Art Education Reflection Example

2011 National Art Education Association Convention

How the experience has impacted my understanding of the Art Education profession?

This experience has impacted my understanding of the Art Education field by exposing me to the reality of the career I have chosen for myself.  I was able to gain a better perspective of what I will be facing when I get into the classroom.  It also allowed me to gain perspective of my own training through Grand Valley State University.  I went to several “Best Practice” sessions and one included two award winning Art Teachers through the NAEA.  This session specifically allowed me to see how up to date and “cutting edge” the art education program at GVSU really is.  The lessons shared by the “Best Practice” teachers were not anything outstanding or anything greater than ideas I have seen before or created myself.  While examples showed good final products, the actual lessons taught were minimal compared to what the Art Education professors at GVSU are teaching their students to teach. 

I gained perspective on what troubles the arts are being faced with when it comes to difficult issues such as stereotypes, budgets, larger classes, etc.  I was able to gain valuable connections for the future when I do have issues with all of the above.  I was exposed to different areas of art education outside of the k12 setting.  There were many sessions based on museum education which I found interesting but could not attend due to other sessions during the same time slots.  Simple seeing the options in relation to my past internships and experiences spiked my interest as a backup if I do not get a k12 teaching position right away.

Overall it helped me realize how much I have to offer as a new graduate going into art education.  I have been trained and educated through the latest research and studies related to art education and where the field is headed.  It is because of these techniques I have the passion and desire to go into this field for my career.  I have a passion and desire to teach meaning making to my students.  I also have a desire to break down stereotypes and help them process the visual world they live in.  It reminded me that I am not the only one with this passion and we come in all different forms within the Art Education field.  We all care about our students and want to give them more opportunities to better so our future.

How it enhanced my liberal education:

This experience has enhanced my liberal education in the sense that I got to travel across the country to a state and city I had never been, I was able to meet and network with people who have been in the same position as myself, I gained a better perspective on the arts, my own state, and where I stand amongst both.

I was exposed to conversations and possibilities of art education in other forms than simply the k12 setting.  It’s wonderful to know there are other options out there for people with my degree and experience! I have a much broader perspective of what options I have for jobs upon graduation.

Finally, I was able to experience a city where art is everywhere.  With this it is allowing for the city to continue to grow and attract more people.  They incorporate art into every aspect of the city and are proud of it.  It was refreshing to see this in comparison to some areas of Michigan and the economic state everyone is in.

How I intend to maximize the experience:

In order to maximize my experience, I took notes in a sketchbook the entire time.  I collected resources and purchased books to help my teaching when I get into my own classroom.  I have been in contact with at least one person I met at the conference.  That person even sent me an e-mail with a job opportunity in it.  The connections I made, with fellow art educators and vendors, will be useful when I get my own classroom could not have occurred anywhere else.

As far as the sessions go, I was strongly impacted by the Art:21 large group sessions.  The artist featured, Mark Dion, had a work exhibited in Seattle and it was highlighted throughout the weekend by Mark Dion and Art:21.  Seeing and hearing the artist speak about his own work in relation to art education was truly inspiring.  The meaning he has behind that work was remarkable and I can’t wait to take back the experience I had over the three days, into my classroom to discuss lessons about the environment, what we are doing with it, what artists are doing about it, and what my students can do about it through art!

After this experience, I plan on returning to this conference year after year, if funding permits.  (Thank you for helping make it possible this time!) I realized how much networking, how much inspiration, the necessity to stay up to date in your field, and how important it is to create and continue dialogue with fellow colleagues.  I felt inspired returning to Michigan and even more excited to get into a classroom of my own!

Page last modified July 22, 2011