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Continued from page 14.
Choice BasedArt Education(CBAE), activitycentersspecifictoselected
combinedwith Teachingfor Artistic artmedia,andtheteacheristhe
Wealsowantto Isaccentuating“student supportof
supporthigher- choice” regarding themediaof theseassump-
ingskillsand artoccurringattheexpenseof catesclaim
greaterowner- higherlevelthinking? thatbecause
foundationsformodernisminart. tobeingradesK– 4.However,the
advantages of this methodology in
Should We Be Concerned?thehighergradelevelshaveyetto betestedovertimeandonawide
scale. The problems in applying the
concepts of CBAE to art programs
Asweallknow,buzz ToKandinsky,thatwhichwasto wordscomeintoourpro- beexpressed(thecontent)wasas ExcellenceandDepth fessionallivesthrough importantas,ifnotmoreimpor- Secondarylevelstudentsareaware variouschannels.For tantthan,themedium(theform) ofqualityandarequitesophisti-
example,DisciplineBasedArtEdu- throughwhichtheexpressionwas catedinsensingwherequalityis
cation(DBAE)wassupportedby tobecommunicated. presentandwhereitisnot.These
theGettyCenterforEducationin TodayCBAEisanapproachthat studentstendtobedrawntoward
theArts,andNoChildLeftBehind seemstoplacemoreemphasison excellence.Amajorcomponentof
(NCLB)ismandatedbythefederal havingstudentsexperienceavari- excellenceresultsfromlearning
government.Someofthesephilo- etyofmedia,andlessemphasison indepth.Inanenvironmentbuilt
sophicalapproachescomewith havingstudentsexperienceartas aroundactivitycenters,learningin
funding,whileothersleaveusin ameansforvisualcommunication depthcanbeproblematicbecauseof
frustrationastohowtoputthem andexpression.Mostoftheweb- thevarietyandnumberofskillsthe
intopractice.Onthesurface,all sitesdedicatedtoCBAEprovide teacherisrequiredtoteachsimulta-
appeartohavegoodintentions.Itis ampledescriptionsofmodifications neously.
whenwelookcloselyandreflecton madetoartroomstobetteraccom- Alleffectivearteducationpro-
whatisactuallygoingonthatwe modatethismethodology.Little gramschallengestudentstomake
seethattheirtitlescanglossover informationisprovidedastohow choices.Butexceptionalartpro-
theirrealmeaning. thesemodificationsinfluencestu- gramsteachforartisticbehaviorby
dent perception of art as a means for
as artists. This involves improving
skills in both the formal and the
expressive problem-solving areas.
Questions about CBAE
Our main question regarding CBAE
is this: Is accentuating “student
choice” regarding the media of art
occurring at the expense of higher-level thinking?
CBAE raises other questions:
1. How does CBAE differ from the
classic laissez-faire art programs
of the past?
2. To what extent is the teacher’s
attention divided by the number
and diversity of problems arising
from the multiple activity centers?
3. How can the teacher provide for
students who need greater structure?
4. How does the teacher deal with
students who choose to handle
subject matter deemed as inappropriate for the school setting?
5. How can the teacher foster the
making of expressive art by students who are working in a variety of different media?
6. How much of the teacher’s
responsibility should be composed of teaching the technical
proficiencies and lower order
skills, such as; how to join
together two slabs of clay or how
to mix paint?
7. Does the compartmentalized
environment of the multi-activity-centered artroom in
CBAE diminish opportunities for
sharing and group problem-solving on a class-wide basis?
8. Is the CBAE model more or less
effective in helping students
meet established state and
national standards for art education?
We fear that this trend of CBAE/
TAB represents a direction that
could potentially marginalize art
educators. At worst, budget cutting
administrators could use CBAE/
TAB as a pretext for the elimination
of certified art educators and their
replacement by aides whose job it
would be to ensure that the work
stations stay supplied.
Again, Is accentuating “student
choice” regarding the media of art
occurring at the expense of higher
level thinking? We continue to
believe that the role of the professional art educator is to present
significant visual problems for
students to address and to guide
the processes by which students
develop as artists.
Dan Bush is an art education video producer. firstname.lastname@example.org
developing student proficiency in a
variety of media and competence in
creating art with meaning. Learning how to make choices is an
important aspect of maturation and
nothing in our experience contradicts this. But the artist/teacher is
not simply a facilitator or a referee.
The professional art educator is
responsible for developing sound
visual problems for students to
address and for guiding the processes by which students mature
Ken Vieth is the author of From Ordinary
to Extraordinary and Engaging the Adolescent Mind, and coauthor of The Visual
Experience, all published by Davis Publications. email@example.com