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Re: [teacherartexchange] Gender diversity in elementary art ed?


From: Marvin Bartel (marvinpb_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Wed Apr 20 2005 - 11:57:42 PDT

>Connie wrote:
>I have been invited to write a chapter for an upcoming textbook on
>art education. One of the topics my publisher wants me to cover is
>"Gender Diversity" as it relates to boys and girls in K-6 grades. .
>. . Could someone please address this? (Am I opening a 'can of

May there be more worms among us. I think, unless there is
documented research, you should write from you own honest
observations - stating it as such - describing the kind of community
you represent.

 From my observations, (maybe my stereotypes) both boys and girls if
given choices of themes and topics will favor art topics that
represent their interests outside of the art class. Boys might
express more interest in cars, trucks, motorcycles, machines, racing,
military scenes, criminal and police scenes, muscle building, etc. I
would expect girls to more frequently make choices that concern the
environment, flowers, love, clothing, peace, horses, other animals
and birds, music etc. If you observe differences, it is also worth
raising the question about the degree to which these differences are
a product of acculturation. A description of the adult preferences
in the community might shed light on the preferences of the sixth

What do those of you who are teaching sixth grade observe when
students are given their own choice of subjects and themes? If given
a camera to photograph four of their favorite things and activities,
what differences would emerge? How would you describe the parent and
community attitudes toward gender specific socialization?

We might also be able to observe similarities and differences in how
much each gender enjoys working with certain processes and tools.

In my opinion, whether or not differences are observed, an art
education text should speak to ways teachers can acknowledge and
correct their own discrimination, if any, regarding skills taught and
expected, the work they show in art history, and the sort of themes
they encourage.

Here in Indiana, when I ask college students on a pre-test of art
knowledge to name the most famous women visual artist they know, many
non art majors are unable to come up with one name. Virtually all
can name a male artist. There is enough discrimination in museum
collections and reference books that many sixth grade girls may still
not realize that they are equally capable of a career in art (other
than teaching) if they choose it.

Marvin Bartel, Ed.D., Professor of Art Emeritus
Goshen College, 1700 South Main, Goshen IN 46526
studio phone: 574-533-0171
"You can't never know how to do it before you never did it before."
... a kindergarten boy working with clay for the first time.

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