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ivor's question/mfa

updated sun 11 jun 00


Joyce Lee on fri 9 jun 00

> Would it be impertinent to ask, to be considered for a tertiary teaching position should the qualification offered by the candidate contain a little TAPE, that is, Theory and Practice of Education. Do those MFA’s have that professional content?
Figuring that having taught only one year on the university level, AND
that year occuring in an outreach program after I retired, AND not
having any sort of FA in anything..... makes me exempliarly qualified to
respond to Ivor's very good question..... soooooo

Several have pointed out that the Masters in Fine Arts is not designed
to be a teaching credential; nor do many, maybe most, of the recipients
of the degree even have a minimal desire to teach ever anywhere. That
being the case, there is no need to have teaching methods and practices
as part of such a program. However, it is also true that most colleges
and universities are more interested in having candidates for new
teaching positions be well and formally trained/educated in subject
matter rather than in teaching skills. I understand (maybe not so) that
some schools of higher learning are now offering teacher effectiveness
training as part of ongoing programs/workshops AFTER a teacher is on
staff. (Actually, I know this is so since I was pleased to participate
as a presenter in two such programs.) Personally, I think it is flawed
thinking to expect a teacher to teach well simply because he has
advanced subject matter degrees ..... and it's pretty apparent that the
days when All university students were expected to show up, sit down and
learn, OR NOT, as the teacher offered lecture after lecture without
consideration for various learning styles of their students or checking
to see if the student has learned any of what the professor has
espoused.. are in some institutions more attention is being
given to the possibility of actually training college teachers to TEACH.
Hooray. However, in my experience, there are probably NO
teachers/professors of fine art, be it ceramic or other media, who are
able to teach using the straight lecture method. Can that even be done?
Those blessed professors must either intutively understand HOW TO TEACH
or learn on the job ...... fast. The very nature of art....knowing
almost nothing about art, of course, so I can freely expound ......
requires that the student be jumped into the higher levels of learning
of any taxonomy. The end product hoped for in most curricular offerings
is to have the student CREATE something on his own, and is the end
result of many lessons building to that point. (The sad part is that
most of us never reach that level, nor have our teachers done so.) Since
usually CREATION is where an art class often BEGINS, art departments
may abound with honest-to-God teachers-who-teach and students who learn.
Sad commentary on other departments, though, and I hope they'll forgive
me for being so candid, but those teachers DO need to be trained in
teacher effectiveness as mentioned by Ivor. Yes, those holding
doctorates, also ...

In the Mojave getting mouthy .... going to go see if my extruded stuff
is still holding together....... and shut up about this subject