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Art Education

The Breakdown

As an art teacher, you’ll have the pleasure and responsibility of cultivating the creativity and talents of your students. From splatter paints to papier machè and all the art supplies in between, your lessons will offer kids the opportunity to explore their own imaginations. And who knows – maybe you’ll inspire the next Warhol or Picasso!

Most universities take a three pronged approach to art education, requiring classes in art history, fine art and education. Indeed, you’ll study art within a historical context, gaining insight into how various mediums evolved and the social and political roles they played. You’ll also learn how to examine and discuss art with a critical eye, analyzing themes, techniques and aesthetic choices. Of course, your own artistic development is just as important as analysis. You will study a variety of forms, from ceramics to sculpture, to hone your skills. Further, you’ll learn principal theories and philosophies of art education along with curriculum development and classroom management. Lastly, your degree will culminate with student teaching, providing you with the chance to apply the concepts you learn.

Those who thrive in art education have a true passion (and facility) for art. They understand how to use their own enthusiasm for the subject as a means to encourage others to express themselves. Moreover, they are inventive, flexible and patient. And, they don’t mind the occasional mess in their classroom.

Nuts and Bolts

As mentioned above, art education majors have a nice balance between history, fine art and education classes. Their schedule could likely include a combination of the following: Survey of Western Art, Ancient and Medieval Art, Ceramics, Fundamentals of Drawing, Introduction to Digital Photography, Elementary Art Education, Fundamentals of Growth and Human Development and Introduction to Sculpture.

Decisions, Decisions

Art education majors also frequently consider majoring or double-majoring in: art history, fine art, photography, film, new media, communications, graphic art, art therapy, anthropology, psychology, human development and child and family studies.

What's Next

We all recognize majoring in education can lead you directly into the classroom. And many ed majors sustain satisfying teaching careers over the course of their professional life. As you’re also no doubt aware, some translate classroom experience into administrative positions and become principals, vice principals, guidance counselors, etc. However, others find a passion for policy work and land jobs at non-profits, think tanks and various departments of education. Additionally, some majors take advantage of their extensive knowledge of child development and education and seek employment with companies that create products and entertainment for children. Still others combine their studies with a passion for other cultures and look for work involving international education, be it study abroad or development in third world countries.


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Don Munce