Dr. Shyla Rao is a sculptor, art educator, and arts education advocate. She currently serves as Director of the Master of Arts in Teaching program at MICA and believes in arts education as a form of social action that empowers young people to critically engage with their place in the world. For almost 20 years, Shyla has worked with young learners in Baltimore City and New York City. With an interest in arts education practices from an international perspective, Shyla has taught college/graduate level education courses and teacher development programs in Baltimore, New York, Singapore, Tokyo, and Kingston Jamaica.
Shyla serves on the National Art Education Research Commission in the Professional Learning through Research working group and also started the Maryland State Art Education Association Research Division. She is a founding member of the Baltimore Arts Education Coalition, a group of concerned citizens who advocate for equitable access to arts education for young people in Baltimore City. Shyla finds great importance with staying actively connected in the community through arts, advocacy, education, and play.
Shyla earned a Doctorate of Education at Columbia University Teachers College and both a Master of Arts in Teaching and Bachelors of Fine Arts at MICA. Shyla maintains an active studio with her artwork taking a critical view of the fluid intersections of race, gender, culture, and sexual identities in each of our lives.
She believes that the beauty of being an artist is finding artfulness in everyday life. In the classroom, she feels it is important for educators to help students look at the world from their own perspectives and celebrate the beauty and personal meaning in every moment. Shyla believes that a multi-sensory approach to teaching and learning offers possibilities for students to respond to the world through their whole being, in ways that are personal to them. Long gone are the days when the teacher stands at the front of the room and feeds information to the students. It is now the day for a facilitator of learning to create a multi-faceted environment for discovery, following the adage "You told me, but then I learned for myself."
- BFA and MAT Maryland Institute College of Art
- Ed.D Teachers College Columbia University
Shyla Rao is a Graduate Director and faculty member in the MA in Teaching program. Although she has taught every course in the program over the years, her current focus lies in the following courses:
Foundations of Education
MAT Graduate Seminar
Critical Response to Art k-12