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More than arts and crafts

Taylor art education majors teach art lessons

(Photograph by Laura Koenig) Senior Mariana VanDermolen helps two elementary students with their African masks. This project follows their Guatemalan weaving.

(Photograph by Laura Koenig) Senior Mariana VanDermolen helps two elementary students with their African masks. This project follows their Guatemalan weaving.

By Laura Koenig | Echo

Little fingers designing African masks, middle school students molding clay and high school students deepening drawing and painting skills—Taylor art education majors use these skills to organize paid and volunteer lessons for kids in the community this semester.

Students in Department Co-Chair and Assistant Professor of Art KathyHerrmann’s Secondary Methods class teach a variety of lessons as part of a class requirement. Four of the students teach paid, private lessons for groups of one to three kids. One student volunteers to teach art at The Red Barn.

Herrmann requires her five students to plan, teach and evaluate lesson plans every week for 10 weeks. She wants them to understand kids’ behaviors and personalities while evaluating and identifying the successes of their lessons.

“I get excited when I see my students taking what we’ve been doing in class and applying it with children,” Herrmann said. “I like to hear parents express their gratitude in having these opportunities available for their kids in a small community. I think they appreciate the efforts that we go to to provide these kinds of things for their kids.”

Junior Rachel Golliher teaches the same local high school junior every week. Her student loves to draw and paint while experimenting with new mediums. Golliher and her student explored still-life drawing, painting and drawing a picture of cloth. Their current project includes pointillism, or art made of tiny dots.

Golliher sometimes creates assignments for her student to work on outside of class if he wants to continue practicing. He also finishes projects at home, since lessons only last an hour.

“I’ve learned how easy it is to teach someone who is willing to learn,” Golliher said. “It’s encouraging when you have a student who is so interested and is willing to put in the extra time.”

Senior Natalie Halleen volunteered to teach art at the Red Barn. She wanted to practice managing a class instead of working individually with a student.

At the Red Barn, Halleen teaches ceramics to between four to 10 middle school students. She tries to prepare lessons to challenge both beginner and experienced students. They usually work on slabs, pinch pots and coil pots. However, a few experienced students will practice wheel-throwing during this time.

“I notice how clay really helps them,” Halleen said. “It calms them down. I have music playing in the background. . . . They are all crazy and playing games outside, but when they come in, it’s a peaceful time of cooling down and getting their energy out with the clay.”

Halleen enjoys building relationships with kids in the community. She also sees students she teaches during her weekly time at Eastbrook Schools.

As Halleen learns about her students, she also discovers more about the community she’s lived in for the past three years. She is becoming informed about the pain and struggles in Upland. Because of these discoveries, Halleen found the Red Barn is a great place to serve.

“‘Taylor Bubble’—goodness, that is so overused—but I’d say there are walls around our campus,” Halleen said. “There’s just a lot of hurting and pain around there, and I was oblivious to that before. It’s sad to hear the stories, but I think it’s important to be aware of that, especially in trying to get to know (the students).”

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