Thesis Update: Critical Thinking in the Art Classroom

My name is Rafaela Gomez Luna. I am a candidate for an MA in Art Education Program at City College.  I describe myself as an artist and educator. I have spent most of my lifetime making and teaching art. I am passionate about teaching. It is something that gives me a sense of purpose in my life. I have taught in institutions such as Saint George School in Santo Domingo, Ministrattachmenty of Culture of Dominican Republic, Museum of Modern Art of Santo Domingo and Broadway Housing Community in New York. I have been working as a teacher’s assistant in a public school in District 5 which is located in Harlem. I have a BA in Advertising, Creativity and Management from Universidad Autonoma de Santo Domingo, a Certification in Cultural Management and Development from AEICID (Spanish Agency which work with international development). A Certification in Fine Arts from The National School of the Fine Arts of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic with a specialization in painting and printmaking which is my biggest influence.
I moved to New York City in the summer of 2012, since then I have been participating in cultural events in the city through exhibitions as Demystifying Feminism in Cohen Library Archives at CCNY Archives.  Tokonoma Histories of Home in the Heights a multidisciplinary project hosted by NoMAA-MOMA.  I was also part of a group show Roots exhibited during The Latin American Cultural Week of New York.
I believe in a closer relationship between teaching art and human development, especially in all matters concerning psychological, cognitive, emotional, and social aspects of human development. How students can be able to create or modify their behavior through artistic practices to achieve success throughout their professional and personal life? Recognizing my students’ abilities and gaps inspired me to think about analyzing the teaching strategies used for elementary art teachers in order to develop critical thinking of the students.
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When I am in the classroom interacting with a student, I am filled with the satisfaction of bringing confidence, ideas, learning, and joy to another human being. In my opinion teaching brings teachers the opportunity to shape the minds of young people. It is molding young minds to be curious and thoughtful about the world. Teaching is what I can bring to the table to change or improve some facet of living for my students. The “art miracle” allows me to use paints, crayons, paper and all sorts of materials to unleash creativity. It is here that kids learn that there are many ways to see and interpret the world. The students could be able to develop their higher order thinking through their own creative experience. I aim to analyze the different pedagogical practices implemented in art education and their effectiveness in provoking critical thinking in students. 
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