Chicago | Assistant Professor, Art Therapy Department
As an art therapist, I start with a directive by looking at a blank canvas. One kinesthetic method, comparable to finger painting, includes crinkling up a piece of crisp paper, and attaching it onto the blank canvas using gesso, a thick liquid preparation material applied to a canvas before painting. My hands spread the gesso, moving it into place, creating ridges and different textures with the saturated paper. As I pour the paint on top of the textured canvas, I imagine how the colors will interact. The ebbing and flowing of the pigments spark a creative flow through me. As paint seeps into the deep cracks, ridges form on the paper. An image begins to emerge. For me, this process is also a metaphor for teaching.
I hold the belief that each student has their own unique learning style and this learning style can elicit many emotions and dictate how we engage with others. With this unique knowledge and background, one can also begin to take on and understand others’ perspectives and learning methods, allowing us to become better teachers and better leaders in social justice and humanity. I am passionate about new neurological studies that are discovering new ways of expanding our understanding of learning styles in order to better apply that understanding to our pedagogy.
Therefore, I view my students’ learning styles as a tabula rasa. These various styles brought into the classroom by the students develop into many layers on top of a blank canvas. I make it my goal to aid students in developing their learning style to its full potential through storytelling and metaphors to allow them to thrive inside and out of my classroom. Thus I structure my classroom to be a collaborative atmosphere that makes each class memorable so my students walk out of the classroom differently than they walked in. Using the knowledge I have gained through my lived experiences in teaching, counseling, art therapy, volunteering, and advocacy, I can apply these experiences to the students’ learning objectives to help them develop and apply new skills.
To prepare students to become future leaders and social justice advocates, it is essential to combine all the learning styles to reach each student rather than tailor a lesson to one specific learning style. It is critical for everyone in the classroom to have a solid grasp of the subject they are learning. By teaching all learning styles and through multicultural lenses: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic, students will be able to grasp and retain the information being taught and develop critical thinking skills for application in their future fields of art therapy and counseling, as well as leading roles in their communities.
I use my lived experiences to teach, creating a safe place for my students to learn. I apply empathetic listening, patience, organization, and creativity with a firm yet gentle, loving-kindness approach to provide a feeling of belongingness in my classroom. I hope to instill a creative flow in my students that encourages exploration of how they can be multicultural, social justice advocates in their communities. As a professor, I reflect on how the students will interact with their communities after completing this program and keep this in mind throughout the course. As the students begin their professional journey, the experiences that they had in my classroom will aid in their ability to seep into the deep cracks and ridges of life, ebbing and flowing into where they are needed in their community as the socially-minded counselor, and art therapist they have the potential to be begins to emerge.
Located in the heart of the city, the Chicago Campus was designed to provide and inspire the learning and living experience. To that end, we have created an environment that caters to your mental, emotional, and intellectual growth. Our classrooms are bright and spacious with windows to the outside world and the latest technology. In our Library, you will find every resource you need to research, form, and shape your journey. At Adler University, we have more than enough room to share your thoughts and flex your intellect.