Professional Development Articles
Process or Pedagogy
When you think of staff development for
art teachers, you may think about projects that involve clay,
paint, or other materials. This type of development focuses
on the processes of art. While learning about process is important,
pedagogy is an equally important topic for art educators.
Can you imagine the chaos in an art classroom that would result
from 35 students using paint with no rules or procedures in
place and no one in charge? Learning about pedagogy will help
you avoid such chaos.
As an art teacher, you need an equal balance
of expertise in your content area and instructional skills
in the classroom. Processes that demonstrate an understanding
of materials through the elements and principles of design
are certainly critical for art teachers. How well teachers
convey this knowledge to students determines their success
In art, “process” usually refers
to the use of a variety of media, such as watercolor, oils,
or tempera in painting; clay, stone, or papier mâché
in sculpture; or pen and ink, graphite, or charcoal in drawing.
In order to help students develop their skills, art teachers
have to understand and be able to use the materials themselves.
Learning new methods that involve a variety
of materials is crucial for an art teacher. Often, art educators
are judged by those outside the art classroom on their use
of varied materials. However, while using various processes
is important, motivates students, and follows national standards,
it is not the only measure of an art teacher’s success
In the art classroom, instruction skills
can also determine how successful an art educator will be
in teaching art processes. Pedagogy skills include:
- classroom management and organization
- organization for instruction (planning)
- implementation of instruction
- monitoring instruction
- developing assessment skills and strategies
- relating to students
No educator starts his or her teaching
career with all of these skills. Art teachers develop them
over time, just as they develop their skills with paint and
clay. It is equally or perhaps even more important that art
educators have staff development opportunities to polish their
pedagogy skills. Without these skills, it would be difficult
to teach art skills.
Sometimes art educators have to look to
other teachers, universities, or textbooks to help them develop
as instructors. Just being able to observe a master teacher
at work can be very helpful. Workshops in these areas are
not always offered at state art education conferences, but
they are truly needed.
Process or Pedagogy?
Which is more important: process or pedagogy?
In fact, they should be balanced, as though on a scale. When
each side of a scale has equal weight, the scale is balanced.
If one side has too little, however, the scale is out of alignment.
The same is true for the art classroom. Staff development
is equally important in both areas.