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Lesson Plans

Re: non art certified possible?

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
craig roland (rolandc)
Tue, 2 Nov 1999 00:40:36 -0500

Susan (and other interested readers):

>...If I am a certified elementary school teacher in New York, having taught
>pre-k and Kindergarten for 12 years here, is it possible in any state or
>specific district that needs teachers to teach art K-12 or lower than 12,
>without being certified in art?...

I'd like to try to address your question and then briefly respond to some
of the larger issues it has raised. (sorry this may get a little
long...since I haven't posted in a while I hope you'll all allow me this

I can only address your question in regards to Florida. Here, it is
possible for someone to be hired as an art teacher having been certified in
another area or by simply having a bachelors degree in the area. I believe
that the state only requires that you have a few art courses and a few art
ed/ed courses, when going the alternative certification route. I do know
of local schools that have hired persons to teach art without any formal
art background (simply an interest or some art experience). As you
suggested, these people typically pick up the required courses after being
hired. Also, they must prove themselves in the classroom during their
first year of teaching (which replaces the need for student teaching).

I know of one Florida district that had over 20 openings for art teachers
this past year. I would like to believe that they filled those positions
with certified art teachers, but that's probably wishful thinking. Two of
our graduates were hired there. One seems to be doing really well, the
other is struggling. (Which, of course, demonstrates even being certified
doesn't guarantee success later in the classroom).

Recently I got calls from two Florida principals desperately seeking art
teachers. They asked me to send any of our art ed graduates their way. I
was sorry to report to them that I had no one to send to them (all of our
recent grads who actively sought positions, were hired.) My point being we
don't seem to be turning out enough certified art teachers to fill the
positions opening up around the state.

I would also like to say that a few years ago I recommended an MFA art
graduate from UF for a local private school art position. He was hired
and, in my mind, has become one of our best art teachers in the area. I'd
like to be able to place a student teacher with him, but I can't because
he's not certified...which is a state requirement for all cooperating art

I won't repeat the arguments that have already been raised on both sides of
this issue. As those have been around on this list for awhile know, this
issue has come up before...a few times. As an art teacher educator, I
certainly have a biased opinion on this matter believing that someone who
is certified to teach art is in a much better position to offer art
instruction to students. But, I've softened by view on this matter in
recent years having seen and worked with a number of dedicated people who
do outstanding work teaching art in schools and other settings without
being certified as art teachers.

Recently, I had the opportunity to visit art education programs in several
museums and community art centers around the country. I encountered 30+
persons in these settings who were teaching art to kids and adults, a few
of which were former certified art teachers. What really struck me time
and time again was how innovative the work being produced in these programs
was and how the practices I observed were so closely alligned with
contemporary art practices. In most cases, kids were looking at "real"
art, talking about it and then tapping into the themes and/or practices
inherent in the work for their own productive activities. In some cases,
the kids were dealing with "tough" issues (like gay rights and community
activism) which could never (or only seldom) be dealt with in a public
school classroom.

Also, in all the alternative settings I visited, the institutions are
either working with local schools to offer inservice training to classroom
teachers, art teachers (or both); enrichment programs for kids in local
schools; and, in some cases, the only art instruction kids receive in that
area. What this experience left me with is the belief that there are a
number of ways for kids to get a "quality" art education. Of course, I
would like to see this offered by certified art teachers. But, I now
realize that there are other avenues available to achieve this goal. Of
course, the ideal situation would involve certified art teachers and other
art professionals (from museums and community art centers) working together
to offer art education to kids. Rather than persisting to promote the
us-vs-them view, "can't we all just get along" and work together?

I do think we've become over-protective within the field of art education
believing that only certified art teachers are qualified to teach art to
kids. Given the new art teacher standards put out by the NAEA, the recent
national trend to improve the quality of teachers, and the emphasis on
National Board certification, I imagine that the day will soon be here when
only certified art teachers are allowed (and hired) to teach art in
schools. This will hopefully mean that the quality of art education will
continue to improve across this country. Also, I'm hopeful that this trend
will lead to more talented art students choosing to pursue teacher
certification in college and university art education programs. But, I'm
afraid, in the process of change, we will lose some highly gifted and
qualified people who would make exceptional art teachers in schools.

Well...I've gone on long enough. Hopefully, I'd contributed something new
to this long-standing debate and at the very least answered your question


CRAIG ROLAND. Associate Professor-Art Education.
School of Art and Art History, FAC 302,
University of Florida, Gainesville Florida.
32611-5801. (352) 392-9165 - Art Ed Office (352) 392-8453 - Fax
new email address: rolandc

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