Approaching Art Education with an Adapted 2020 Focus

Feature Article »
By Jeff Young and Dr. Trina Harlow, Professors of Art, Art Education »

Almost 20 art making videos for children were submitted to Conway ArtsFest by Dr. Harlow’s classes.

In each fall newsletter, we like to start by congratulating recent graduates who secured teaching positions as art teachers. Each earned the B.A. in Art: Art Education Emphasis, with the exception of Adrienne Thompson, who earned the B.A. in Art: Fine Art Emphasis and is participating in the APPEL program:

  • Taylor Lehmann, Maddux Elementary, West Memphis
  • Ana Neal, Sylvan Hills High School, Pulaski County Special School District
  • Lainey Necessary, Vilonia High School
  • Eli Otto, Southwest High School, Little Rock
  • Kelsey Spigner, Cabot Middle School North
  • Adrienne Thompson, Mills University High School, Pulaski County Special School District

Art education student, India Ward, assists students at Art in the Park.

Like all fields since the beginning of the pandemic, art education has adapted to the requirements of social distancing. Art teachers in PK-12 schools, as well as at colleges and universities, have modified the way in which art instruction takes place. Challenging times call for unique approaches. Dr. Harlow, new faculty in the UCA Department of Art & Design and Assistant Professor of Art Education, brings commitment to ensuring the future art teachers in her classes learn how to adapt art instruction to these 2020 circumstances and gain the experiences they need in providing instruction to children and adolescents. Together with Dr. Jeff Young, Professor of Art Education, she devised a variety of experiences for her students to grow their skills in their chosen profession.

Students in ART4350 Practicum, which focuses primarily on elementary art methods, made recordings of art demonstrations for children and these videos were provided to Conway ArtsFest in order to support their 2020 digital festival. Students chose an art project, planned how to demonstrate the project, and then devised their own way to record the videos. Most students used the devices and equipment they had available at home, much like art teachers all over the United States are doing in these times. Dr. Harlow edited these videos in WeVideo adding title slides, music, and text, among other edits. Practicum students also held a social distancing Art in the Park for the Faulkner County Home School Association at the end of October. The Practicum class hosted 20 home-schooled students in a morning of art making at Laurel Park in Conway. UCA students worked in teams to plan art projects for five to twelve-year-old children to complete in the fresh fall air at one of Conway’s beautiful parks. Finally, Practicum students also viewed and discussed videos from the Online Art Teachers K-12 (OATK12) Facebook Group to gain valuable professional development experience – Dr. Harlow started this group on March 11th in order to provide support and networking to art teachers in the United States and across the world. This group now has almost 18,000 members, has a website and has hosted two digital conferences and other special events, shares curriculum in a Google Folder with teachers, is collaborating with a major United States museum in a journaling project for historical documentation of 2020, and has become a 2020 phenomenon in art education.

The homepage for the Online Art Teachers (K-12) Facebook Group, started by Dr. Harlow.

Students in ART4361 Internship I, the third art education course that art education students take, were involved in a more in-depth alternative method of gaining field experiences. Internship I students watched and analyzed teaching videos submitted by art teachers applying for National Board Certification. The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards program is a rigorous, intense experience for teachers who chose to work towards meeting the criteria to become an accomplished teacher. One of the components of this program requires teachers to make detailed videos of themselves while teaching. Internship I students viewed these videos during the field experience portion of their class and then used the Arkansas Department of Education Teacher Excellence and Support System (TESS) observation rubric to analyze the videos, much as they will be observed and analyzed as they teach during their student teaching semester.

Internship 1 remote and in-person students enjoyed discussing instructional strategies for their future art classroom and having class at Laurel Park.

Three art education students are completing their student-teaching semester this spring in ART 4690 and 4691 Internship II: Raina Davis with mentor Zac Noland at Carl Stuart Middle School in Conway, Kianna Miesen with mentor Tonya Rhodes at Crawford Elementary in Russellville, and Sarah Childres with mentor Jason McCann at Little Rock Central High School. Each of these student teachers is working side-by-side (appropriately masked and distanced) with their mentors, teaching students in class and virtually. We want to give a cheer to these mentors for their dedicated work with student teachers during these challenging times and share the unique ways in which UCA Art Education rose to the challenges of 2020!