Prof. Timothy Bellavia: Beyond Skin Deep
“I thought, wow—I can merge my love of art with my love of teaching...”
As a social studies and arts instructor at the Graduate School of Education, Assistant Professor Timothy Bellavia teaches his students how they can integrate the arts into their future elementary school curricula.
Primarily, he uses his Sage Doll workshops—doll-making projects he conducts with children—as a tool to demonstrate the power of the arts in teaching.
“As a society, we are divided by our skin,” Bellavia explains. “The sage doll was invented to help kids understand and celebrate what they have in common. And doing it in an early childhood setting...could that set a new standard for self esteem and self perception?”
In his sage doll workshops, Prof. Bellavia shows the kids how all the doll templates look exactly the same inside, but students should decorate the external shell however they wish.
“Teaching at the college level, I believe that art education should and could have meaning in the classroom. I want students to leave my courses thinking that this isn’t just arts and crafts- its bigger, it’s broader.”
Last year, Prof. Bellavia presented his Sage Doll experiment at the 11th Annual Critical Questions in Education Conference in Baltimore.
This is Prof. Bellavia's story.