Academic journal article Studies in Art Education

Emergent Places in Preservice Art Teaching: Lived Curriculum, Relationality, and Embodied Knowledge

Academic journal article Studies in Art Education

Emergent Places in Preservice Art Teaching: Lived Curriculum, Relationality, and Embodied Knowledge

Article excerpt

As preservice teachers embark upon their student teaching experiences, they bring with them their own unique beliefs, interests, and understandings of curriculum and pedagogy. Often unfamiliar with their assigned K-12 school(s), and the students and cooperating teacher(s) with whom they will be working, preservice teachers encounter many uncertainties. But, as they spend time in the schools interacting with the school subject matter, mentors, and students, they continue to grow, and encounter the surprising and challenging experiences of becoming a teacher. In this article, we rethink curriculum and pedagogy as an organic, material, and living space as we examine student teaching as an embodied and relational way of knowing, emphasizing knowledge-in-the-making (Ellsworth, 1997, 2005) and teacher/teaching as becoming (e.g., Unrath & Nordlund, 2006) rather than a fixed end-state or set of practices. Based on a qualitative research study of preservice teachers engaged in urban field placements, this article depicts the specific experiences of preservice teachers as they encounter curriculum and pedagogy in the making. While we discuss implications for preservice teaching in urban teaching placements, we recognize that our findings and implications may also resonate with those who supervise, teach, and/or research in nonurban settings.

We depict two cases that highlight major themes of our research. In the field of teacher education, research has paid increasing attention to the importance of understanding the "particulars" of teaching that case studies illuminate (e.g. Dyson & Genishi, 2005; Stake, 1995)the circumstances, dilemmas, interactions, and social context of a classroom setting, and the ways that such contextual knowledge paradoxically informs a broader understanding about pedagogical practices. Rather than [focusing on] generalized principles derived from research, teachers need to view concrete examples of teaching in which the details of everyday classroom practice provide practical Ideas for and insights into teaching praxis (Merseth, 1996; Shulman, 1992; Wasserman, 1994). Lived examples may also be a source through which teachers can gain confidence through identification with the particulars of a setting.

The first student-teaching case study depicts a community-based ceramic tiles project initiated by the student teacher's concern about the disconnect that her students seemed to have around conceptions of art. Focusing largely on the built environment, her work with the students culminated in a public exhibition that depicted their neighborhood. The second student-teacher case highlights a knitted public installation that took place on school grounds. The artmaking emerged from the margins of her teaching placement, and was intended to alter public perception of the built school environment.

Preservice Teacher Education

Student teaching arguably has been considered the most significant component of teacher preparation (Darling-Hammond & Cobb, 1996). Research into preservice art teacher education has focused attention on certain practices and characteristics deemed important for successful teaching experiences. Reflective practice, for example, has been presented as a crucial aspect of teacher training in order to prevent entrapment of one's shortcomings (Unrath & Norland, 2006); allow for more-reasoned decisions in one's judgment of artworks that draw on postmodern ideas, rather than modernist and personal preferences (Erickson & Villeneuve, 2009); and encourage the exploration of the self in relation to the other, wherein one might also see the self as a force for social reconstruction (Campbell, 2005). Affective dispositions (e.g., traits and beliefs) have been viewed by some to be as essential to effective preservice teaching as the cognitive dimensions and practical matters that are stated in the national teaching standards in art education and education (Klein, 2008). …

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