Early Experiences in Art Education

Viewpoint; View from the Field »
By Jeff Young, Associate Professor of Art, Art Education »

The Art Education Emphasis

Intro students making collograph prints. Photo by Jeff Young

Some students come to UCA knowing that they want to become art teachers. Some students start off in other majors or emphases and then later want to explore the possibility of teaching art. ART 3304 Introduction to Art Education, the first of three art education courses offered in the Art Department, is required for art education emphasis students. For students who are exploring, the class counts towards both the BFA in Studio Art and the BA in Art: Fine Art Emphasis.

Collograph prints using experimental materials. Photo by Jeff Young

Focusing on teaching elementary students, the course covers how to teach studio activities like printmaking, weaving, ceramics, drawing, and painting that are appropriate for kindergartners through fifth graders. It also covers how to teach criticism and aesthetics through activities and games. Students in the course are introduced to classroom management skills and how to develop and write lesson plans. Students also reflect on and discuss traits exhibited by effective teachers. The class culminates at the end of the semester when the class members develop lessons for and teach approximately 30 elementary students in April in the Visual Art Studio, an after-school art program for children in the community. The elementary students come to the UCA campus and are taught in the art education studio in McAlister Hall.

Art education students are art majors but have to be admitted to the College of Education (COE), where they take 14 hours of coursework. Two strengths of the COE and the art education program are the amount of field experience that students accrue prior to their student teaching semester and the focus on reflecting on those field experiences to make themselves better teachers. These experiences, built on the strong foundation of studio and art history courses required for the degree, make effective art teachers graduating from the program.

Sandpaper prints using non-representational imagery to capture the essence of influential teachers from Intro students’ pasts. Photo . by Jeff Young

The UCA Art Education program is well-thought of by principals and teachers in the public schools of Central Arkansas. Graduates of the program are successful in securing teaching jobs, most within a year after graduating. Since 2001, the department has information that 80 of 86 alumni from the art education program (93%) were teaching in public or private schools after graduating.

Search in Progress for Art Education Assistant Professor

Last year, after Professor Deborah Kuster’s retirement, the Department of Art was approved to search for a replacement in the art education position. The Art Education Search Committee is currently reviewing applications for the job and will be recommending a slate of candidates to be brought to campus for interviews.