ART EDUCATION AS A PROFESSION
The modern world increasingly uses impactful images to communicate, and art education provides the initial tools for knowing about and using this visual language. The role of art education in society is related to the public role of art more broadly. Art can be used as a tool for asking and answered important questions, like:
• What is important?
• How far do fantasy and a scientific view of the world reach?
• What is the experience of being human like?
Art education, which understands art’s potential in the development of personal identity, helps children grow into creative adults, for whom visual culture is a part of their life and the words “lifelong learning” are personal and meaningful.
Naturally, the education of art teachers considers the needs of professional culture and contributes to ensuring the existence of an Estonian art world that includes an educated public and subsequent generations of artists.
Educating art teachers is important for the entire educational landscape, in order to make education as a whole more creative and to create greater connectivity between the various fields of education. Contemporary art is like the cross-disciplinary glue that helps people to learn about the natural and psychological aspects of the world, and to be culturally aware.
NATURE OF THE DEPARTMENT, ITS MENTALITY AND PHILOSOPHY
Art education at all levels – from pre-school to higher education – must shift from the modernist paradigm that currently predominates to the post-modernist paradigm and the one beyond.
We approach learning as the creation of knowledge – studying is primarily creating. This principle conforms to the theories of contemporary art as well as to the theories and approaches (socio-constructivism, learning teachers, teacher-researcher, teacher-creator, etc.) related to modern teaching. It is also important that art teachers as practitioners find a balance between knowledge-based and intuitive (based on perceived experiences) approaches, which also take into consideration the experience of viewing art.
The relatively small courses create an opportunity for jointly and dynamically testing new ideas and approaches. On the one hand, the learning experience is “tailor-made” and, on the other hand, a contribution is made to the development of art education generally. The educational sciences at the Academy of Arts are like a laboratory for art didactics and a hothouse for the best practitioners.
The philosophy of the department is defined by a set of shared values:
1. Creativity – we knowingly create conditions for the development of creative and critical thinking, and primarily value clever, innovative and purposeful solutions.
2. Learning from each other – we search for meaningful solutions together, share experiences and are constantly learning.
3. Taking responsibility – we want and dare to accept responsibility; we are motivated to contribute to a common goal.
4. Considerate cooperation – we notice each other and are ready for cooperation; we exchange reliable information and consider each other when resolving problems.
5. Creative regularity – we act flexibly and openly; we are ready to take risk within agreed upon limits, in order to develop practices that will encourage creativity in all the parties, incl. the schoolchildren.
WHAT ARE THE STUDIES LIKE?
When studying to be an art teacher, the master’s candidate participates in three main learning situations:
The auditory learning involves lectures, seminars and study trips in Estonia and abroad.
In the contact classes, the faculty members employ various methods that help the students undergo various learning experiences.
Some of the auditory learning takes place in the department’s study groups based on informal education; we consider teamwork to be extremely valuable, and also the involvement of the learning community and students in the organisation of the studies.
The establishment of learning goals and self-management is important for independent studies – the students are confronted by piles of books and foreign-language articles and the need to write, think about and discuss reports and essay. But primarily they are faced with having to establish their own learning goals and to determine how to move toward these goals.
Practice teaching is comprised of three components – in a general education school, an art school and a museum – and continues through four semesters. The purpose of the practice teaching is to combine theoretical study with the management of actual learning situations, to try it out, and along with the knowledge acquired from analysis, to develop as a teacher.
For more about the curriculum and class schedule
ART EDUCATION AT THE ACADEMY OF ARTS
The Estonian Academy of Arts has educated teachers since 1998. The initial one-year teacher training programme has today grown into a master’s curriculum for art teachers, which enables primarily those with bachelor’s degrees in art or art history to acquire the knowledge and skills required for teaching.
Since 2012, we are working with an updated and combined curriculum, which places great emphasis on knowledge-based approaches in the teaching of art, the development of teacher-researcher skills and pedagogical practices. When updating the curriculum, we cooperate with other schools of higher education that offer teacher education within the Eduko programme.
The goal of the Department of Art Education at the Estonian Academy of Arts is to develop art didactics.