Five Tips for Collaborative Art Teaching and Learning for Students with Disabilities

By Kong Ho

No matter how good an individual teaching artist or art educator is in his or her own personal art, it does not mean that he or she is good at teaching art; students with disabilities need modified lessons that nurture their own means of using their modes of expression.

  1. Explore art through hands-on experience. All students, no matter what their educational and cultural background may be, should gain the fundamentals of art education from hands-on experience. Through touching, holding, and applying art materials, art learners generate their own unique experience. Also, the process of art making should focus on an exploration of diverse ideas; teaching artists should allow students to explore the art medium.
  1. Work with students one by one. The relationship between art educators and art learners should be personal. Working with art learners one by one in collaborative art projects helps to blur the gap of learning and teaching. Through dialogue and working with art educators, students build up their self-esteem. They learn art through indirect instructions and direct contact with their mentors.
  1. Teach art through personal encouragement. Art learners improve their knowledge and skill in art making not just from practice, but also from personal encouragement. It is meaningful to recognize the improvement or successful experience of individual students. The encouragement will become the driving force for students to gain interest for further growth.
  1. Empower learning by using student exemplars. By displaying and analyzing former students’ exemplars in the classroom, students can obtain new ideas, especially if they are from similar learning levels as those who produced the exemplars. This practice not only empowers learning, but also heightens students’ sensibilities and perceptions. Therefore, it is important for art educators to record what their students have created during the semester.
  1. Influence students with personal enthusiasm in practicing art. The earnestness that art educators have toward their artistic practice can become instilled in their students over time. Students can learn from teachers’ successes and mistakes, which will enhance students’ creative impulses. This notion transcends the traditional dogma of art teaching.


Kong Ho headshot

Kong Ho

Kong Ho is an Associate Professor of Art and program director of Art and Creative Technology at the University of Brunei Darussalam in Brunei. Ho is a teaching artist with a disability and he has published several journal articles, conference proceedings, monographs, and a forthcoming book, Larger Than Life: Mural Dreamscapes, about working and teaching community murals. For more information of Ho’s murals, paintings and digital art, please visit

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