“How do art educators approach designing their curriculum?”

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My name is Amalia, and currently in my last semester in the Art Education program. I am a career changer who spent ten years in the fashion industry. Although I enjoyed the whirlwind of the fashion industry, there was always a longing feeling that there was something more I was meant to do. However, I didn’t think it was possible to just pick up and make such life changing decisions. Then, one day, that decision was made for me and looking back, it was the best thing that could have happened to me! Of course with the exception of marrying my best friend and having an amazing 4- year old son, who will soon be a big brother come July.

I can’t thank my loving family enough for all their support that enables me to make such leaps and changes and become a part of something that I am so passionate about. My husband Josh (also an educator) and I constantly have discussions about the education system and worry when its time to make these decisions for Maximus what will his schooling be like. These discussions normally get me enraged at the system and lack of backing for the arts. I feel every child should have access to high-quality art education, learning in the arts fosters critical thinking, well rounded education. These discussions along with my course work, has let me to wonder what are current art educators doing to make a difference, and how they go about making sure their students are receiving a well rounded art education.

When I began the Art Ed program, and assigned my first classroom observations, I was always dying to find out, how do art educators today design their curriculum, do they follow some formula handed to them two weeks before school started. Was there a mental checklist they felt their students must accomplish, or simply following the New York City Department of Education Blueprint Visual Arts standards, or does it all come down to ones pedagogical viewpoint?

When I first began to think about my research question, I kept landing on very vague education policy issues. As you can tell from above I feel very strongly about what type of education children should and should not have and what place Art should have in school. However, as I began to try to focus my question, I realized that all this wondering and questioning over a year of classroom observations, lead to my research question, “How do art educators approach designing their curriculum?” So I’m off to investigate, how is it done, and what influences these decisions that today’s art educators make. I realized that teaches have to live in the current world we live in, they must create their curriculum and unit, and lessons within the regulations that are created. So I began to wonder how do art educators navigate all of this and create their curriculum. I also wonder, would it be beneficial to our students, if there were some set curriculum outline, similar to what many core subjects have? Would art educators embrace this with open arms, or would they feel like it’s more of a classroom invasion to the endless creative possibilities that art can offer these minds of today?

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