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The Place of Visual Arts in Education. Liz Ashworth, Faculty of Education, Nipissing University. Why bother learning about visual arts’ place in education?. There is a strong “back-to-basics” movement in politics and school boards everywhere Rarely do non-artists take art seriously

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the place of visual arts in education

The Place of Visual Arts in Education

Liz Ashworth,

Faculty of Education,

Nipissing University

why bother learning about visual arts place in education
Why bother learning about visual arts’ place in education?
  • There is a strong “back-to-basics” movement in politics and school boards everywhere
  • Rarely do non-artists take art seriously
  • Money is usually cut from arts programs first
  • Someday, you may have to protect your program from extinction
  • Knowing the history is power for you
art education in ontario
Art Education in Ontario
  • Pre-public education, apprenticeships were common
  • Artistically-talented often waited until adulthood to take formal art courses (usually for rich only)
  • In 1840s, public education introduced in Ontario by Egerton Ryerson
  • Art included in technical training only
art education in ontario cont d
Art Education in Ontario, cont’d…
  • Ryerson divided curriculum into three subject areas: “Cardinal”, “Required”, and “Other”
  • Only boys studied “Cardinal” subjects (Greek and Roman culture)
  • All students studied “Required” subjects (Math, Philosophy, History, Geography, English)
art education in ontario cont d5
Art Education in Ontario, cont’d…
  • “Other” subjects (boys) - Bookkeeping, Commercial Math, Technical Drawing
  • “Other” subjects (girls) - Music, Dancing, French, Fancy Needlework, Drawing, Painting
  • This model lasted for a decade, until it was replaced by Britain’s South Kensington Model of Education
art education in ontario cont d6
Art Education in Ontario, cont’d…
  • 1850s – government created the Department of Science and Art
  • Formed to aid and control art schools and exams, supervise and train art teachers
  • Main goals – sharpen industrial design skills, provide instruction in decorative arts, train drawing teachers for private and public schools
  • This model continued until after WW2
art education in ontario cont d7
Art Education in Ontario, cont’d…
  • Post WW2 – technical and academic schools merged to form secondary schools
  • 1970s – more academic approach to teaching art; schools of the arts formed
  • Art curriculum left mostly to individual teachers and based on their areas of expertise
  • Much pressure from post-secondary institutions to streamline art curriculum
art education in ontario cont d8
Art Education in Ontario, cont’d…
  • 1986 – OSIS art education document introduced
  • Very prescriptive (strict percentages of time for design, studio, art history, criticism)
  • OAC course worked out to 50% studio and 50% art history; with inclusion of final exam, course content was 70% knowledge about art but only 30% knowledge of creating art
art education in ontario cont d9
Art Education in Ontario, cont’d…
  • 1990s – art programs threatened by “back-to-basics” movement
  • Money cut, art viewed as a non-essential “frill”
  • Some schools cut out one or more level of instruction (Basic, General, Advanced) or cut out art entirely
  • 1997 – government looked at replacing art teachers with non-certified instructors
art education in ontario cont d10
Art Education in Ontario, cont’d…
  • 2000 – OSS documents introduced
  • Art instruction levels changed to Open and University/College entrance
  • Expectations more vague than 1986 document; used strands (theory, creation, analysis) and no percentages
  • Provided for mandatory cumulative art curriculum from K-12
art education in ontario cont d11
Art Education in Ontario, cont’d…
  • Visual arts programs now threatened by new rigorous graduation requirements and demise of OAC (less room for “optional” subjects in timetable)
  • Students need only one arts credit to graduate; could be art, music, drama, or dance
  • New bridges between art and technology
  • Design education and creative problem-solving skills across the curriculum
what can you do
What Can You Do?
  • Market your program well to intermediate students
  • Become an art education activist among staff, community, government
  • Become aware of proposed Ministry of Education changes to art education policies
  • Be prepared for at least one major art curriculum change in your career (usually change every 15 years)
references
References

Clark, R. (1994). Art Education: A Canadian Perspective. Toronto: OSEA.

Gidney, R.D. (1999). From Hope to Harris: the reshaping of Ontario’s schools. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Gidney, R.D. (1990). Inventing Secondary Education: the rise of the high school in nineteenth-century Ontario. Kingston, ON: McGill-Queen’s University Press.