A Museum Collaboration and Interdisciplinary Adventure with Preservice Teachers

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<ul><li><p>National Art Education Association</p><p>A Museum Collaboration and Interdisciplinary Adventure with Preservice TeachersAuthor(s): DEBORAH KUSTERSource: Art Education, Vol. 61, No. 5 (September 2008), pp. 33-39Published by: National Art Education AssociationStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20694755 .Accessed: 14/06/2014 17:04</p><p>Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms &amp; Conditions of Use, available at .http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p><p> .JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range ofcontent in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.</p><p> .</p><p>National Art Education Association is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to ArtEducation.</p><p>http://www.jstor.org </p><p>This content downloaded from on Sat, 14 Jun 2014 17:04:33 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=naeahttp://www.jstor.org/stable/20694755?origin=JSTOR-pdfhttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsphttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>A Museum Collaboration </p><p>and Interdisciplinary </p><p>Adventure </p><p>with Preservice Teachers </p><p>fcfo* BY DEBORAH K?STER </p><p>m "Why don t you practice what you preach?" </p><p>^?? m / How many times have we heard, said, or thought that? </p><p>As an art education professor, I plead guilty as </p><p>charged. Contrary to what I advocate, I plan each semester of my art education methods and </p><p>practicum courses with a tightly scheduled and </p><p>prescribed agenda of separate, specified topics to </p><p>present to my students. Kowalchuk (1997) denoted </p><p>that universities rarely teach art content in the </p><p>format that is appropriate for presentation in the </p><p>schools. She cited art history courses, for example, that typically present information chronologically through lecture. Bohn, Reed, and Jerich (2001) </p><p>noted that universities traditionally promote the </p><p>"teacher-as-dispenser-of-knowledge" model (p. 15) and reward individual achievement, not collabora </p><p>tive work (Rutherford, 2005). Are preservice art </p><p>teachers graduating from our institutions having </p><p>only upon rare occasion personally experienced the </p><p>teaching strategies we preach to be most appro </p><p>priate and meaningful? If people have difficulty applying what they know in novel situations (Perkins &amp; Salomon, 1988), how can novice teachers be </p><p>expected to successfully bridge the gap between educational theories and practice? </p><p>This is an account of my journey of reformatting my courses to provide preservice teachers personal </p><p>experiences with theories that I believe are impor tant, and, therefore, putting into practice my own </p><p>preaching. The purpose of this article is to describe </p><p>an investigative project implemented the fall semester of 2006 with my art education students. </p><p>I describe here what I witnessed my students </p><p>experiencing, as well as my own reflections of this </p><p>semesters adventure. </p><p>Teaching Strategies One important curriculum strategy that I promote </p><p>to my future teachers is critical, aesthetic inquiry in </p><p>response to interpreting works of art. Critical, aesthetic inquiry is based on an ongoing wondering and questioning about art (Parsons, 2000). It </p><p>incorporates new contextual information, with an </p><p>ongoing reexamination of ones views in light of the </p><p>new information. The viewer understands that </p><p>interpreting a work of art includes active dialogue with others so as to consider different voices for an </p><p>intersubjective understanding (Parsons, 2000; Cary, 1998; Mayer, 1999; Moxey, 1994). Critical, aesthetic </p><p>inquiry supports scholars such as Bruner (1986), Paul (1993), Stout (1997), and Weil (1994), who believed learning is a constructive process. </p><p>Knowledge cannot be simply transmitted; we must </p><p>make sense of things for ourselves. The ways </p><p>knowledge is processed and how it reflects human </p><p>interests, ideology, and experiences need to be a part of the curriculum. "The emphasis is not on content </p><p>SEPTEMBER 2008 / ART EDUCATION 33 </p><p>This content downloaded from on Sat, 14 Jun 2014 17:04:33 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>3 </p><p>This content downloaded from on Sat, 14 Jun 2014 17:04:33 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>itself, but on how students think about content, on digesting ideas and finding meaning in art and all other subjects through their own </p><p>thinking" (Stout, 1997, p. 98). To promote critical, aesthetic inquiry the </p><p>teacher takes on the role identified by Bohn, Reed, and Jerich (2001) as "orchestrator-of </p><p>learning" (p. 49), who arranges and exposes students to a variety of experiences, view </p><p>points, and contexts. The teacher </p><p>supports learners in under </p><p>standing how to evaluate the information in relation to their interpretations. David N. Perkins (1994, 2000) emphasized critical inquiry into works of