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What classes to take....a different slant on it

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From: lia (johns392_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Mon Jun 18 2001 - 07:23:08 PDT


Jennifer, Susan and others...... I am left feeling the need to respond to
this pretty common assumption that education courses are boring and
trivial.....

>IMO, most education courses- the
>theories and "book knowledge", are not nearly as beneficial as the hands-on
>experience one gains from years in the classroom. I love taking interesting
>and enriching classes that really pertain to art ed and/or art. The others
>that I "had" to take toward my degrees were a big waste of time, so I
>understand your concern about choices.

I would say one of the the most beneficial things I got from my Master's
and PhD was what I learned from upper level education classes
often.....very often.... in with many experienced teachers from other
disciplines. Of course one can't generalize this.....we are all different
learners and in different classrooms.....but I urge you to leave room for
finding interesting learning in educational course work. How our mind
works....how we learn, etc....can be really interesting.

Part of what I found so amazing was what there was to learn......once I had
classroom experience in an art room. That is......as an experienced
teacher there were "hooks of experience" on which to hang the theories that
may have been boring before. The theory xyz--suddenly means something
when you connect a student to it...or an experience. Also.....it was a
time to share with educators from other fields that are just as dedicated
as we are and work just as hard. I learned much about the similarities
between good art teaching and good teaching and what that means. I learned
much about real connections between disciplines....and they learned about
what art education really entails.

What I have discovered is that sometimes education classes can be
boring....but weaving what we know about art learning....and about our
teaching-- into them .....can make them much more exciting and
meaningful. Yes.......there are some situations that are hopelessly
bad---that is true of studio courses as well. Sometimes courses are a big
waste of time......but also sometimes we let them be that by not bringing
ourselves to the table completely.

And no.....it (taking graduate education classes) isn't art making....but
art making isn't all that art teaching is about either....and they can be
wonderfully creative and inventive..... AND there are opportunities to make
other things....that directly apply to what we do. There are so many
incredible things to uncover about how we learn and know.....and those of
us in the arts have much to contribute to that body of knowledge.

I hate the concept that it is them (education) and us. It really
undermines what we do in the long run and what matters to most of us. Take
what interests you.......what you want to explore more.....what you have
questions about... and take what you know about teaching and find ways to
make that meaningful.....and integrate what you love. No one can tell you
what direction to go...or courses to take....because you have to bring your
own passion--even if that passion is motivated by district requirements.
If you can do that.....you will learn about yourself, your teaching,
students and your art making..... and you may have fun too. Best of luck!

..... lia

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