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    3. CHANGE: If you are a teacher, does your curriculum differ from how you were taught and if so, how? If you are preparing to become a teacher in any of the art disciplines, do you plan to transmit the same curriculum or change it? If you plan to change it, what changes would you make?

    Judy Chicago

    Karen Keifer-Boyd pointed out that I had not been posting replies recently and I thought I’d explain why. Although I do not want to sound critical, I have been quite disappointed that my invitation to engage in discourse about the state of university studio art education has not stimulated a lively debate. In fact, some of the posts seem – at least to me – overly academic and/or abstract. Or they seem to have no relationship to the reality of university studio art education as I’ve experienced it or as many young women state. Since the publication of “Institutional Time”, I’ve done several book events after which countless young women who have graduated from art or art history programs have come up to me and said that my observations exactly parallel their experiences, most of which have been dismal, discouraging or disempowering. And yet, reading many of the posts one would assume that all is well in academia. Why is that, I wonder?


    As a teacher, my current curriculum is reflective of how I was taught. It is outlined with specific requirements and projects that I find most valuable to my students and to the creative process. In September, my district plans to begin a one-to-one initiative with Google Chrome books. It is my responsibility to begin to incorporate these technologies with my current curriculum and students. I will be making adjustments and updates to the current curriculum for next school year in order to meet the needs of my students, my district, and the ever-evolving technological world.


    I don’t believe that the curriculum I teach varies much from that which I was taught. I am constantly reminded of my own projects from primary school when I re-visit my curriculum to consider projects for the semesters.
    It is my goal, when I am planning, to implement projects in which the students are the leaders. I would like for them to do research and teach me about the artists they re interested in. Why are they drawn to this? How do they relate?
    I think it is necessary we push the importance of process within the classroom, and stray farther away from the focus on product.

    Jacqueline Geiple

    Yes, the way I was taught greatly differs from how I was taught to teach, how I was/have been teaching, and how I plan to be teaching in the future. In high school, it was lecture-based art with from-the-board notes. My art teacher didn’t have a projector, so we didn’t even see the images of the artworks we were learning about. It was very traditional art, and about memorizing artists, titles, years, movements. It was all male artists, and definitely no contemporary artists. There was no discussion…just copying notes and memorizing. Sometimes, he’d have a book that had an artwork image in it, and he’d walk around to show us. My other art class had a teacher who handed out packets of pictures for us to copy…very cookie-cutter. I had no experience in any art class (elementary through high school) of any form of writing, critiquing, artwork analysis, composition, class discussion, curating, displaying work, or discussing social or cultural issues. It was very linear: historical artists, Western Europe art movements, and basic techniques. It wasn’t until college that I was even exposed to art elements/principles, contemporary art, and various media. Our art education classes elaborated upon the traditional art lesson formula: you still needed a historical artist, a subject focus, and specific art element and principle…but now they made us include a female artist, a minority culture artist (specifically focusing on black and Hispanic artists), a formal critique, and a formal written reflection. When I had my first teaching job, my district curriculum revolved purely around the art elements and principles, with specific days of the school year dedicated to projects focusing on different elements and principles. It was very structured, and element/principle-based with specific skills and projects they wanted to see, weekly written quiz requirements, weekly sketchbook assignments, plus weekly visual journals. As I visited other schools, attended AP Art Institutes, trainings, National Art Standard trainings, conferences, and later graduate courses, I began to see a growing curriculum shift encroaching on each. When I left that district, they were completely rewriting their curriculum to reflect that shift. My current position had similar curriculum expectations, but completed in half the time (semester classes, 45 minutes each). I have been trying to gradually find ways to infuse those new curriculum ideas into my current curriculum. Our art department goes into curriculum-rewrite mode in 2017, so we know we are trying to plan ahead for that now. We are trying to find ways to infuse more student-lead artistic investigations, incorporate more technology, include more topical investigations, student-lead critiques, provide more social and cultural connections (beyond visual stylizations) for discussions, and try to encourage more student experimentation by shifting more focus on ideas and concepts over techniques and skills…but still teach the techniques and skills. It is a balance that has been a subject of deep discussion over the past few years.


    I believe that my curriculum as an art teacher differs from how I was taught by me trying to give my elementary students a more well-rounded art experience. I really do try to give them a taste of everything, but right now our school does not really have an actual curriculum. Each individual teacher is teaching with the Pennsylvania State Standards in mind, but other than that we have free reign to do as we please and as we think is best. We are currently in the beginning stages of putting together a new curriculum and that is very exciting!

    As I stated already, in my classroom I try to give a small taste of everything that I can. The things that I believe to be most important. I feel that I am teaching my students much more than I learned in elementary art class. Truthfully, I have very few memories of elementary school art, but I do feel sure that it was not much more than arts and crafts. I know that I never really got excited about art until I got to middle school. I spend lots of time researching and trying to find projects that will have real value for my students and that they will really get excited about. I know that if I can really be excited to teach something there is a much greater chance of my students being excited to learn it and create the project. More and more lately as I am thinking of curriculum I am thinking about making sure that the joy of learning about and making art is there for both the students and the teacher.

