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Lesson Plans

Re: artists and art education bias (long)

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
dale musselman ((no email))
Mon, 4 Nov 1996 18:33:56 -0800

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> From: EVasso
>> 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.
> So, tell me Dale. How is it that a group of art teachers, so badly trained
> and who take their art with as little seriousness and committment as you
> describe, and in fact, are not very good artists is it that
> they have provided you with such fantastic resources on such a wide range of
> topics?
> -Fred

Yes, my fault. I was tired and was overly blunt without qualifying
what I said as I should have. Let me try to say it again.

First, I am speaking of my experience in Washington state, and at
Western Washington University.

Second, to be fair, WWU has just gone to having their teaching
credential program be a post-bac or masters program, requiring a
bachelors in your endorsement area. To me this is a big improvement
over the past system.

Washington State however, still requires just a college minor's worth
of coursework in a subject to become endorsed in an area. This means
that if I take another three courses in physics, I could become a
high school science teacher. I just don't think that I would
actually be adequately trained at that point.

Now, on the other hand, you of course have put words in my mouth by
writing that I claimed the art teachers who contribute to this group
are poorly trained, not very committed, etc. Indicting the system is
certainly not the same thing as indicting every individual who has
gone through the system. I had a great high school art teacher
myself, and he inspired me to pursue art, and eventually teaching.

I tend to assume that if you received your art ed degree and
certificate all in a bachelors program, and you are now extremely
knowledgeable about art and teaching methods, that you have likely
done a lot of work and learning on your own since getting your
initial degree. This is the impression I get from the people on this
group. Most of you all sound as though you are on a neverending road
of learning and discovery. I hope that you represent the majority of
teachers in that regard. I would just prefer the system do more to
make certain that is the case.

Also, although I wasn't clear on this point, I really don't care
whether, as an art teacher, you ever produce any artwork at all. If
you understand the concepts and can teach them as well as the skills,
etc., I'm not one who believes it is necessary to be a practicing

Let me illustrate my original point with one example:

Suppose as an undergrad, studio art majors were required to take a
few advanced education classes. If you had some of these students in
your philosophy of education class who clearly had not done the
background reading and thinking into the subject of education, and
yet demanded that their relatively naive and uninformed opinions be
taken just as seriously as anyone else's, you might begin to have
these same ideas.

Thank you, anyone who has read this far. Sorry it is so long.


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