Sarah (and others):
>Is DBAE intended strictly for art teachers?
I'll give an opinionated answer to your question, but would really be
interested in hearing other responses as well.
I believe the orignal intent of DBAE is to elevate the status of arts
education in the public schools. The Getty Center for Education in the Arts
did a lot of research and studies and found that some of the reasons Art Ed
is held in such low regard is that people assume you have to be
artistically gifted to do well in art, and that it has little to do with
the "academic" areas. The fact that most of us (art teachers) spend most of
our classroom time on art production also reduced the respect awarded to
the arts. I would venture to say this attitude developed among people who
proclaim "...can't draw a straight line with a ruler...", yet who were
successful in their chosen careers. To them, obviously, the arts weren't
necessary. And then another thing that has always hurt art education is
that the elementary classroom teacher is of course perfectly qualified to
teach art activities in his/her classroom - after all, they have a college
To get back to Sarah's question - I think DBAE is immensely helping the art
teachers. DBAE concepts fit very nicely into the way many of us like to
teach and learn anyway - and it makes a huge difference in the classroom.
At least it has in mine. DBAE is a more scholarly, well-rounded approach to
including the arts in a childs education - that every child can benefit
from. So what if one "can't draw a straight line...", one has opportunities
to be successful in art history and art ciriticism activities - and gain
life-long learning benefits from those experiences.
The success of DBAE should communicate to the Education world in general
that not only are the arts extremely valueable, but that they need to be
taught by someone with a well-rounded education in the arts. I would hope
that in time DBAE will help elementary educators to discard the color-in
xerox pages and the pattern-tracing mass produced projects that crush
creativity and individual expression.
Sandy Hildreth <shildret>
7-12 Art, Madrid-Waddington Central School, Madrid, NY 13660
Art Methods, St. Lawrence University, Canton, NY 13617
(1) Though DBAE specifically addresses the visual arts, the approach
also includes interdisciplinary connections and content. When
teaching a comprehensive art lesson, the very nature of the
lesson will most likely include logical connections with non-art
For example, a lesson based on a work of art from
an African culture could include connections with social studies
(the context in which the work was created, historical and
cultural information about the culture), geography (locate the
place of origin on a world map), writing (works of art can be
used as a focus for different kinds of writing), reading (there
are many books available that have stories from different
cultures), and so on.
In my teaching experience, providing related activities in art history,
criticism, and aesthetics also improved the quality of students'
production activities, maybe because this approach helps foster
a deeper understanding of the underlying concepts of the lesson.
(2) There are other subject areas that are incorporating a DBAE
approach - music is one; I also see language arts teachers using
a similar approach.
(3) DBAE is not only for art teachers, but the approach works
best when the art teacher serves as the "art expert" for the
school and works with classroom teachers to develop and present
integrated lessons. Of course, this is easier to do at the elementary
grades, since scheduling becomes so complicated in the upper
Nancy Walkup, Project Coordinator
North Texas Institute for Educators on the Visual Arts
PO Box 5098, University of North Texas 76203
817/565-3986 FAX 817/565-4867