Advocacy & Policy

NAEA Position Statement on Pre-service Education and its Relationship to Higher Education

[Adopted March 2011; Reviewed and Revised April 2014; March 2019; April 2024]

NAEA supports quality pre-service education taught by experienced visual art educators as a required foundation for the development of professional practices prior to entering the field independently. Accredited higher education institutions in partnership with schools, museums, and community organizations provide the best models of pre-service preparation. Such programs should include: clinical experiences, pedagogy courses, visual arts/design/media arts content courses, professional development opportunities, and student associations. NAEA believes that comprehensive pre-service education engages learners in inquiry, advocacy, and leadership in relation to the following domains:

The Profession:

Pre-service art education programs prepare art educators to:

  • Recognize and enact their role as leaders in schools and communities.
  • Exhibit professional dispositions defined by current state, national, and professional standards.
  • Establish collaborative communities of practice within the visual arts, design, and media arts and beyond
  • Develop effective communication skills with all stakeholders (faculty, staff, parents, students, community,) These include exemplifying professional values and qualities, engaging in reflective practices associated with life-long learning, advocating for excellence in their schools and communities, and participating in, as well as, taking on leadership positions in their local, state, and national associations.

The Learners:

Pre-service art education programs prepare art educators to:

  • Understand their students from theoretical and practical perspectives.
  • Understand factors such as diverse learning styles, developmental variance, social conditions, and family and cultural values that might affect learner performance in the visual arts, design, and media arts.
  • Understand and use appropriate educational techniques to address students of all variabilities including equitable instructional practices, development of curricula, and assessment methodologies.
  • Be effective in a variety of learning settings

NAEA recognizes the importance of clinical experiences for mastering the art of teaching. Teaching is a practice skill, requiring the hands-on application of theory. As student teachers, pre-service educators should have experiences in the classroom with diverse students and explore different approaches to teaching students all abilities.

The Teaching Contexts:

Pre-service art education programs prepare art educators to:

  • Understand that community values can contribute to the guiding principles of the educational settings.
  • Become highly skilled in curriculum development, teaching methods and pedagogies, assessment procedures, standards application, and instructional strategies.
  • Share curriculum through both historical and emerging technologies.
  • Appropriately develop, understand and apply a variety of student engagement techniques and classroom management strategies.

The Content:

Pre-service art education programs prepare art educators to

  • Have a strong knowledge base in traditional and emerging visual arts practices.
  • Explore the complexity of art making.
  • Become fluent in interpreting works of art and other visual images, objects, experiences, and environments in relation to various cultural and historical contexts.
  • Prepare students with skills that will enable their success.


“Understand the particular needs of special populations—such as behavior-disordered, gifted, hearing- or sight-impaired, [neurodiverse and differently abled], and English language learners—and teaching strategies appropriate to these populations” (NAEA Standards for Art Teacher Preparation, 2009). -