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November 30, 2011

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Students inspire visual art teacher at WISS

LUCINDA Holmes loves teaching visual art because she thinks her students are extremely creative. The Western International School of Shanghai teacher works with students aged seven to 13.

"The students are awesome," she says. "They are so much fun. They have such great ideas, in many ways they are an inspiration."

She says students at WISS are fortunate because they get a lot of time to make music and create art.

One of the highlights of her job is displaying the students' artwork so the rest of the community can see it and be in the classroom sharing in their discoveries.

Holmes says she became a teacher because she gains so much through visual art that she wanted to give some of it back.

Holmes has always loved Chinese ink-wash paintings. When she was in London in 2008, she visited the China Now Exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum. She was inspired by what she saw.

"China is fresh and exciting, and I thought to myself it was a place I would like to go to and a place where I wanted to be a part of it. Then I came to China," she says.

In Shanghai, question Holmes is asked most is "which city do you come from?"

"In my bad Chinese I explain that actually, I come from a place in the countryside, outside of a village, isolated apart from a few houses," she says.

"I still really miss the green of the countryside and the different colors of the sky. But now, in many ways I'm a city girl. Shanghai feels like a place of rapid change, a positive place where things are possible."

Busy is one of the best words to describe Holmes' life now. She is excited about being a part of One Day Six Cities, where people in six cities - London, Dubai, Shanghai, Auckland, San Francisco and Sao Paulo - will take photographs that will be put together to make a time-lapse film.

Holmes has also been involved in playwriting, had a play performed in London and helped stage manage a Shakespeare play in Shanghai.

In Holmes' eyes, a star teacher should be organized, love learning, listening and really understanding each student. Finding out what they are interested in, what they know and how they like to learn is what she always tries to do.

Looking into the future, Holmes would like to contribute to research into visual art education, how it can be developed and how it helps children of different abilities develop and express themselves.


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