A complexity of deriving the concept of art teacher


There is a growing body of literature that recognizes the importance of art in the development of a society. This article aims to gain a greater understanding of the concept of art teacher and to understand how professional characteristics are a facet of art teacher advanced practice. In order to gain a critical understanding of this matter, the article will undertake a comprehensive literature review, including some old literature, also. The process of critical analysis and discussion will be built around one main question:-Which characteristics should an expert art teacher possess?


There is a growing body of literature that recognises the importance of art in the development of society. It is suggested that art is a mysterious aspectof human life [8] which plays an important role in the cultivating human values and developing healthier society [3]. This means that it is difficult to imagine the process of acquiring knowledge without providing a key role for art within the school curriculum, as it is now known that "art is closely linked to greater academic achievement, social and civic engagement, and even job success later in life" [8].

The characteristics of an expertise art teacher within the framework of'artist, teacher and researcher'

Traditionally, the activity of an art teacher in education manifests in teaching students painting, drawing, sculpture and ceramics. In doing so, some art teachers may arrange exhibitions of students' artistic works within a school and the local community, or even privately at art centers. This means that there is a clear link between two notions of art teacher and artist-teacher. Yet, one of the harder and more intriguing problems defining the necessary professional characteristics of an expert artteacher. There is an assumption that for an expert art teacher, such characteristics may be defined through the context of two notions, namely 'art teacher' and 'artist-teacher'. Thus, our first attempt is obvious, although a prime goal includes the emphasis on understanding the characteristics that an expert art teacher should possess.

Considering the literature on artistic expertise, it is interesting to note that expertise in terms of art knowledge is typically gained through the process of training, formal study, and experience that, to date, has become an increasingly popular topic amongst art researchers with a view to enhancing art education [13]. According to Board of Studies (2000, as cited in[6],Hudson & Hudson, 2007) teaching art education is one of the essential components of the educational system and, thus, the best characteristics of an expert art teacher should be found in order to increase society's attention on art. The term 'art teacher' comprises both the artistic practices and artistic way of thinking within the academic class as an educational philosophy. For an expert art teacher, it is believed that there is a range of possibilities in positioning their role, whilst at the same time to make art or teach art [4].

Given this dual education, there is, however, some evidence to suggest that an art teacher may face a certain ethical dilemma in constructing their professional competence either as an artist or as a teacher [15]. Yet, it seems that a reasonable approach to tackle this issue can be seen via the improvement of a professional practice through artistic action research, as suggested by Rasanen (2005, as cited in [11] Mason, 2005, p.13), because "both art and teaching can be viewed as research". In so doing, "the action research spiral is evident in the work of both artists and teachers as they plan, experiment, reflect, and act again". This means such an approach, therefore, could help to understand the artistic area in more depth, helping to expand and develop the research skills of contemporary art specialist.

And, what is the most interesting is that despite the seeming difficulties in finding the balance between the competence of an art teacher and artist-teacher, there is no doubt that depending on the research, art as a subject needs a more flexible approach in teaching or creative processes that can be adopted, as the authors add that an art teacher's process is a reflection of that associated with the role models of both artist and teacher. Of course, at first glance, there seems to be consensus that to be an art teacher within the framework of three ideas is a difficult task, but in the process there is a likelihood that this can be taught. On the other hand, this approach might help an art teacher to understand how three roles of artist, teacher and researcher may overlap each other. From this, it emerges that the main characteristics of an expert art teacher may be crystallized from these three ideas, since an art teacher in their nature is typically an inventive person and may use multiple approaches to achieving creative output (Taylor et al., 2006, as cited in [14], Smilan & Miraglia, 2009) Thus, these results provide further support for the hypothesis that an art teacher can easily combine various practices, knowledge, characteristics and, hence, this rich experience can be transformed into the notions of "the inventor, the selector, the decision maker, the problem finder and the problem solver" [7]. Although this level of quality contrasts starkly with other researchers' beliefs, an expert art teacher, because of the demands of teaching, also has to be an experienced mentor (Orland-Barak & Yinon, 2005), possessed of aesthetic flavor and art-specific conceptual knowledge of the periods, theories, styles, techniques, and criticism (Lundy, 2010; Parsons, 1987, as cited in [13], Silvia, 2013). For clarity, consider the example of aesthetic experience enabling the handling of stylistic information [10], thus, it seems that this expertise distinguishes an art teacher from the general 'cohort' of teachers.

Taken together, these studies support the notion that the context of an expert art teacher may be considered as a complex mix of the above noted characteristics, including knowledge of pedagogy, psychology, art practice, art history, and museum education. This means that the competence of an expert art teacher can be seen from a broad perspective. These perspectives of the expert in art may expand the borders Ofteaching art, because there Isevidence that a museum education and art history as crucial methods of learning process lead to improving both the visual and cognitive aspects of arts lessons [5]. Consequently, it can thus be argued that a broad expertise of an expert art teacher, namely, their natural talent and characteristics enriches not only the vision

of learners regarding art, but also promote to the development of necessary skills, since art is seen as a valuable basis to enhancing personal potential and learning other subject areas (Rabkin & Redmond, as cited in [6],Hudson & Hudson, 2007). And, despite the fact that the general lack of research with regards to the characteristics of an expert art teacher is obvious, in general, professional artistic competence, practical and theoretical knowledge of art, aesthetic experience, and research skills seems to be the basic characteristics that an expert art teacher should possess. Thus, an art teacher as an expert can be considered as a 'master' (see Figure 1 below) of his/her field, who conveys certain practical skills in their studio (Bachar & Glaubman, 2006),by encouraging students to acknowledge them as an artist (Bachar, 2004) (as cited in [1],Bachar, 2011) Finally, expert art teacher is not only a "driving force for imaginative, creative and challenging art education in school" [5:6]'s creative power'[3].


The generation of theoretical and empirical data from the literature of art, have contributed to an understanding of the complex nature of the concept of art teacher. Throughout the paper, different aspects regarding the notions of art and education have been discussed and analyzed. Although some older published materials have been used for analysis, but this weakness did not represent a substantial obstacle to the conceptualization of characteristics of an expert art teacher. On the contrary, this limitation indicates that further research is needed in order to gain a clear picture through the lens of the current tendencies in both art and expertise, as new transitions in education take place over relatively short timescales. Thus, new approaches to delivering knowledge are still needed to be found. In this case, art is not an exception, taking into account its importance in relation to the development of society's values within the framework of history and culture. For this, researchers must focus on the entirety of art expertise and art learning environments to understand effective art teaching.

Indeed, art, creativity and imagination in "the visual arts can no longer be aligned purely with conceptions of creative self-expression". At the same time, researchers and practitioners need to conceive a creativity "as multidimensional with considerations of how cognitive complexity, affective intensity, technical skills, and interest and motivation all play major roles in the development of humanity" [16:394]. For this reason, art teachers should be equipped with knowledge that may promote not only the growth of good art education, but on the whole the development of teaching and learning process. These beliefs, in turn, will establish the basis for defining the required professional characteristics of both artist and art teacher. This is because aiming to be an expert is accompanied by the concept of being a person, which on the whole means a striving towards socially significant activities.



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Year: 2018
City: Atyrau
Category: History