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View Poll Results: Do art teacher's need to be good at all/most art mediums to teach art?
Yes. Art Teachers should be good at all/most art mediums to teach art. 14 11.20%
Yes and No. Art teachers need to know a range of different mediums and be adequate/satifactory 71 56.80%
No. Art Teachers don't need to be good at all mediums but specialise in one or two 31 24.80%
Other. Please explain in thread... 9 7.20%
Voters: 125. You may not vote on this poll

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  #16   Report Bad Post  
Old 02-20-2009, 10:49 AM
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garciabrothers garciabrothers is offline
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Re: Do art teacher's need to be good at all/most mediums to teach art?

I have seen some very bad teachers who could be considered "failed as an artist", that is someone who tried to sell their stuff and no one wanted it.

But mostly I know teachers who sell well and some in the high 4 figures too. They sell to supplement their income sure, but I think it's more to sell their own art, and nothing wrong with that. It also keeps their skills sharp.

They are incredible teachers because they are knowledgeable in their craft, and are able to convey their thoughts. Simply, they know their subject (the making of art) well.

Very recently I hooked-up with a nationally selling artist from whom I had bought several oils in the past (when I had some dough to spend). She told me she was teaching in a venue near me and the all media classes were to start soon. I signed up.

In the class only another woman and I had some knowledge of making art. No problem. Sat through a nearly hour long introduction of her telling these people they were all "artists and had been since they were born", and the like. <yawn symbol>

Finally we bring out our paper and a very elderly gentleman who says is just looking for a way to pass the time gets out his paper and begins making marks with his new watercolors. I get out my sketchbook because I want some drawing pointers. Everyone else gets to work.

Teacher comes around like a good teacher should. She sees the old man's paper and HOLEY MOLEY!!! DO YOU BELIVE IN APPLES, SHE SCREAMS, 'CUZ LOOK AT THEM APPLES!!! HE CAN ENTER THIS IN A SHOW AND WIN FIRST PRIZE. No one responds so she puts down his paper and comes to me.

She wants to see my sketchbook so I show her. I have a little something that I splashed some watercolor on--a nothing. She does the same routine as she did with the old man.

I finished a class session, and called the coordinator intending to ask for a refund. He heard "I am enrolled in (name) class" and said "I'll give you a refund". I assume I was not his first call.

She's incredible skilled at making art, yes, she is. She selling in the aforementioned high 4 figures. She's a communicator. She has the traits you are talking about in here.

Big long story, I know, but this is the kind of teacher to avoid. She's going to have you looking the fool when you place your work for selection, or a non-juried show with a price tag of $800.

How would you know to avoid her classes if you just looked at her art? That's the question I would like answered.
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Old 03-04-2009, 05:12 AM
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Jean Cowan Jean Cowan is offline
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Re: Do art teacher's need to be good at all/most mediums to teach art?

Just a few thoughts being an art tutor myself, here is what I have learned.
Acknowledging that you are there to introduce, develop and discuss ideas is to me the test of a good tutor.
Not just someone excellent at their art skills.
It pays to be well versed in art discussion, confident in techniques of chosen medium, able to demonstrate, quick to get people doing something, give contructive criticism, encourage dialogue.
Bottom line, be just a step ahead of the students and be prepared to be humble when you don't know the answer.
People want help and confirmation, once they relax and trust you they often do the work themselves.
Jean Cowan
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Old 03-16-2009, 09:13 PM
Forestfaeries Forestfaeries is offline
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Re: Do art teacher's need to be good at all/most mediums to teach art?

I had my share of terrible art teachers in high school. They did their best to discourage anyone who didn't seem to meet their own criteria for good art work. Anyone who didn't provide art that was exactly the way the teacher envisioned it, was told that they should basically give up on art, and that they would "never" have any ability.

To me, the most important quality in an art teacher is the desire and ability to inspire and encourage the students to express their creativity visually, and support them in their endeavors.

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Old 03-21-2009, 02:48 PM
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Coffee Break Coffee Break is offline
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Re: Do art teacher's need to be good at all/most mediums to teach art?

