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Lesson Plans

Re: Even more on elementary generalists and art specialists

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Tue, 21 Jan 1997 19:10:07 -0800

I would like to add just a quick question to go along with Elizabeth's argument
and to continue her Devil's advocate. Do most Elementary Art Educators get
their degrees from the School of Education or a School/College of Art such as
Herron, Art Institute of Chicago etc.? If your degree comes from the school of
Education, then how can that be considered an art specialist. They won't hire
specialists from the Humanities field, such as historians, socialogists,
political scientists or philosophers no matter how much background one has with
children or one's teaching experience. If I'm not mistaken they are the
specialists in their individual fields just like someone who graduates from an
art school. Correct me if I'm wrong, but in my state, to be an art teacher one
cannot just have a degree from Herron. They are required to go through the
School of Education either for a full degree or a special license program.
There is nothing wrong with that system per se except our education school
administrators are very stubborn about not allowing specialists from other areas
get into their "terrain". I was just curious because the word "specialist"
keeps popping up.


On Tue, 21 Jan 1997, Elizabeth Paul <epaul> wrote:
>Hi, Rosa--
>Thanks for joining in. I do believe we need art specialists in elem schools,
>really I do!, but I want to play devil's advocate here for a moment drawing
>on what you wrote (and a few others before you -- I'm not trying to pick on
>you): "...we must still fight for the right of every elementary school
>student to have a "real" art teacher to teach art as a subject just like
>reading, writing, math and science..." That's a difficult argument to
>defend, I think, because in the U.S. reading, writing, math, and science are
>not taught by specialists but by very real generalists. Those are the sorts
>of arguments I would like to caution those advocating for the place of art
>specialists in the schools from using, because I find it's an easy argument
>to shoot down by those not already believing in the importance of art
>On a related note, math is very different from teaching reading which is
>very different from teaching science which is very different from teaching
>social studies/history, etc. My point being most subjects required to be
>taught by the general classroom teacher require different knowledge bases
>and different methodologies, to some extent anyway, from one another. So why
>not art? I agree whole-heartedly with you that preservice training for gen
>ed teachers in the art is sorely inadequate. In fact, I think much
>preservice training in California in general is inadequate but that's a
>whole 'nother topic.
>And I definitely support your statement that the arts need more than two
>hours a week! Much more.
>So, continuing with my devil's advocate role, over the last couple of days
>we've talked about having ideal situations (i.e., having art specialists)
>and how to get there, but here's a reality-based question for those of you
>adamant about general classroom teachers not teaching art: California has
>more or less eliminated art specialists at the elementary level, sad to say.
>But that's the reality here, and probably some other states, and it's not
>going to change in the foreseeable future in California -- at least five or
>more years, given everything else going on in educ here right now and the
>overall conservative climate. So you don't want me teaching art in my
>classroom (not me personally necessarily, I hope, but using me as the
>figurative general ed teacher) -- that means most students in California
>simply won't get any art education until, if they're lucky, middle school or
>maybe high school. And then it's probably an elective (I don't really know
>for sure) so even that is hit-or-miss. The less the arts are taught, the
>less they will be valued because it doesn't build that informed,
>art-enthusiastic citizenry.
>That's how it looks to me. Again, I think most of us here would agree,
>ideally we should have art specialists in the elem schools. But how do you
>propose dealing with the reality that I, personally and figuratively, am
>facing as a teacher in California?
>Thanks! -- Elizabeth P.