Artistic merit – the surprising success of online art lessons

Stephanie Beesley on the rewards of teaching art at OEO 

Is it possible to teach practical subjects like art and music effectively online? Can a remote teacher properly nurture individual talent, or encourage the trial and error that allows artistic talent to flourish?

Surprisingly, the answer is yes!

As a teacher for over 17 years I have always enjoyed exploring art and music with a range of age groups in traditional classrooms. You might think that online art lessons would create barriers to creativity, but working as an art teacher for Oxford Education Online has shown me how tremendously effective this method of learning can be for students taking practical subjects.

A change of atmosphere

Art lessons online provide a peaceful balance to the demands of more academic subjects. I try to set up my teaching background in good light and with artistic design to set the tone for this visual subject. I know the children find it refreshing to attend art lessons and I am sure this helps them key into their creativity.

Time to explore

Art lessons at OEO are scheduled to last longer than regular lessons, to ensure that everyone has the time to achieve. Whilst 40 minutes is optimum for most other subjects, we find that pupils enjoy and benefit from a full hour of art. Luckily OEO is free from many of the restrictions of a large school timetable, so we can be flexible with timings when we know it will help.

Practical demonstrations

Of course, there is plenty of academic learning in art lessons, so we explore art history, artistic techniques and examples through our usual digital teaching aids. But the real joy comes from being able to show students live how to create a specific style or technique.

I set up my workspace with two cameras – one on me; one on my work. This way I can both explain and demonstrate exactly what I mean, and there is no problem of children crowding round my desk to get a clear view: they can all see clearly at the same time.

Immediate practical tips

I love that the digital learning environment allows me to watch each child as they try to master what I am teaching. It is easy to give them practical advice, such as to loosen their grip on the paintbrush, or to alter the composition of their piece. I can see if anyone is struggling well before they get frustrated, so we find pupils are much more likely to enjoy a successful art lesson online.

Supportive class environment

Online art classes at OEO encourage every child to have a go and to improve. The small class sizes mean that pupils can see each other’s work and the atmosphere is really supportive. Progress in art is not linked to academic ability or age, which makes it a great subject for building bonds within and across age groups – in fact our whole-school art projects have been amazingly successful and produced some fantastic work.

Successful art lessons online

I’m delighted to say that our art lessons are so popular with students that they will often carry on in their own time, exploring further or pushing themselves to improve. It’s clear that, to the surprise of many, practical subjects such as this work brilliantly online!

If you’d like to hear more about our online art lessons and how they can benefit your child, please give us a call on +44 1604 859 331 or email us on [email protected].

Leave a comment