I'm a sophmore in high school, taking my second year of art now. (not counting taking art every single year since kindergarten).
I have a student teacher as of now, with my regular teacher taking a break and allowing the student teacher to teach the classes.
I was always disappointed with my regular teacher. Always giving us critique, but I had never seen a single piece of her work (as examples for what she wanted us to complete for our assignments, she would give us a previous student's work).
But my current teacher (the student teacher) always has some of her own work to show us before we start a new assignment. She seems very biased towards oil pastels, but I don't mind.
Basically, as long as you show your students that you are indeed an artist, you don't have to be skilled in every medium. Just encourage them to branch out for themselves. ^^
Staci, an art enthusiast in my early twenties.
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Old 04-18-2009, 09:19 AM
Gajira Gajira is offline
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Re: Do art teacher's need to be good at all/most mediums to teach art?

I've been asked to teach drawing at my children's Primary School because I'm a qualified teacher and the kids like my artwork It's often actually quite difficult to teach something you're 'good at' because you don't understand why others might struggle with it. Sometimes the best teachers of a subject are the ones who find it difficult themselves, because they can identify where the problems are for other learners.
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Old 04-19-2009, 10:07 AM
joqua joqua is offline
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Re: Do art teacher's need to be good at all/most mediums to teach art?

Originally Posted by Coffee Break
Basically, as long as you show your students that you are indeed an artist, you don't have to be skilled in every medium. Just encourage them to branch out for themselves. ^^

The best way I know of to introduce yourself as "an artist" to a new classroom of students is to give them a slide show of your work, showing how you developed from a novice to where you're at now. Just don't show them so many slides that you put them to sleep!

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Old 04-19-2009, 07:58 PM
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Re: Do art teacher's need to be good at all/most mediums to teach art?

They have to be good at the mediums they teach. I have had art teachers say "I have not tried that and am not qualified to grade it" and other statements. I think an art teacher should encourage students to read up on other methods and try them, and an art teacher should always look for new methods.
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Old 04-27-2009, 09:55 AM
B125 B125 is offline
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Re: Do art teacher's need to be good at all/most mediums to teach art?

Most artists aren't good at most mediums never mind teachers.
They used to be though
Turner for example was great at watercolour,oil,etching etc.
Michelangelo of course with chalk,silverpoint,ink,oil as well i think,although he thought it was for amateurs,sculpture, fresco, you name it.
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Old 04-27-2009, 01:13 PM
whisperelmwood whisperelmwood is offline
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Re: Do art teacher's need to be good at all/most mediums to teach art?

From talking to the Head of Subject for the Secondary PGCE I'm going to take, it sounds like they want their students to have at least basic knowledge in as many media as possible.

I'm not in the least bit surprised by this, as the teacher will be teaching children the basics anyway - specialising in only one thing, with no extra knowledge, will be quite limiting if you want to teach. How is one supposed to get the kids excited in the arts, if one only knows Fine art Painting, but not Sculpture, Photography, Paper-art and so on?

But this is from talking to Art and Design for Secondary School (11 - 17 year olds) - it may be different for Higher Learning and/or Adult students. And I'm also not even taking my PGCE just yet.. so take my words with a pinch or two of salt.
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Old 05-15-2009, 09:54 AM
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VisionOfHeaven VisionOfHeaven is offline
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Re: Do art teacher's need to be good at all/most mediums to teach art?

I've actually never had an art teacher, so maybe my answer is going to be a bunch of weeds.

I think a proper teachers needs to support, inspire and inform students. It isn't up to the teacher to give you an idea.. I think they should give you the tools and see where you go. In that regard, yes - there needs to be a certain amount of general knowlege in order to help pupils understand what may go wrong, for example: Clay popping in the oven! But a teacher doesn't need to be an expert at every little detail. That would be like an English teacher having to be an expert on every single genre of books!
I'm gon' brawl, so be there.
One for all, I'll be there.
And when they fall, to pieces.
Lord you know, I'll be there laughing
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Old 07-31-2009, 06:49 AM
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chiendent chiendent is offline
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Re: Do art teacher's need to be good at all/most mediums to teach art?

Yes and No. A teacher (in general not only in art) needs always to have a lot of knowledge of techniques and enthousiasm for what he is doing; teaching and subject matter. Teaching art is a bit less easy if you want to teach more than technique. The question is:
The artist painter's Wife-Promoter-Webmaster
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Old 09-28-2009, 11:24 AM
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vhere vhere is offline
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Re: Do art teacher's need to be good at all/most mediums to teach art?

as someone already said - to teach in England you do have to have a degree in your subject and a teaching qualification as well - so except for those teaching privately, teachers will be qualified and able to use a range of media pretty well.

