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Art Education

Preparation Of Teachers

Visual arts teacher education includes the preparation of art specialist teachers as well as general classroom teachers. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, there are several issues that teacher education in the visual arts must address, including: (a) changes in approaches to determining the art content (art history, criticism, aesthetics, and production) and pedagogical knowledge base for teachers;(b) the challenges of alternative licensure options;(c) the administration of programs of teacher preparation; and (d) conceptions of quality in teacher education in the visual arts.

Teacher Education and Visual Arts Education

Teacher education in the visual arts is unique because of the need to prepare two types of teachers at the elementary level (specialist and general classroom teachers), and because of the broad possibilities that exist for the preparation of the secondary teacher of the visual arts. The preparation of specialist teachers varies greatly, ranging from a professional degree in art, in which a substantial portion of the degree is devoted to courses in the visual arts, to a professional degree in education, in which there are fewer courses in art and more in professional education and general education. The preparation of general classroom teachers almost always occurs within an education program. Courses, when required, are usually taught by a professional art educator, who may be a member of either an art faculty or an education faculty.

Current Structure and Organization

While most teacher education in the visual arts in the United States occurs at the undergraduate level, programs exist in a variety of types of institutions, ranging from large research institutions to small liberal arts colleges. A small number of programs are fifth-year, postbaccalaureate programs. The administration of programs for the preparation of visual arts teachers also varies greatly. Some are administered as a subdiscipline within a visual arts program, while others are administered through a professional education unit. Regardless of the home base of the program, effective administration requires collaboration between the visual arts unit and the professional education unit on a campus. Neither the research nor the theoretical literature suggests a clear position about where such programs of instruction are most effectively administered.

National Efforts to Improve Teacher Education in the Arts

Between 1996 and 2001 several major national efforts were initiated related to the preparation of visual arts teachers. The National Art Education Association (NAEA) published a new set of standards for art teacher preparation in 1999; the International Council of Fine Arts Deans (ICFAD) adopted an agenda for teacher education in 1998–and they published To Move Forward in collaboration with the Consortium of National Arts Education Associations and the Council of Arts Accrediting Associations in 2001. The purpose of this publication is an affirmation of a continuing commitment to arts education; the statement identifies accomplishments in a number of areas and suggests a reasonable number of next steps to advance student learning. The Council of Chief State School Officers, through its Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC), initiated an effort in 1998 to establish standards for teacher preparation in the arts, including the visual arts, for elementary classroom teachers and elementary arts specialists. The Arts Education Partnership has also addressed the issue of teacher education in the arts through the establishment of a national task force and by holding several meetings devoted to the topic. The Institute for Education Inquiry's (IEI) National Network for Educational Renewal launched a national arts and teacher education initiative in 1999 that is focused on including a comprehensive approach to teaching and learning in and through the arts in the preparation of elementary classroom teachers.

The five-point agenda adopted by the International Council of Fine Arts Deans in 1998 consists of: (1) defining the nature of teaching and learning in the arts for all students; (2) reviewing and revising the curriculum of undergraduate teacher education programs to insure that prospective arts specialists, working with classroom teachers, are prepared to deliver a balanced curriculum (production and performance, history, criticism, and aesthetics) that addresses multicultural issues and the use of technology in the arts; (3) insuring that prospective arts specialist and classroom teachers are prepared to engage in meaningful collaborations with classroom teachers; (4) addressing and incorporating the national standards in the arts into the preparation of prospective arts specialist and classroom teachers; and (5) insuring that prospective arts specialist and classroom teachers understand the role of the arts in the real world by recognizing the necessity for effective advocacy and meaningful partnerships. Paramount in moving this agenda forward is the recognition that art teacher educators must be provided with opportunities for professional development. Four of the seven major sections of To Move Forward address teacher education issues–outlining accomplishments and identifying necessary steps to move forward.

Both the National Art Education Association (NAEA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) have initiated efforts to establish performance-based standards for the preparation of specialist and classroom teachers in the arts. The NAEA standards deal with the visual arts specialist teacher only, while the INTASC standards deal with all of the arts, for the elementary arts specialist teacher and the classroom teacher. Both efforts herald a new direction for teacher education, in that both are based on performance standards for the prospective teacher as opposed to program standards that are often based on increments of time.

The NAEA standards support a comprehensive approach to teaching and learning in the arts and outline standards and skills for the art teacher candidates in the content of art, knowledge of the students, curriculum development, instruction, and assessment of student learning outcomes, teacher effectiveness, and program effectiveness. The INTASC standards are designed to promote standards-based reform of teacher preparation, licensing, and professional development. The standards are built around ten core principles related to: (1) "the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of the discipline (s)," and the creation of learning experiences that make these aspects of subject matter meaningful for students; (2) "how children learn and develop," and being able to provide "learning opportunities that support their intellectual, social, physical, and personal development;" (3) "how students differ in their approaches to learning," and creating "instructional opportunities that are adapted to diverse learners;" (4) using "a variety of instructional strategies to encourage students' development of critical thinking, problem solving, and performance skills;"(5) "individual and group motivation and behavior to create a learning environment that encourages positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, and self-motivation;" (6) "effective verbal, nonverbal, and media communication techniques to foster active inquiry, collaboration, and supportive interaction in the classroom;" (7) "planning instruction based upon knowledge of subject matter, students, the community, and curriculum goals;" (8) using "formal and informal assessment strategies to evaluate and ensure the continuous intellectual, social, and physical development of the learner;" (9) insuring that the teacher "is a reflective practitioner who continually evaluates the effects of his/her choices and actions on others (students, parents, and other professionals in the learning community), and who actively seeks out opportunities to grow professionally;" and (10) fostering "relationships with school colleagues, parents, and agencies in the larger community to support students' learning and wellbeing."

While the IEI project and the Arts Education Partnership efforts have not produced any documents to date, both have strong potential for making significant contributions to the improvement of teacher preparation in the visual arts. The IEI project is planned to: (1) design a component in the teacher education curriculum to help prospective elementary education teachers understand and acquire literacy in the arts through a comprehensive approach to learning and teaching in and through the arts; (2) foster and enhance partner schools where prospective elementary teachers are mentored by experienced teachers demonstrating success in engaging students deeply in a comprehensive approach to teaching and learning in and through the arts in their classroom activity; (3) foster and enhance partnerships with local and regional arts organizations that can have a positive impact upon teacher education programs and upon teaching and learning in partner schools; and (4) work with faculty in arts departments and colleges, schools, and departments of education, as well as with appropriate campus administrators, to ensure that general education requirements include a comprehensive approach to learning and teaching in and through the arts. The Arts Education Partnership has addressed the issue by establishing a task force that is examining how the partnership's constituent organizations can become involved in both pre-service and in-service teacher education.

All of these national efforts are focused on improving the quality of teacher education in the arts, and they emphasize a comprehensive approach to teaching and learning in and through the arts. Among the concerns raised through these efforts are:(a) relationships and responsibilities of the art educator, the professional artist, and the professional general educator in teaching and teacher preparation in the visual arts; (b) appropriate entry levels into practice for the art educator; and (c) validation of the basic preparation for teachers.



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INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL OF FINE ARTS DEANS. 1998. "Teacher Education in the Arts for the Twenty-First Century." <www.rowan.edu/icfad>.


Additional topics

Education - Free Encyclopedia Search EngineEducation Encyclopedia: AACSB International - Program to Septima Poinsette Clark (1898–1987)Art Education - SCHOOL, PREPARATION OF TEACHERS