How can art teacher training programs provide real world teaching opportunities to pre-service art teachers as well as learning opportunities to students in the area of the visual arts? This is a question that is of great importance to the art education program at my college in the United States. Not only do we want to provide meaningful field experiences for pre-service art teachers, but we also want to ensure all K-12 students have adequate opportunities to experience the benefits of arts learning in schools. Unfortunately, a few local New Jersey (NJ) elementary schools have recently eliminated or reduced their arts programs, resulting in limited arts access for the students. This paper focuses on how my college art education program responded to the needs of a local elementary school that cut its visual arts program. Implementing early field experiences, our sophomore-level pre-service art teachers taught in-school art workshops for the K-2 students who were underserved in the visual arts. After examining art education policy to explore how NJ schools are able to cut art programs despite the recognition of art as a core academic subject that benefits learning, this article weaves together the experiences and reflections of the participating pre-service art teachers with my thoughts as the program coordinator as well as elementary student artwork.
|Keywords:||Art Education, Teacher Education, Pre-Service, Visual Arts, Policy|
Art Education Program, Department of Art and Art History, The College of New Jersey, Ewing, NJ, USA