Concepts of Art Education

Exceptional Students Practicum


During the spring 2018 semester I was enrolled in Concepts of Art Education (Educ 325). Stated in the syllabus was the intentions for this course “The intent of this course is to introduce students to concepts of how artistic learning occurs in children, adolescents, and adults-including special populations. Additionally, students will investigate how these concepts shaped art education practice in the past and how it continues to influence current pedagogical practice. This class is meant to provide a foundation for later course work in art education and K-12 art teaching… Over the course of the semester, students will be introduced to research--some of it contradictory--to understand how and why children, adolescents, and adults seek to express themselves in a visual manner."

This was the first education class that I had that was geared towards my art concentration. It was one of the most challenging courses I have taken at CSU to date. It has pushed my knowledge on teaching art and I have felt myself grow as a future teacher. My knowledge on how to teach the content has grown exponentially as well as my confidence in the classroom. I worked with students apart of the exceptional community who enrolled in Artistic Abilities. My teaching group was responsible for creating lesson plans each week and teaching them to the class. We have a website dedicated to this class at 

Setting and Context

3-D Artistic Abilities is a 3 dementional art class for people with disabilities of any age. We met every Tuesday for five weeks from 4:00-6:00 PM. It was easy to engage the class in the projects because they were all excited to be there. We had six students each with their own way of creatively expressing themselves.

Student #1- He was an older gentleman who worked fast but loved to sit an have casual conversation about the weather and what was going on in the news. He had a fun sense of humor to him. Sometimes his attention would be divided between the conversation and the project but he was going thought somethings so it was just wonderful having him with us.


 Student #2- This student loved talking about Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Her knowledge on it was very extensive and with this particular subject she was the teacher and I was the student. She has a wonderful imagination and when we did transportation projects everyone else did a vehicle but she did a horse because she likes to do her own thing.

Student #3- This student was very talkative. She would talk about what she liked, her family and friends and would talk about her project idea to us a lot. It was fun to listen to her talk about what she was going to do and how her idea would change mid sentence when she thought of a new idea.

Student #4- This student is such a sweet girl. She told us all about her troubles in school and my heart just goes out to her. She is wheelchair bound so when we took a trip to the museum we had to really make sure we could get her into the building. 

Student #5- This student disability is a little more intense then some of the others. During the first class it was hard to get him engaged but by the last class he gave us all hugs and was talking up a storm. It was so wonderful to see him grow and come out of his shell during the five week class.

Student #6- This student loves to draw abstract pictures and we were trying to get her to add that into some of her other works. She wasn't too big on the 3-D aspect of the class. She also got sick half way though the week so we only saw her for two classes out of the five and that was disappointing.

We used so many different materials throughout the classes ranging from puff balls to cardboard. The students also explored plaster, clay and went on a museum visit. We explored our imaginations and identity thought all the projects. The students had a fun time exploring the "art store" we had set up on one of the back tables. We had such a small class they only took up two tables and during the last class we were playing musical chairs of sorts because everyone wanted to sit next to everyone one last time. It was also nice to have only two tables because we could all sit next to them and be right there when they needed help.

Synthesis & Conclusion

Concepts of art education was an engaging, intellectual course. We learned from a variety of materials such as, articles, explorations as well as experience. All of the information that was given to me are now tools in my teaching tool belt. 

I have learned so much from my time in artistic abilities. I was nervous at first to teach members of the special community. But I know being an art teacher there will always be students within that community in my classes. Though artistic abilities I have gained some of the confidence and skills to reach those students effectively. Because of that I have learned how to give engaging and effective feedback on art work. I usually would say "wow I like that" if they asked but now I ask them if they like it because that is more important. I will also ask them why they made the choices they did. Asking them why they make specific choices can help students evaluate their own art and can also give them ideas on what else they would like to add or possibly change. Thought this process we can begin to give meaningful feedback to the students.

Saying "oh I like that" or "wow that is cool" does nothing for the artistic growth of students. They need feedback that is helpful towards their process and technique. Like that was a great choice to put the sun there and the clouds there it really creates balance in the piece and is pleasing to look at. When you put that kind of time into your responses it shows students that hey this isn’t just for fun art can be very important and the skills you develop in here can be transferred into other subjects of life. Like creative problem solving for example. People have to problem solve everyday of their lives and when you can learn how to that differently it can give you much quicker results or a better way to fix a problem.

That being said we are not just art teachers. We are also here to teach students important skills they need out in the real world. Like sharing materials or learning how to voice your opinions to other people.

I have also learned how to demonstrate being a leader. I have created lesson plans then filled the requirements for those lesson plans for the students. Being in charge of a class is something I haven’t had much experience with in the past but each teaching experience I go thought I can feel my confidence grow and expand. I feel much more comfortable in front of students because I know I can rely on my knowledge on the subject and I can transfer my passion on.

I also participate in most class discussions because I think it is important for people to hear many point of views. It also helps sharpen my pubic speaking skills and teaches me to defend my point with facts and not just opinions. Listening to others opinions that I don't quite agree with also helps me with my listening skills and knowing when someone needs my undivided attention.

“The Project of Art Education” by Oliva Gude emphasis that art inside the school is usually different than art outside of it. The reason it is different is having freedom. When you are inside the classroom projects can be regimented and the same projects have been repeated for years with little improvement. But when an artist or designer is outside the classroom they have the opportunity to create the art that they want. I know personally that having that freedom is indeed freeing. You can try things you’ve never tried before or give the piece of art a true meaning. It can also be a lot less intimidating when you know the art you are making is just for you. That is why crating a safe inclusive environment within the classroom is a must. Students need to feel safe especially when creating artwork that is raw and full of personal emotion. You can create this environment by making sure the students are receiving constructive feedback and are allowed that freedom in the class and with the projects.

Overall I believe that this class is essential for becoming an art teacher. I now have a better idea on what being a teacher of the arts is all about. I have gained more confidence that this is where I am supposed to be and this is what I want to do. The information I was given and have gather as well as the priceless experience I went through will be a foundation for what is yet to come in my art education endeavor. My excitement is only growing.

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