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[teacherartexchange] artists as teachers


From: Pam Wellington (loveart_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sat Jul 15 2006 - 07:29:32 PDT

I know many of you have already spoken your mind on this subject but because
this is so basic and very dear to my heart I just had to say something. I
earned my MFA at Maryland Institute College of Art in their summer MFA
program. At that time the program was led by Dr. Karen Carroll, one of the
most articulate and well known art educators today. Her belief, based on
years of experience, is that only committed working artists should be art
educators. She then set about to begin the summer MFA program so that
teachers could experience an intensive in residence Masters program which
would work around their teaching schedules. The fact is that the non-artist
teachers out there are hurting the progress of art education in the public
schools by convincing administrators that art is really not a specialty that
requires any special expertise, experience, commitment or talent. All you
need is a basic education in teaching methods and anybody can do it. This
philosophy has resulted in many school districts accross the country using
this rational for cutting back on art programs and leaving it to the
classroom teacher to teach art, just as they teach math, english, science,
history,etc. But, the fact is that committed working artists are better art
teachers in every way. Ego? I don't get that. If an individual has a
problem with ego he/she would have that problem no matter what they did.
Artist=ego is just silly and very unfair. I am department chair of my
school and I am committed to hiring only art teachers who exhibit a
committment to their own art making. Student respect goes up tenfold when
they know and see that you experience the same struggles and issues they do.
  And, high school students need to see your skill in action. I have been
tested over and over by my students, who want to make sure I can do as well
as I teach. That challenge would be very scary and difficult to meet if I
wasn't working regularly on my own art to keep my hand and eye sharp.
Pam Wellington
Boiling Springs High School, PA

"uh, susan, i'm sure you didn't mean it in a way that
would raise my hackles, but i strongly disagree with:
" To be really honest if they were all that hot they
would not be teaching." i understand that a "good"
artist doesn't always make a good teacher, but here in
our online community you can find an abundance of
phenomenal artists who are fabulous teachers (even
after they retire!). their work in art education and
as artists is a huge source of inspiration to me as
well as their students, i'm sure. be careful of
sweeping generalities!

:D wendy"


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