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Lesson Plans


[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Robert Beeching (robprod)
Thu, 08 Jan 1998 15:48:40 -0800

Marvin Bartel wrote 01/08/98

"...we need to link art-learning to everyday life issues as strongly as
reading, writing, and computing...I invite you to follow your logical
argument with some good examplls of how art is just as validly linked to
everyday issues as is reading, writing, and computing."


In order to do that, we need college arts method courses which make
these links:

1) By analogy, professors of elementary math methods courses assume that
the teaching candidate knows how to add, subtract, and multiply before
entering this course. The methods introduced from this point on, deal
with specific methods by which an elementary school teacher can convey
these concepts. In other words, how to perform math functions to
students at different grade levels. The concepts lie in the field of
educational theory, practice, and pychology, children learn

2) This is not the case for professors of art education. Most of their
teacher candidate students do not come prepared in drawing, painting,
or construction skills. In fact, they are unprepared to deal with the
basic concepts of the "principles and elements" of design; which are the
very building blocks of all visual arts instruction and training. This
professor has no option other than to conduct a remedial type of
catch-up course to impart at least a semblance of visual arts training
in a span of four months. Whereas, the professor of mathematics has the
advantage of teaching candidates who have had reading, writing, and
computing skills drumbed into them since the age of kindergarten. An
impossible task.

3) Those of us who have been fortunate enough to have worked on both
sides of the fence know that there is a great difference between
"theory" and "practice." Most children who draw well, have done so
mostly on their own, and usually become the class artist whom the
elementary classroom teacher relies upon to spearhead mural or poster
projects; as in many elementary classooms today, where teachers tend to
rely upon those students with years of "Nintendo" training under their
belts, to negotiate the classroom computers.

4) Linking the arts to everyday life is a problem for many teachers
simply because of a lack of training. It is difficult to teach by
analogy without personal experience. It is less difficult for secondary
level art teachers because they are, first, art majors, and, second,
teachers of art. Like the professor of art education, the high school
art teacher also has to play the game of catch-up with in-coming

5) This disparity has a long history in American Art Education where,
for instance, the city fathers of 18th century Boston restricted art
training in the grammar school for fear that students may become
"Bohemians"; therefore, allowing the teaching of only the "decorative
arts" to the female student population. Those males who were inclined
toward the arts were quietly shipped abroad for their studies.

6) The reason that linking art to everyday living is difficult for most
elementary level teachers, is that they themselves are prisoners of
ignorance. It is only during the course of their teaching experience
that they may stumble on a few relationships between art and math, or
art with social science, or history. For example if a teacher is
trainined in art, it is easy to make analogies, i.e. that the art of
sculpture is both an "additive" and "subtractive" process. How is one to
know this without experience?
Another example: When designing a web page one is dealing with "space
divisions" and "typography." How can we expect a teacher to know that
with out the exposure to the basic "principles and elements" of design
which it takes to produce a well-designed web page; let alone being able
to make an association with Mondrian, the father of modern space

7) It took the computer industry 20 years to realize that a computer
programmer is not the one to design the visual aspects of a program. It
is only now that visual artists are employed to fill this need. Since
most people have had no instruction in the visual arts, we have "CLIP
ART" which allows non- artists to "insert" images with no training
whatsoever. Maniplulating art is not the same as teaching art.

8) Ad agency art directors are tearing their hair out for the want of
people who can "draw." Most entry level probationaries can only render
images of the calibre of "Beavis and Butthead." They seem to know little
of composition and design or typography.

9) The old art of "matt" painting (on glass) as used in productions
beginning with "Star Wars" requires the knowledge and skill of a
draftman and painter of the highest calibre. Construction techniques are
required to build the sophisticated mechanisms and environments for
these producitons. American Industrial Design has sunk so low that the
Ford "Taurus" was designed by an Englishman, and the Apple Computer
housing was designed by a German. And we talk about art education?

10) The reason that most Americans do not appreciate the need for an art
educations is simply because no one ever told them that the clothes
they wear, and the furniture they sit on, and the cars they drive have
to be designed, and it take an artist to design and produce them , and
that this is how all these things are produced, and that you are going
to have an opportunity to experiences some these exciting processes and
techniques in your school life in order that you will never forget
where your culture comes from.