By Andrea Peña and Darya Worsell
David Tellez, who teaches Modern World at Summit Prep, works to incorporate arts into his instruction. Every year he assigns Art as Expression as his first project. In this project, students work to analyze art from before and after World War I. Students also have the opportunity to create their own piece of artwork about an important event in their life to present to the class. Tellez said faculty should try to have the arts be a part of their teaching.
1. How do the arts affect your ideals and teaching methods?
“When it comes to music, I hear students listening to gangster rap or Spanish narcocorridos,” Mr. Tellez said, explaining that his strategy is to ask what the song is about instead of telling a student off. “I actually grew up with a lot of this type of music,” he said. “The Art as Expression case focuses more on writing instead of art. I like art and I try to bring it back.”
- Would you say that the arts programs are dwindling? How?
“Yes, they are. If schools do not meet the standardized test scores, they cut funding for arts,” Mr. Tellez said.
- How should we try and bring back art programs such as drama?
“Teachers can try. If they talk about it in class, it may not work. This must go beyond the school and community on to the district,” Mr. Tellez said.
4. Should there be some way of integrating arts into core classes such as what you did?
“Yes, perhaps offering a training session for teachers,” Mr. Tellez said.
- Did you take any type of art class or program when you were in school? “During elementary school I took multiple music classes, and I play the piano. In high school I took several art classes such as drawing, painting and sculpting. In college I took playwriting, dancing and acting,” Mr. Tellez said.
- How did taking that class or being part of that program have an impact on you?
“From music I gained appreciation of multiple forms of music. From art I gained appreciation for those who knew how to draw. From playwriting I gained appreciation for scripting shows,” Mr. Tellez said.
Featured image (at the top of this post): Students in the Modern World class drew what was most important to them and shared that with the class.