An art degree here will expect you to have experimented with a variety of media, even though Fine Art degrees do lean towards oil on canvas. I showed large oils on canvas, watercolours, pastels. drawings (pencil, charcoal) and digital images at my degree show - so a wide range.

I think you do have to have an adequate knowledge of a variety as you'll often have to show the ways of using them.

Also it's important not to direct students into working the way you like personally but act as a catalyst - bringing out their own voice, in the media they prefer (whilst encouraging experimentation and open mindedness with other media)

I like to work loosely and mix media but have students who worked very traditionally , very freely, in all sorts of media, illustrationally, very contemporary ....... all different in their approaches and needs. (I teach adults, some learning on non-accredited courses and others doing BTEC courses)

MY WEBSITE:http://vivienblackburn.com MY BLOG:http://vivienb.blogspot.com/ ETSY for original paintings http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=6150568
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Old 01-15-2010, 10:55 PM
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puglady puglady is offline
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Re: Do art teacher's need to be good at all/most mediums to teach art?

ditto to the above poster-- you never want to impose your style on your students. I had a teacher in college (oil painting) and we had to do what I call "paint like me" projects, where we had to copy his personal style. His style was very impressionistic and I hated it. I can also tell you that while he was a good painter he was NOT good at teaching-- he never demonstrated techniques to us or helped us with specific issues, he just left us in the studio and went off to do his own thing. So no, being good at art will not make you a good art teacher automatically, but I also don't think it's possible to be a great art teacher unless you have basic skills.

Another thing that occurred to me: when I went to college I thought my drawing skills were weak because I was comparing myself to my art teacher, who'd been teaching and who had been an artist for 15 years, but my professors assured me that my drawing skills were actually strong for an entering freshman. You might be underestimating yourself. I would just encourage you to enter shows at your college or in your community and put yourself out there for critiques-- it'll help you improve your skills.
Amber the Pug Lady

"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying 'I will try again tomorrow'"
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Old 04-04-2010, 10:08 PM
Daisygirl Daisygirl is offline
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Re: Do art teacher's need to be good at all/most mediums to teach art?

I have been teaching art every since I started learning myself. I am the kind of learner that just HAS to teach. If I want to really learn something I offer a class in it. By the time the class starts I am proficient enough to teach it. Also, because am an artist by motivation rather than natural talent I usually know what it takes to get results and to overcome difficulties. I always bill my class as an introduction level class... Fearful artist often attend my class and gain confidence to go on. Often for a beginner an artist that is professional and well known for selling their work is intimidating. Because I teach intro I often have students who are natural at art from the get go.. those students become better artists than myself rather quickly.. I love it!!! To open up art to someone who never thought they had any ability is a privilege that I treasure. I am at this point a better teacher than an artist.. but every time I teach I become a better artist.
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Old 04-05-2010, 04:29 PM
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robertsloan2 robertsloan2 is offline
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Re: Do art teacher's need to be good at all/most mediums to teach art?

An art teacher needs to be good at drawing and rendering. Having multiple mediums they're good in is a help, but if they can draw reasonably well they can teach mediums they haven't used -- and teach a vital lesson in the process.

"Let's find out what happens. Let's explore this and find out what it does. I've read that you can't put fat over lean in oils. What'll happen if we deliberately crash test this 4" x 6" piece of canvas board that never did anybody any harm by putting greasy linseed oil on the bottom layer and covering it over with thin glazes done with lots of turpentine?"

And let the students see what happens. And teach that it's okay to invent, to research, to look things up, to make mistakes and then turn them into serendipity, to remember that artistic risks are ultimately risking the loss of some paper or a bit of cloth or wood and the priceless knowledge gained.

A good teacher could teach from knowing very few mediums, but should know drawing and rendering to a reasonably satisfactory level and should understand color in at least one wet and one dry medium. That's not a lot. The rest can be learned by staying a lesson or two ahead of the students and relying on good draftsmanship to make the experiments come out decent and impress the students.

If you can draw, what's left to learn in mediums is the techniques of those mediums.

I think a teacher who's never tried something ought to at least read up a bit before teaching it, so they have some idea of what to expect from the experimetns and don't do a colossal goof without being set up to do the "Well, now we know what happens, the paint film slides off the picture" demonstration.

Robert A. Sloan, proud member of the Oil Pastel Society
Site owner, artist and writer of http://www.explore-oil-pastels-with-robert-sloan.com
blogs: Rob's Art Lessons and Rob's Daily Painting
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