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Lesson Plans

Diane's Questions

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Mark Larson (mlarson)
Sat, 30 Mar 1996 20:57:43 -0600

In the interest of time (I'm writing this at the tail end of my study hall
assignment...) I'd like to respond to some of Diane's questions.

I think most of you have eloquently answered the first question. Each of us
probably has there own personal reasons for what they believe about the
makings of a good art teacher, so I won't beat a dead horse.

>Regarding question 2: Second Question:

>What can university educators do to bring out or develop this single most
>important factor that makes a good art teacher?

My experience has been that historically, the university system is the real
culprit in ill-preparing teachers to teach. I'm basing my opinions on the
University of Wisconsin system, because it sounds like some of you at
various other institutions of higher learning seem to have your act
together regarding current issues and trends in art education.

My experience however is that education departments in general are 3-4
years out of touch with what is actually happening in public schools. Many
university education professors never seem to get their heads out of
acaademic journals and research (many, many professors are in the
university for their own research and TEACHING is pretty secondary ---i.e.
the predominace of teaching assistants teaching other professor's
classes...). Typically the public schools will be working with alterntive
assessment, teacher effectiveness, block scheduling, DBAE, Arts Propel,
multiple intelligences, etc., etc., etc., and meanwhile or local university
is stuck with gifted talented, integrated arts, EEN needs, and anything
else that already has been covered. We in central Wisconsin probably won't
see multiple inteligences dealt with at the college level for several
years. Our high school consistently gets student art teachers that have
never been trained in lesson planning, curriculum issues, even basic
philisophical backgrounds from people like John Dewey, Viktor Lowenfelt, or
June McFee to name a few.

Some of the problems have been attributed to budget cuts at the university
level, and indeed, our locaal campus has vitually closed the college art
gallery because of lack of funds, but i think the real reason is professors
who are complacent and out of touch with the real world of education. I
have gotten most of my current information about cutting edge ideas from
outside workshops, primarily the Wisconsin Arts Alliance, Getty, or now via
the Internet. Some private colleges like Viterbo out of LaCrosse seem to be
a bit more current in their course offerings as well.

I'd be interested in hearing from art ed students and teachers from other
parts of the country to see if your experiences are similar or (as I hope
and suspect) totally opposite of my rather cynical experiences.

>Third Question:

>Where do you rank the knowledge of art content (the subject matter in its
>fullest definition) in importance to the success of an art teacher?

I my opinion, content knowledge is second on my priority list (maybe 1
1/2...). Studio understanding is obviously important and vital to the
success of quality products from students. The example about musicians in
another post is right on the mark. So, like the auto mechanic who needs to
know EVERYTHING about cars n' trucks including computer technology, a good
art teacher needs good studio foundations in drawing, painting, design,
sculpture, fibers, ceramics, art history, aesthetics, etc.

But what I rank first in importance, however is the knowledge and training
in the art of teaching. A good art teacher has got to be well versed in
lesson design and implementation, classroom discipline, educational
philosophy, multiple intelligences, curriculum design, budgeting, public
relations, time management, assessment, and all of those thing that create
an atmosphere of trust, creativity, and professionalism in he classroom.
Without this stuff FIRST, a person well versed in art content won't know
how to TEACH it. I've had too many university professors that knew an
incredible amount about their content area, but couldn't teach their way
out of a papre bag! Obviously I'm a "teacher/artist" person, not an
"artist/teacher" person.

Well his post is way too long already, so I'll stop for now.


* Mark Larson, Art Teacher *
* Lincoln High School *
* 1801 16th Street So. *
* Wisconsin Rapids, WiI 54494 *
* School: 715.423.1520 *
* e-mail: mlarson *

See you soon on the World Wide Web!