when introducing new concepts. Students could also demonstrate their learning through pictures or songs, whether it be for their science experiments on force and motion or for their math unit on geometry. Recognizing how an extra-curricular art-related activity has such a positive impact on a student’s experiences at school, I also ran a lunch time art club for primary students where students could come to explore art in a fun setting and make new friends.”

[Samantha] “My approach to art education is to learn through the arts. Art is not just great because it results in a final product. Art helps push us out of our comfort zones, helps us grow with ideas, reflect on failures and successes, and forces us to collaborate. It’s an all-inclusive subject that shouldn’t be left on the back burner. I tend to begin with scientific or mathematical concepts in the classroom.

From there, we learn and practice a new skill/ applied technique that uses these concepts as the foundation of our art-making.” 

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ArtStarts offers a range of opportunities within our gallery and office space for students interested in gaining experience working in a non-profit organization or in the field of arts and education. Individual or institutions interested in placing their students are invited to contact Leah, our Program Manager, at leah@artstarts.com

 

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