    Elizabeth Eagle

    My art curriculum differs slightly from my own experiences mainly because I have begun to take a more contemporary art educational approach to my own classroom teaching methods. My art experiences in high school were filled with supportive, amazing teachers and practicing artists who made the art rooms creative, fulfilling environments. All of which I hope to instill as well. My methods of teaching and way I view art education have evolved over this past year, much in part to the art education graduate courses I have been taking. Within my curriculum, and art projects, I focus on artistic investigation; conceptual understanding; creativity; and the elements and principles of design (and specific project techniques). I implement social media sites such as Flickr, for students to share art and create conversations over the project subject. I have begun to use more technology, such as creating WebQuests, for my students to navigate and research ideas/concepts for art projects. All of these methods I have recently discovered and are now using within my classes differs greatly from what I did in high school, and even art undergrad, but that was another time. My art portfolio consisted of 35mm slides. As times and technology have progressed, I have excepted and embraced the challenge to incorporate and implement technology and new media into my practices.


    CHANGE: If you are a teacher, does your curriculum differ from how you were taught and if so, how? If you are preparing to become a teacher in any of the art disciplines, do you plan to transmit the same curriculum or change it? If you plan to change it, what changes would you make?

    Yes, the curriculum differs a lot from how I was taught in my undergraduate time as a student. I feel as though in college they stress so much importance on lesson plans and submission of them, however in my current school district they are reviewed by my supervisor once a month. Nothing, major just a general overview. The curriculum is a a lot different because it focuses a lot on different styles of teaching and I was taught that depending on the class you would include different styles of teaching. My school wants me to include different styles all the time.


    I am an art teacher and my curriculum does differ in some ways from how I was taught. There are elements within my curriculum that align with the pedagogy I experienced as a student but there are many more differences. My curriculum in much more focused on students having a voice within their art making. When I was an art student in 6th grade most of the classes projects looked very similar if not the same. There was a strong focus on developing skills and students did not have many choices. While I still want my students to learn technical skills, I don’t feel that this is the main point of art class nor do I think creativity and thoughtful expression should be sacrificed in order for these skills to be developed.


    I am a 6th grade art teacher in Pennsylvania. As someone who is new to the district, the past year I have taught from the curriculum as I inherited it. The studio art curriculum is very similar to the way that I was taught when I was a 6th grade student many years ago. The structure is broken down into production, aesthetics and appreciation. Each of these sections are then taught through a variety of hands on projects that broadly introduce drawing, painting, print making, ceramics and fiber arts. Each lesson is introduced with a ‘hook’. As a student, this meant that I learned about an artist whose work exemplified the strategies or styles we were working with. In my teaching, the curriculum has grown to include not just artists still works, but videos that capture a concept that exists outside of the art room (real world or interdisciplinary).

    Another way that I see that the curriculum has broadened is the emphasis on freedom of expression. While there is a clear concept and skill that needs to be demonstrated by students, there is more room for individual interpretation of what that demonstration looks like. In the future, I would like to take this concept and include student choice more commonly. I believe that choice is a more direct route to getting artists to create works of art that show who they are.

    One of the greatest changes that I see on the horizon for our curriculum is the inclusion of technology as a tool. This year our district followed through on a k-12 technology initiative that put ipads in the hand of every single one of our students. The curriculum will need to grow to include the ipad as an art tool. This tool will then lead to the creation of art lessons that use the internet and a variety of platforms as the main source of information. I believe that this change will both broaden students knowledge but also deepen it.


    If I was to be a painting teacher at university level, I would definitely change the curriculum I was taught. I personally felt the pressure of being a woman in a Fine Arts Academy where the majority of the professors were male and mostly supporting male students. Constantly studying artworks from white male western artists seemed normal at that time, no one knew better sadly. We were always told that women artists were not known that much in that time. Therefore, for my curriculum, I would integrate woman artists as much as male artists to study their artworks. I would also include multiculturality in that too. Moreover, as I was struggling with the discipline-based education, I would definitely put interdisciplinarity into the center of my curriculum. I would also integrate new media tools into the curricula as well.

    caroline grace

    My curriculum changes daily. It depends on the tone of the classroom and the vibe that the students give off in each classroom. Of course you can plan and plan and plan curriculum with the goal that your year will run smoothly, but students and teaching is unpredictable and you must be flexible in your teaching.


    The way I teach art varies drastically from how I was taught. However, I’m not sure if that has to do with the time/change so much as my art teacher in particular. As I advanced through school I was able to take specific art classes where we focused our skill (ceramics, painting, etc). My elementary experience was different from how I’m teaching because I have access to more materials, which allows me to teach more skills. I would think that with more materials and technology being developed that the basic genres of art are still present, but technique might be different depending on what is available. I also think that we respect the individual creativity/choice of students is generally more valued as time goes on, as opposed to making them follow a formulaic method.

    Andrea T.

    The curriculum I offer varies greatly from my experiences as a young child. I attended a parochial school, and our instructor led us through simple holiday-based crafts, or drawings where we followed along very closely to step-by-step directions. The goal was for everyone’s project to look exactly the same.
    Now, as a teacher and administrator in a museum classroom and educational setting, my curriculum is focused on looking at art in person, slowly, and utilizing discussion and story-telling. Art making is very process based, and students are encouraged to use materials and explore the techniques they have in mind to get their ideas across. We are inspired by works of art, but not trying to perfectly replicate.

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