Choice Art Educators (CAE) Interest Group Column: Feb/Mar 2022

NAEA News Feb/Mar 2022

The columns for this issue of NAEA News were written prior to the 2022 National Convention. As such, you may find information about Convention sessions and references to past occurrences in the future tense.

Student as Artist: Classroom Applications

I train future art teachers. As a function of my job, I introduce my students to a variety of art education frameworks available to them as they learn to create curriculum and implement instructional strategies. We explore various options such as discipline-based art education, community-based art education, formalism, and choice. A few months ago, I wrote an article for NAEA News for choice-art educators about the spectrum between teacher-directed and full-choice classrooms. I discussed the differences between what I thought I was offering my students on that spectrum and what I was actually offering. This spectrum is not only helpful for art teachers to adjust their curriculum to accommodate more choice in their classrooms, but it allows them to evaluate their student readiness for choice. It seems that the opportunities for students to become artists within the classroom setting is determined by the level of choice available.

After more than a decade of moving toward a full-choice classroom, I discovered that the level of choice depended upon my readiness and the readiness of individual students. Our understanding about what constitutes full choice fluctuated as we developed relationships in learning and in artmaking. These relationships helped me develop a classroom environment in which students could become artists to the degree with which they were most comfortable. The presentations in March 2022 for the NAEA Convention in New York will provide inspiration for moving closer to full choice in your classroom.

Isolde Beebe brings exciting research to the choice classroom through artist research that encourages development of students’ artist voice. Abstract collaboration is the name of the game in Michael Bell’s presentation, “Angels and Demons,” exploring the light and dark side using mixed media. Abigail Birhanu guides exploration in the world of contemporary artists of color for profound student artist voice development. If you are new to choice-art education, be sure to attend Brooke Brei’s “Plug-and-Play Choice-Focused Curriculum” virtual session, in which she offers a curriculum that was developed in her choice classrooms. Eric Scott offers simple yet effective strategies you can use to make the shift from your teacher-directed art room to one that embraces critical thinking and problem solving, and that honors students’ artistic voice. Teaching for Artistic Behavior (TAB) comes to life with Jennifer Ferrari as she offers research-based real-world classroom examples. Imaginative landscape allows students to explore their world with a variety of artistic materials in Penelope Venola’s “Flying out the Window” session.

This lineup is exciting for those who have years of experience and those who want to move toward choice in the art classroom. As an art educator, I see the vast possibilities that will come from these innovative and creative sessions. I am excited to use what is offered in March 2022 at the NAEA Convention as I guide new art teachers toward their own classrooms and their own ways of offering choice. Please join us in these Choice-Art Educators sessions and learn about the power of choice.

Michelle Puhl-Price, CAE Co-President
Sandy Spring Friends School, Sandy Spring, MD.

Julie Jacobusse, CAE Co-President
Holland Middle School, Holland, MI.

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