art as a way to develop what he calls the </p><p>"intelligent eye." He speaks of the goal to </p><p>develop reflective thinking, a capacity of mind </p><p>that implies "patience, open-mindedness, concern, commitment, persistence, and a spirit of investigation" (Smith, 2000, p. 120). </p><p>Another important teaching strategy is </p><p>introducing interdisciplinary connections or </p><p>integrating other disciplines within the study and creation of works of art. The contextual </p><p>information such as the social, historical, and </p><p>cultural help students better understand the </p><p>significance and meanings of art from an </p><p>interdisciplinary perspective (Wilson, 1986; Tarnas, 1991; Shlain, 1991; Neperud, 1995; Ulbricht, 1998). According to Ulbricht (1998), collaboration adds another dimension to </p><p>interdisciplinary curriculum, allowing each </p><p>participant to make unique contributions to </p><p>the learning environment. Ulbricht recom </p><p>mended using interdisciplinary teaching so that new understandings are developed as a </p><p>result of the connections. </p><p>In addition, having personally been both a classroom teacher and a museum educator, I stress the value of museums as community resources and collaborative partners. I was </p><p>continually astounded by the significance of </p><p>interacting with original works of art for </p><p>visitors of all ages. Hazelroth and Moore </p><p>(1998) were not exaggerating when they stated that: "Original works are inherent storehouses </p><p>of profound and lifechanging experiences" </p><p>(p. 23). Teaching with objects of art opens indispensable avenues for understanding ourselves and creating links of understanding into other societies throughout the world past and present. Art teachers that include </p><p>interdisciplinary connections when planning museum visits can provide rich experiences for </p><p>their students (Berry, 1998; Floyd, 2002). </p><p>The Project The project was centered on a partnership with the Arkansas Arts Center, the </p><p>states primary art museum, which is located in Little Rock, within commuting distance from the university where I teach, the University of Central Arkansas </p><p>(UCA). I wrote and received a grant from the UCA Foundation to have six works </p><p>from the Arts Center s permanent collection reproduced into teaching poster sets. </p><p>The posters would include information about the artist, the artwork, the historical/ </p><p>cultural contexts, suggested inquiry strategies and extension activities printed on the </p><p>backside. The reproduction posters were to be made available for use by teachers in </p><p>schools across the state. </p><p>The selection process for the six works of art was rather intuitive on my part. I met </p><p>with the Arts Center s Curator of Education and we began looking at works with released copyrights. After randomly looking at various choices, several "called to </p><p>me," with one or two falling into certain categories. Eventually an underlying relation to music was identified with several works, so we proceeded to search for </p><p>other works under that theme, attempting to diversify in terms of art styles, media, </p><p>subject matter, and cultural contexts. The resulting six finalists were: At the Clef Club (1975) by Romare Bearden; Jazz Band (1922) by Max Beckmann; Suprematist Composition (circa 1922) by Ilya Chashnik; Isadora Duncan (circa 1910-1916) by Robert Henri; Addicted to Rhythm-M-#1 (1994) by Stoney Lamar; and Dark Rapture (circa 1935) by Howard Stern. </p><p>My art education students were given the challenge to research the art and artists </p><p>represented by these six works from the Arts Centers collection. They chose what </p><p>information would be most helpful and applicable for teachers in the classroom. In addition, they were to design specific suggestions for ways to utilize the works of art to build curricular lessons and units. Weight was given to their assignments because </p><p>they were participants in a project that would result in a product for other educators </p><p>to utilize. We spent the large part of the semester investigating these six works of art </p><p>from various perspectives. Though I had chosen the works of art, I was not </p><p>acquainted with several of the artists, nor did I have a preconceived idea as to the </p><p>final outcome of our project. I was in the role of facilitator, not expert. </p><p>Our Semester's Adventure The first days of class I lead students in spontaneous interpretive activities to </p><p>cultivate personal connections to the works of art.11 asked, "Which one of these </p><p>works of art would you choose to be a new friend and why?" While closely observing each work, they brainstormed lists of adjectives, adverbs, nouns, and </p><p>verbs to form descriptive and cumulative sentences and cinquain2 poems. After this </p><p>acquaintance period, students were asked to list questions they had about their "new </p><p>friends," which formed the outline or foundation for their future research and my future facilitative planning. </p><p>I scheduled times for students to conduct their research using primary sources </p><p>within the Arkansas Arts Center Library and