As a university supervisor, I have the opportunity to observe preservice teachers as they fulfill their student teaching practicum. Part of my task is to assess their performance, including their competence in content; instructional strategies, classroom management and organization. Some of my student teachers deliver art programs that emphasize media, processes, elements and principles. Many also focus on historical and critical inquiry. Some student teachers have already developed effective classroom management and organizational strategies. But is this evidence of quality art education that will prepare students for life's challenges? Are we denying students the opportunity to experience the transformative properties of arts education when we impose too much control on the environment? Are we playing it safe in the classroom rather than personalizing learning and dealing with real life issues? Coming to school ready to learn currently means more than just food in their stomachs and shoes on their feet. It may mean dealing with tough issues, such as the threat of terrorism, abuse, oppression, isolation, fear, racism, prejudices and intolerance. These are the silences in art education. Silence that becomes the norm is what Freire (1970) calIs a "culture of silence" that eventually reflects one's subordinate position. Meanwhile, art educators wonder why students are not motivated to learn about content such as the Italian Renaissance or French Impressionist painting.
© The Author