Preparing Boys for Life
Creative Problem-Solving
Kristin Brown, Upper School Art

How does one teach creativity? How does one inspire students to create? In this blog post, Upper School art teacher Kristin Brown shares how she encourages students to design projects, explore their own ideas, and take ownership of their voices in her classes, and reflects on how these skillsets can be used beyond the art classroom. 

How does one teach creativity? How does one inspire students to create?

I work with my students to help them become creative problem-solvers. By asking targeted questions to inspire my students, I provide the scaffolding for students to design their own projects and explore their own ideas. For projects, students must brainstorm ideas and write proposals. While a student’s idea might change, it’s great for students to write out their action steps. I have students think about what skills they have and what help they will need from me as their teacher.

In art class, students are encouraged to find their voice. They learn how they can communicate their ideas and passions visually. Students understand that they are unique individuals with important things to say. They also learn how to collaborate and connect with the larger community. These are all important skills to carry with them, which can be used beyond the art classroom. 

In art class, students are encouraged to find their voice. They learn how they can communicate their ideas and passions visually. Students understand that they are unique individuals with important things to say. They also learn how to collaborate and connect with the larger community. These are all important skills to carry with them, which can be used beyond the art classroom. 

For a recent group project, students looked at contemporary street artists for inspiration. After a class discussion, the students were drawn to the stencil style of Banksy and wanted to create a mural. As a class, we talked about what the subject of the mural should be. I started the discussion with a reflection on 2020. After some time, students talked about the passing of Kobe Bryant. The students had a love for basketball and respect for Kobe. As a group, they decided that should be the theme. As a teacher, I was there to help answer technical questions and give design feedback when asked. I was merely a facilitator for the project, not the leader. The students took ownership of their mural creation from start to finish.

Sometimes the best way for students to learn from their mistakes and improve upon their idea on the next try. No one gets a masterpiece on the first try. One creates the masterpiece by honing their skills and learning what works and doesn’t work on their own. 

Failure is not seen as the end, but merely a learning experience. Sometimes the best way for students to learn from their mistakes and improve upon their idea on the next try. No one gets a masterpiece on the first try. One creates the masterpiece by honing their skills and learning what works and doesn’t work on their own. 

 


Kristin Brown teaches digital art and design in the Upper School. She is also the faculty adviser to the Haligoluk. Brown graduated with a BFA in photographic illustration from Rochester Institute of Technology and earned a master’s degree from The University of the Arts. She has continued to study art by participating in workshops at Penland School of Craft and Haystack Mountain School of Crafts. As an artist, she is primarily a photographer and graphic designer. She also enjoys printmaking, letterpress, pen and ink, and knitting.

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