Academic journal article Studies in Art Education

Becoming an Art Teacher: Storied Reflections of Two Preservice Students

Academic journal article Studies in Art Education

Becoming an Art Teacher: Storied Reflections of Two Preservice Students

Article excerpt

Becoming an Art Teacher

It is critical to ask: What does it mean to teach? What triggers this professional choice? Clearly, each of us Travels a slightly unique path in coming to the teaching profession, yet it seems that certain characteristics do indeed play a role in adherence to the profession (Darling-Hammond, 1998, 2000, 2007; Stronge, 2002). Indeed, voices of art teachers from Anderson's Real Lives: Art Teachers and the Cultures of School (2000) reveal many of the "reasons for teaching that run the range from personal to social and from practical to theoretical and spiritual" (p. 2). Still other teachers hold themselves "responsible for the success of their students" (Stronge, 2002, p. 18), or even see themselves as "vicars of the culture" (Bruner as cited in Orlofsky, 2001, p. 83).

Upon completion of certification, two preservice art education interns were asked to take part in a series of semi-structured interviews in order to narrate their journey from student to degreed teacher and to articulate the discovery of meaningful pedagogical seeds which they carry from one role to the other as they become 'mindfully embodied' art educatore. Field and Latta (2001) use the term "mindfully embodied" (p. 885) to refer to ownership of practical wisdom and that state of being open to unexpected experience, and therefore, "able to make discoveries, to leant from these, and begin the vital, living process of sensitive adjustment that we think is so essential to genuine teaching" (p. 889).

The narratives capture the reflective arts practitionet in action and inforni art educations preservice literature by demonstrating how teaching dilemmas, embedded in the microcosms of classroom life are lived, contemplated, and dealt with by emerging teachets in a small Midwestemern urban context. And whether innate or learned, their individual inclinations for what Maxine Greene (1988) calls 'attending to' and what Field and Latta (2001) describe as the 'collective shaping of experience,' offer solace and comfort to the socially engaged profession.

The educational experience is a collective undertaking with learning taking place between people in dialogue (Freiré, 2000; Giroux, 1998; Greene, 1988). Paramount to the process is understanding and honoring die mutual exchange between teacher educator and preservice art educator where both "bring their own deep investments to education" (Britzman, as cited in Field & Latta, 2001, p. 892). It is within this framework that the present research has taken note of altruism, competence in art, and building community within the school setting, as traits emerging from die narratives of the two soon-to-be art teachers. These traits, bolstered by years of experience, are included in the many qualities recognized by Bond, Smidi, Baker, and Hattie (2000) in their comprehensive meta-analysis of teacher expertise (data released through the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards).


Researchers in the field of education have considered student teaching the most significant component of teacher preparation programs (Brimfield & Leonard, 1983; Darling-Hammond, 1998, 2000, 2007; Dodds, 1985; Fenimore-Smith, 2004; Haring &C Nelson, 1980; Lui, 2003; McDermott, 2002; Micheli & Schwager, 1993; O'Sullivan, 1990; Orland-Barack, 2002; Paese, 1984; Schempp, 1985; Yost, 1997). Connelly and Claudinin (1988) review the literature concerning teacher reflection in order to graph the studies that "get inside teachers' heads to describe their knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and values" (p. 14) while other researchers focus their inquiry specifically on the reflective teacher's mental activity- the thinking process of the self-observer (Bergsgaard & Ellis, 2002; Brown, 1998; McLeskey & Waldron, 2004). Orland-Barack (2002) investigates a disturbing "discontinuity of the passage from student teaching to teaching" (p. 1) from the individual perspective of a first-year teacher, while otlier studies analyze the quality and categories of teacher reflections (Bergsgaard & Ellis, 2002; hooks, 1994; Lee, 2005; Miller, 1994; Schön, 1983; Zeicher & Liston, 1987). …

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