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Any thoughts on this matter? I'm open to hear them.
>To Robert Beeching and anyone else who'll listen to my "soap box"
>I received your newsletter ART ADVOCATE - December issue - just a few days
>ago and would like to respond with some of my thoughts in agreement of
>I can relate to all that you say about art teacher training (let
>alone...reg. teacher art training) being the pits (my words) as far as
>content goes. I've had previous discussions with university
>professors...some even on our listserv...who relegate most of art teacher
>training to the study of art teacher history of education, reg. teacher
>history of education...nothing to do with the actual teaching of art.) It
>blows me away...makes me angry...that all that time is what I consider
>less-well-spent and leaves the potential art teacher in a state of
>confusion about what to do when faced with 35 kids and a need for a
>balanced curriculum....forget the need to know how to set up a budget and
>know resources for ordering supplies and finding morale support.
>I went to a very prominent university back in the 60's and thought my art
>education methods classes would see me through my career. Wrong! I was
>never taught elements and principles..only projects and very little actual
>methods. I learned them on my own while teaching but that method took a
>long time to accomplish and many kids passed by me in the process. It would
>have CERTAINLY benefited me to know them while building up my curriculum of
>projects and art history. I stumbled through several years with this
>limited knowledge thinking everybody was having the same difficulty, that
>it was normal....and, quite frankly...most of us were but were afraid to
>admit it thinking we had somehow "missed the boat" in college lectures. It
>angers me that this is STILL happening. Some professors argue that it isn't
>the case today. That's easy to say but I see new art teachers and even
>supposedly knowledgable, more experienced ones not understanding what is
>missing in their teaching. The "project" and the "experience" is there but
>no true art-related knowledge is forthcoming.
>Probably the MOST angry I get is when a reg. teacher (or someone like a
>shop teacher) in our middle school arena is assigned to teach a couple of
>courses of art to middle schoolers. The teacher doesn't even know how to
>draw...much less TEACH it. No learning is taking place...just time being
>filled ( but no brains!). Kids are frustrated...reg. teacher is
>frustrated...parents are frustrated (throw up their hands and say, "Oh,
>well. It must not be important.")...administrators are happy 'cause the
>reg. teacher has a schedule spot filled and kids have a class to go
>to...counselor is happy 'cause there's another "dumping ground" class
>available...and art education is lost in the melee. And, most of all, we
>then sit back, muse, and wonder why the teaching of art isn't considered an
>academic subject. Ha!
>I have another "beef" about professors who "visit" their student teachers'
>classrooms to "observe". How in the world can these professors make an
>acceptable evaluation of someone else when they themselves haven't been in
>the classroom as a teacher in a few, some, (in most cases) many years? Time
>quickly changes one's perspective when you haven't been dealing with large
>numbers of kids (which has been growing steadily), in the attitude of
>students (which has changed drastically in the last 20 years...or even 10
>yrs.), even dealing with parents' demeanor (parents are frustrated,
>overworked, stressed, disenchanted with education).
> All this is becoming a "whole new ballgame" and professors aren't
>understanding these changing perimeters. I'll give them credit for
>acknowledging the changes, but until you've actually TAUGHT in these
>situations, you can't fully understand what's needed. It's easy to make
>judgements from the grandstand but you really need to get back in the
>ballgame to know what's happenin'. I would propose professors having to
>teach in primary or secondary classrooms for at least 3 weeks/yr. to get
>the "feel" of what's happening out here in real-worldland...to see if the
>methods, project ideas, techniques they're teaching really works with an
>ADD second-grader. It's one thing to teach college-aged students...quite
>another to teach thirty-five 8th graders...six times a day. Trust me.
>Ahhhhh...(she takes a breath). Sorry to ramble but I just get so frustrated
>with the unjustness of it all!
>Have a very good new year. I intend to make mine super regardless of the
>point of my tirade. (She smiles bigtime) Cya............
>Los Cerros Middle School
>Danville, California 94526