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Re: [teacherartexchange] Advice with Student Teacher


From: Marvin Bartel (marvinpb_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Thu Aug 03 2006 - 07:30:27 PDT


I was the college supervisor of art student teachers for many years. Many teacher-student/teacher combinations become good friends for life. However, for a few, it is dismal. Dr. Gregory gave good suggestions. I have a couple ideas to add.

1. Give the student teachers some specific duties from day-one. I would have them doing paperwork for you. They should take attendance, fill out forms, etc. Explain it carefully and you need to check it at first to be sure they do it right. They need to learn it so that when they start teaching, they do it automatically. There will be lots of other things to be thinking about and they will be overwhelmed if they to not practice this in advance.

2. The student teacher is generally not expected to present anything for a week or two, but that does not mean sitting in the corner and just watching. Expect and encourage the student teacher to interact with students doing studio time. When students have questions, some student teachers tend to make suggestions--teaching your students to become dependent on them for ideas. This does not teach your students to think. Help the student teacher learn how to use interesting and motivating open questions instead of suggestions. Teach student teachers ways to encourage your students to figure out experiments they can use to solve their own problems.

3. Program in a regular time to work or eat together so you can talk about things (morning, noon, or after school). Develop an open rapport to talk about teaching plans and every little thing that happens. Every individual brings different strengths and deficits, so try to affirm their strengths and question their deficits in order to encourage them to experiment with solutions for small issues before they get serious. Nobody is perfect, but at the end you would like to be able to write an honest recommendation that you can all feel good about. If anything feels serious, be sure to contact the college supervisor immediately.

4. Except for special events or emergencies, be sure the student teacher comes in the morning at least as early as you do and leaves as late as you do at the end of the day.

5. Be sure you and the student teacher have a way to contact each other if either of you is sick or cannot arrive at the expected time.

6. Find out courses they have had, what field teaching experiences they have had, summer jobs, and what their strongest art areas are. If feasible, allow them to start from their strengths when they begin teaching.

7. Encourage student teachers to bring in a display of their own best artwork and place it in a display case for all to see for a few weeks at the beginning. It gives them a bit of status and identity in the school and the in the art class. If helps you know the student teacher, it is a good conversation starter with other teachers, and it may be motivational for the students.

8. Ask strategic questions that get your student teacher to do some detailed planning several weeks ahead, but try to be open to creative plan changes as ideas come up. We are all more creative when our minds are prepared by thinking ahead several weeks, but we do best if we can feel free to make last minute improvements that come to mind as we work. Good teaching is like good painting. It is a dynamic process. Your student teacher has probably had a totally different life than yours and has recently been actively working in studio classes. As a result, some of them contribute some very creative ideas and lessons.


My own student teaching was extremely important. I was lucky to work with two art teachers who were both excellent in what they did.

I did not realize it at the time, but they used significantly different teaching methods. One used lots of examples of prior work to motivate and instruct his students. The other avoided showing examples, but she was very thorough. She had them do a lot of preliminary experimentation and sketching. They helped them to learn how to develop their own original ideas. Both teachers got good exhibition results from their students, but the second produced the most creative minds and artists.


Dr. 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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