Magazine article Art Education

Writing Effective Lesson Plans While Utilizing the Work of Lesbian and Gay Artists

Magazine article Art Education

Writing Effective Lesson Plans While Utilizing the Work of Lesbian and Gay Artists

Article excerpt

At the southwestern university where I work I have the responsibility of teaching a secondary art methods course once per academic year, as well as teaching other courses. Over more than a decade I have taught many sections of art methods courses for the secondary level to both undergraduate and graduate art education students. Throughout this time there was not much available on which to model my secondary art methods courses. From my experience as a high school art teacher and gathering ideas from colleagues I taught the secondary methods course successfully, according to student evaluations and comments from former students who obtained art teaching positions at middle and senior high schools.

Throughout the course I covered such topics as characteristics of adolescents, curriculum planning, assessment strategies, national and state standards for art, curriculum content, and classroom management. These topics can be seen as part of the practicalities of teaching art. However, little of what I taught directly related to the research I was doing about the work of lesbian and gay artists and the research I was doing did not directly relate to the practicalities of teaching art. The practicalities of teaching art have not been central to research within the field of art education (Galbraith and Grauer, 2004). Although, my research has focused on promoting curriculum change in art education that includes information about the art and lives of lesbian and gay artists, I did not see how my research directly related to the practicalities of teaching art. Only in special topics courses was I able to focus on the content of art teaching and include my research in class discussions.

Over the past few years it has become more apparent to me how my research interests were not directly related to the practicalities of teaching, specifically lesson plan writing, and I wondered how I might combine the two areas. This article provides a look at how I combined my research in art by lesbians and gay men with the instruction of preservice art teachers about curriculum planning.

Curriculum Planning

Efland (as cited in Goodwin, 1997) asks what art teachers need to know about pedagogy to teach well. Certainly, the mechanics of lesson plan writing are central to learning to teach well. In addition, encouraging preservice art teachers to bring their own preexisting knowledge and experiences into the learning process (Cahan & Kocur, 1996) and helping preservice art teachers generate new knowledge about everyday life-centered issues rather than continue to develop curricula based on projects and techniques (Krug, 2002) are also central to learning to teach well.

Day (1997) notes that all art education programs in the United States cover similar topics that include curriculum content in art and pedagogy course work. Roe and Ross (2002) note that certain components of lesson planning appear almost universally. Students are expected to learn to write lesson plans with the essential components of learning objectives, learning activities, needed materials, and assessment. Lesson plan writing provides preservice art teachers with good organization and clear direction for teaching, and can provide the inexperienced teacher with greater confidence.

To help preservice art teachers develop an understanding of curriculum planning, I set aside one class time for instruction on how to write lesson plans. I also discussed the various components of a lesson plan, including the grade level; materials; art historical, art critical, aesthetic, and studio inquiry; lesson objectives; teaching/learning process; closure; and assessment strategies. I distributed a lesson plan format to all students with the basic components and expected that each student would write an exciting and vibrant plan suitable for either the middle school or high school level that addressed each of the lesson plan areas. Students had the opportunity to teach their lessons in related field experiences in local middle and high schools. …

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