Training Tomorrow’s Teachers

Art Museum Preservice Training Programs
Presenter and Audience Responses to the Questions

By Stacy Fuller, Instructional Services Manager at the Amon Carter Museum; Treden Wagoner, Coordinator of Education Technology at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts; Amanda Ruch, Manager of Education Programs at the Smart Museum of Art
2006 NAEA Conference Session

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Summary: What are key reasons (or rationale) for implementing a program for preservice teachers? What are the challenges associated with art museum preservice training?

What are key reasons (or rationale) for implementing a program for preservice teachers?
ACM: Because the Amon Carter Museum is positioned in close proximity to five universities, it seemed unbelievable that we hadn’t worked with preservice teachers prior to May 2004. I noticed two things that led directly to starting the Future Teacher Program—low numbers of teachers attending professional development programs at the museum and a struggle for current classroom teachers to incorporate the museum’s resources into their curriculum. By expanding our definition of “teacher” to include preservice teachers, as well as administrators and homeschool educators, we gained a much larger audience for our programs, which now fill to capacity. In addition, we also noticed current classroom teachers routinely felt so overwhelmed with their responsibilities that they were hesitant to want to learn anything new, such as incorporating museum resources into their practice. By introducing preservice teachers to the museum’s resources prior to their teaching careers, they have time to practice using the resources and feel secure, knowing they can turn to the Carter for help incorporating art into their
curriculum. Another reason we implemented the program was because the museum added an education staff member dedicated entirely to instructional services.
Minneapolis Institute of Arts: Preservice teachers are perhaps the best audience for resource presentations and workshops. As students of education, they are preparing resources, procedures, and habits that will serve their classroom teaching. If we can impress upon them the value of our resources and programs while they are in training, they may be more likely to use them in the classroom. College-level education courses repeat on a predictable schedule. This creates a set number of opportunities to present resources to a captive audience. It also sets the stage for an ongoing relationship. The resource presentation/workshop often becomes part of the curricula and creates the opportunity for repeat visits. In this way, it is easier to recruit participants than it would be to create an opportunity for inservice teachers. I have formed ongoing relationships with five colleges of teacher education in Minnesota. This guarantees ten workshops per year with an average of twenty-five participants per workshop. These numbers are in addition to workshops for other schools of teacher education and inservice teachers.
Smart Museum of Art: This is not a new practice in the field, though traditionally, art museum training for preservice teachers has focused more on training fine arts teachers in art history content. For many of us in museums, we run programs for preservice educators because of the unique opportunity to:

  • train preservice teachers to use museum resources before they enter the classroom;
  • establish relationships with educators early on in their teaching career, hopefully making them more comfortable with museums and art;
  • support greater goals for teacher professional development. For the Smart, our work with university students is a key component of our mission, thus the collaboration with the UTEP (University of Chicago Urban Teacher Education) program was a logical extension.

We are also motivated by

  • a belief/value that all teachers should have some experience with and knowledge of art and how it relates to learning;
  • the value of the arts in education;
  • the potential for rich collaborations between educators and museums. Audience: In some school districts, object-based learning is still foreign

Audience: In some school districts, object-based learning is still foreign to teachers. Art can be the catalyst and energizer when introducing concepts in core disciplines.

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