Stories from our international boarding schools

IB Visual arts journey at EF Academy Oxford

I arrived on campus at the start of this academic year excited to meet all the new artists starting on their IB Visual Arts journey. I have taught art to a large number of students throughout my career, from junior school all the way through to foundation courses at the University of the Creative Arts and also within the prison service. These experiences of seeing how art can effect change, enrich the academic and pastoral lives of students, and open eyes to new ways of thinking while looking at the world around us is one of the main reasons I am so passionate about my subject. I also love encouraging students to take risks and push themselves outside of their comfort zones to fully explore personal creativity and talents.

This is the first year that EF Academy Oxford is offering Visual Arts to its IB students, and I am looking forward to seeing what creativity, passion and skills they will bring. I have quickly realized that we have a group of talented and enthusiastic artists! Over the first 6 weeks, we have worked together to explore the formal elements of art through various media and methods, from continuous line drawing, and color theory to photography. This first stage of the journey is about trying new things and gaining confidence in the selection of these elements to help enhance their individual approaches.

As we move into the second half of the term students are encouraged to take their newfound skills and start to explore concepts and mediums within the theme of ‘identity’.  They will be organizing photoshoots, exploring their ideas through printmaking and collage, finding links to artists that inspire them and using all these experiences to create artworks that reflect their emerging interests and ideas.

It is a very important and exciting time! I have asked a few of my students to share their experiences and why they chose to study art and I hope you enjoy getting a window into what we do in the art room:

Baldwin, Germany, IBY1

Visual art made by Baldwin at EF Academy Oxford

IB Art is a great subject. The beauty of this subject is that you can choose what you want to do but still have guidance from the teacher to help you. You also learn a lot about different Art styles. It shows you the beauty of your daily life and exposes you to different challenges. It is important to know that you don’t have to do the “perfect piece” in IB Art.  Art lessons are a great opportunity to escape the busy student day.

Mae, USA, IBY1

Visual art by EF Academy Oxford student Mae

I love art because, unlike my other classes, art gives me the space to be free and experimental with my art. I can focus on things I feel passionate about while also pushing my boundaries. Art also gives me the space to make mistakes and learn how to fix them or work with them. If I don’t feel good about what I’m doing, art encourages me to take another look, reset my thinking, and continue on. Because of this I have learned about problem solving but also perspective. Art is also just a very calming part of my day. I can always look forward to the time I can spend in the art room listening to music or sitting in silence and letting my feelings and ideas out onto a page.

Lilly, Germany, IBY1

Visual art created by EF Academy Oxford student Lilly

I love arts because with art I have the freedom to create and show you what I see/think through drawings/pictures /paintings…. or create my own interpretations of other artists works. I love the creativity and freedom I have over the art I create. In Visual Arts you have the freedom to express your style and individuality while still expanding your skills.

Benedetta, Italy, IBY1

Visual art created by EF Academy Oxford student Bendetta

As an artist I love creating different things and experimenting with new techniques like we have been doing during this half term. We have also recently started to develop our ideas for our project portfolio by collecting all our pieces step by step. I love the arts, different forms of art give us humans the opportunity to grow, to feel less alone, to let out all of our inner souls, our negative and positive thoughts, everything inside of us… I knew that by choosing visual arts, I have found a way to escape to do this and find something totally different from the ordinary subjects. It does not seem like something mandatory, yes, there is seriousness and discipline, but there is a different approach to the work we have to do. Creating our own ‘vanitas’ and creating a mind map to present ourselves is a great opportunity to free our creative side, and has been a fun process for me.


I do hope you enjoyed this brief glance into the world of IB Visual Arts. I cannot wait to continue to share with you the amazing accomplishments of the students, and their fantastic artwork in the future.

Best wishes,

Anna Williams

Teacher of Art,  EF Academy Oxford

Explore and nurture your artistic passions at EF Academy Oxford Learn more

Share this article

Latest articles from Language and culture