while actually viewing the original artworks. To integrate other disciplines into our inquiry, I provided images of our six </p><p>works of art and sought responses and connecting references from several literature </p><p>and music professors at UCA. Students' questions about Henri's gestural drawing of </p><p>Isadora Duncan prompted me to contact a modern dancer from Little Rock to </p><p>further our understanding. In our search for musical connections to Chashnik's </p><p>Suprematist Composition, my Internet searches led me to a Russian saxophonist, </p><p>Sergey Letov, who had participated in a "Suprematizm Project" in 2003. We </p><p>corresponded over the course of the semester, and I purchased a compact disc of </p><p>their original musical performance for my students to experience. In addition, I </p><p>integrated a connection to technology as a teaching tool by introducing WebQuests3 and requesting students create WebQuests that referenced our local Arts Center's </p><p>works. Finally, I arranged times with cooperating art teachers for my students to </p><p>teach art units to children in local elementary and high schools. </p><p>SEPTEMBER 2008 / ART EDUCATION 35 </p><p>This content downloaded from on Sat, 14 Jun 2014 17:04:33 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>Some of the interdisciplinary highlights from this semester s project included dancer Lucy DuBoses visit to </p><p>our classroom. As we focused our attention on Henri's </p><p>drawing of Isadora Duncan, she read key passages from </p><p>Duncans autobiography, My Life. She draped herself and </p><p>performed a dance much as Duncan would have as we sat </p><p>encircled around her. It Was as if the drawing took on life and we could visualize Robert Henri passionately striving to capture her essence. Edward Gordon Craig was quoted as </p><p>describing Duncan: </p><p>She was speaking her own language, not echoing any ballet master, and so she came to move as no one had </p><p>ever seen anyone move before. The dance ended, she </p><p>again stood quite still. No bowing, no smiling? </p><p>nothing at all. Then again the music is off, and she </p><p>runs from it?it runs after her then?for she has gone ahead of it. (Zavrel, 2002) Dr. Jonathan Glenn, a professor from the English </p><p>department and associate provost, also honored us with </p><p>a visit. Glenn thoughtfully considered what poems came </p><p>to mind when viewing our focused works of art. The </p><p>minimalist and non-objective qualities of Chashniks (a student of Kasimar Malevich) Suprematist Composition was fascinating. Glenn thought of poet Archibald MacLeish (1925) as he viewed this composition of red and black squares: </p><p>MacLeish's poem, "Ars poetica," is a sort of manifesto </p><p>for the being rather than the meaning of a poem. After a series of lovely analogies (which, of course, </p><p>refer relentlessly to things outside the poem, just as we might expect redness or rectangularity or the </p><p>sense of "entrance" in Ilya Chasnik's work to evoke </p><p>connections in a viewer's mind), MacLeish throws </p><p>down this famous challenge: "A poem should not </p><p>mean / But be." (personal communication, Sept. 23, </p><p>2006) Glenn made another interesting comparison with the </p><p>poem, "How Everything Happens (Based on a Study of the Wave)" written by May Swenson (1970) and </p><p>published in Iconographs (1970). This poem was referenced in relation to Addicted to Rhythm-M-#1 (1994) by Stoney Lamar. Just as Lamar's wooden sculpture piece echoed the rhythms within the wood, the structure of the </p><p>poem echoed the rhythm of a wave. Glenn's poetic </p><p>readings opened our eyes to the artistry of language as a </p><p>parallel to visual imagery. </p><p>The value of the investigative process using primary sources was exemplified in our trips to the Arkansas Arts </p><p>Center. My students experienced first-hand the support and cooperation of the museum staff. The librarian </p><p>gathered files and books on each of our artists and </p><p>opened the library before public hours to accommodate </p><p>our class time. The curators allowed us into the vault area </p><p>for viewing pieces not currently on display, and actually included the Bearden work in the coinciding permanent collection exhibition especially for us. I witnessed my students' enthusiasm for their "mission" heightened as </p><p>they were treated as important players in this collabora </p><p>tive project. One student noted, "I learned about dealing with museums 'behind-the-scenes' and that they are </p><p>receptive, not standoffish at all, in dealing with educators. </p><p>They have great resources, like the library and some </p><p>contact information" (personal communication, </p><p>December 11, 2006). Another student exclaimed, "Museums are our friends. They have a great amount of </p><p>resources that we can use. I didn't know museums had a </p><p>library, much less that it was open to the public" </p><p>(personal communication, December 11, 2006). </p><p>By the time in the semester we visited the museum, </p><p>we regarded the artworks as our personal "friends." </p><p>Student...</p></li></ul>


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