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Lesson Plans

Re: artists and art education bias

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dale musselman ((no email))
Sat, 2 Nov 1996 11:06:48 -0800

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> From: SDoug719
> Date: Sat, 26 Oct 1996 21:02:37 -0400
> As I am reading the discussion regarding the schism between art education and
> the fine arts, I am compelled to bring up a subject that is very troubling to
> me. Art education requires a knowledge of how students learn best, how
> students develop in the arts and in other areas of the curriculum that
> interrelate with art learning, how to navigate the political sea of the
> educational arena, how to promote student art, etc. Art education is a true
> calling and it takes years of refinement, sacrifice, and hard work to excell
> in this area. Yet, national organizations, like the Endowment for the Arts,
> would rather put artists not art teachers in the classroom. Has anyone out
> there really read the National Standards for the Arts (the development of
> which was funded by the NFA) or compared them to standards for other areas of
> the curriculum? All other curriculum standards spend chapters on how their
> educators need to be trained and what support they will need to enact the
> standards. Our standards never mention art educators--they allude to the
> training of regular classroom teachers and they promote the use of fine
> artists-not art educators. In fact, the standards are left intentionally
> vague in order to accomadate these fine artists and there areas of interest.
> I felt I needed to point this out, because the schism between the fine arts
> and art education goes much deeper than the college arena in which so many of
> us have seen it played out. It is playing out now at a national level. Su
> Douglas

Just had to add my POV as someone who received a studio degree years
ago, and came back to get an MEd and certificate to teach High School

Certainly when I was first at college, those of us who were studio
majors often looked down on art ed majors. Mostly this came from
having art ed majors in our classes, and realizing that few of them
had any commitiment to either producing serious art or to making any
serious attempt to understand art.

Unfortunately, when I took the art ed methods classes last year (I'm
in the middle of student teaching now), it seemed that nothing had
changed. Example: The professor had us read an article, and then
explained it for an hour and a half, the gist of which was that art
making is in fact an intentional activity involving a series of
choices. The scary part was that seemed to be news to some of the

Basically, I think that a Bachelor's degree in education with the
minimum number of art credits required is a totally inadequate
preparation for the job. As is an advanced studio degree without all
the ed, psych and methods courses.

If we want others to take the teaching profession seriously, I think
that one of the first steps needs to be to raise the requirements for
becoming a teacher (of course pay improvements would help too).

On another note:
I have been reading this group for the past several months, and it
has been a fantastic resource on a wide range of topics. Thanks to
all who contribute.

Dale Musselman

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