Designing Art Education

By Carpenter, B. Stephen, II | Art Education, March 2005 | Go to article overview
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Designing Art Education


Carpenter, B. Stephen, II, Art Education


At one point or another, whether in classrooms, art centers, museums, or other locations, art educators determine what they want students to know and do, and then craft assignments in response to these objectives and goals.

That is, art educators in a variety of educational contexts design curriculum and designate specific activities, lessons, units, and projects they believe are best suited to help students learn. Design and designate have the same root, designaré, which means "to mark out." In one sense, we can mark something out by drawing a line through it, as when we edit a term paper or student report. This approach to marking out removes information from further consideration. But the act of marking out can also be thought of as a way to draw boundaries around something, some place, or some idea, as in marking out territory. Thought of in this way, educators who design curriculum mark out what is important for their students to know, consider, question, and understand.

The articles in this issue are concerned with the ways curricula-developmental theories, objects, content, narratives, instruction, and information-are designed. Some of the authors share strategies designed to assist in the preparation of future teachers. A few authors discuss ways to design assignments for meaningful artmaking, while others are concerned with how teaching and inquiry are designed, shaped, and influenced by traditional theories and instructional practices.

Christine Marine Thompson points out new ways to understand developmental theories and assumptions of child art and learning. Laurel Lampela discusses an approach to teaching curriculum design to preservice teachers, based on authentic, life-centered issues. Melinda Mayer examines ways museum educators design meaningful learning experiences for visitors, derived from theories from art education and teaching. J. Ulbricht highlights curriculum initiatives based on his review of a variety of forms of community-based art education. High school art teacher Teresa Roberts shares a personal account of how she designs assignments that focus on big ideas and encourage her students to make meaningful art. Douglas Marschalek designates 12 concepts as essential to understanding how objects are designed, why they look the way they do, and how designers work. In the Instructional Resources, Beth Goldberg shares the work of four artists that function as visual narratives of their childhood memories.

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