Goal 2: Teachers know the subjects they teach and how to teach those subjects to students.

Exhibit C - Praxis Art K-12

Exhibit D - Romare Bearden Unit

Exhibit E - Samples of  student work

Theorists: Bruner, Counts

Courses: EDUC 516 and EDUC 580

 

As many who arrive at teaching as a profession a little late in life, I spent many years working in my chosen field of art. For a little over a decade I worked as a creative director, graphic designer, freelance artist and illustrator. The experience gained during the years of on-the-job training has proven to be invaluable to my teaching career. I attained a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design and Illustration from Columbia College in 1995 and have continued to hone and build my skills as an artist in many mediums over the years, all the while working as a professional graphic designer and freelance artist.

In August of 2008, I embarked on my first year as a full-time teacher. I teach multiple classes in art for Monroe City R-1 High School in Monroe City, Missouri. Those classes include Art I, Advanced Drawing, Advanced Watercolor, Ceramics, Sculpture, Art for Middle School, 2-D and 3-D Design, Digital Photography, and Independent, Advanced Placement Art. My knowledge of the content area is far-reaching due to the fact I have never settled in the niche of one medium. Although my primary medium is watercolor and graphic design, I dabble in multiple areas of creativity and have studied numerous areas of art. My content knowledge is supported by my Praxis in Art K-12. (see Exhibit C).  My experience has geared me to look at every creative opportunity as a possible client / artisan relationship. For this reason, my lesson plans tend to exude real-world experience and give my students the opportunity to practice creating artwork for more than just art’s sake.

As believed by constructivists, learning is an active process in which students construct new ideas and concepts based on their current knowledge and existing set of experiences (Bruner, 1960).  One lesson that comes to mind which draws upon this philosophy is a unit I have developed and taught covering the art of collage and the art style of Romare Bearden, famous black artist of the Harlem Renaissance. (see Exhibit D) I have tried to relate my lessons to the real world is in teaching my students how to get their own ideas and views across through their artwork. Reminiscent of the social reconstructionists’ beliefs, these lessons allow my students to express their own views for social change. According to George Counts (1933), “teacher cannot evade the responsibility of participating actively in the task of reconstituting the democratic tradition and of thus working positively toward a new society” (p. 19). The lesson on Romare Bearden and collage invites the students to become active members of society and use collage as a medium for expressing their ideas on social change.  As a group, we talked a lot about what it means to be a social activist, as Romare Bearden had been during the 1950’s – 1980’s.  We studied the artwork of Bearden and his style of collage. The students then brainstormed issues of humanitarian concern about which they felt very strongly. Some examples of their chosen issues are abortion, homelessness, anti-drug use, going green, and racism. [CC1] I encouraged them to choose something that really touched them on a personal level for it is that kind of heartfelt emotion that is necessary to create meaningful artwork. The result was astounding. One can see the result by viewing the samples of my student’s artwork. (see Exhibit E)

As we begin each unit I feature a significant artist which pertains directly to the medium we are studying. As I learned in EDUC 516 Reading and Writing across Curriculum, working short, shared texts into the unit plans helps to build literacy skills and provides another way for my students to take in the information in the art classroom. I utilize Scholastic Art & Man magazines, subscribed to by my school district. Each magazine focuses on a particular artist or art style and has three to four short articles and many examples of work. I have found that integrating the reading portion into the lesson I reach all learning styles not just visual learners who tend to find art a bit easier to grasp.

All of these efforts of lesson plans, texts, and projects are only effective if we can assess our students and determine they have successfully reached understanding. Assessment in art can be a very tricky task. The art projects are graded very objectively and are only graded accurately by conducting daily formative assessments of observation. However, as I learned in EDUC 580 Methods of Effective Evaluation, there are many methods of assessment, which are valid. I try to use a variety of assessment forms in order to cover all aspects of learning and to assure that objective grading of art projects is not the one and only form of assessment my students have to determine success.


References

Bruner, J. (1960). The process of education. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

 

Counts, G.S. (1933). A call to the teachers of America. New York: John Day.


 [CC1]This is wonderful, a genuine link between art and social commentary, a goal, I believe, of art expression.  I would really like to see the students’ products.