In a message dated 6/19/2007 1:08:12 PM Eastern Standard Time,
As for me, I would like to do my part by asking K-12
art teachers the following question: What should be
taught in the elementary and secondary art methods
classes? What kinds of activities should be conducted
to help future art teachers be better prepared to
teach K-12 art? What kinds of reforms should be
implemented in K-12 art teacher preparation programs?
My art ed classes were 35 years ago and most were of little value, fun, but
not too useful. The child development classes were good, but most of the
educational theories back then were like stumbling around in the dark.
I agree with the suggestion to require production of a portfolio. I would
want to see a variety of media and examples of problem solving such as those
done by students in architecture and commercial design. The students should
also be able to demonstrate understanding of goals for art ed, and also ways to
contribute to the goals of the school and community even when they are at
odds with the goals of art education. For this they need an understanding demands
and requirements of general education.
A good overview of art history and concentrated investigation of at least
one important school or movement should be required. A videotape of a
classroom presentation with analysis and critique should be required. My
brother-in-law had to do that 35 years ago for his degree at Oswego State, but I never did
it until I did my National Board portfolios.
I would insist that all prospective art teachers take some basic drawing
classes. It really horrifies me to hear art teachers say "I can't draw".
Granted there is a lot more to art and art ed than drawing, but it is the
foundation for so much.
The final thing is the most important: either through teaching practice,
interview of kids, or even a workshop type class, the art ed student needs to
know how the student perceives the lesson. It is far too easy to assume the
students know things when in reality they do not. After 20 years of teaching,
I still run into things that throw my lessons off track. I thought because my
2nd graders could tie their shoes they could tie an overhand knot. They
couldn't, so I either had to teach them or do it for them and teach it at a later
time. Sometimes the things I think they will have a problem with, they do
with ease, and things I expect them to know (Where is Mexico?) they do not.
Being able to analyse student knowledge and structure lessons to fit and expand
that knowledge is the real key to teaching art in my opinion.