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Doctoral Dissertation Announcement
Candidate: Lonnie Ford
Doctor of Education
Department: Educational Leadership, Research and Technology
Title: How Can Art Education Enhance Other Content Subject Areas in an Urban School Setting?
Dr. James Muchmore, Chair
Dr. Sue Poppink
Dr. Ron Crowell
Date: Tuesday, March 18, 2008 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
WMU/ Battle Creek Building, Room 110
Parents and educators have traditionally viewed art as mere “enrichment” rather than a viable and essential part of the public school curriculum. To address this issue, professional groups such as the National Art Education Association (NAEA) have consistently advocated for the importance of art by framing it as another core subject area that should be valued as highly as science, math, social studies, and language arts. Unfortunately, such a stance ignores another critical argument for the value of art: when it is framed as a stand-along core subject area, essential connections among art and the other disciplines are neglected.
Art is not only important for its own sake, but is also a fundamental means through which students can learn core subjects. Drawing upon my early school experiences as a naturally artistic student who utilized art as a key tool for learning, I developed a unique approach to teaching art that incorporates all of the core subjects. As an art teacher, I teach more than just art; I also integrate math, science, social studies, and language arts into my art lesson plans in meaningful ways. Unlike any other art teachers whom I have encountered throughout my career, I actually align my lessons with the standards for the core subjects taken from the Michigan Curriculum Framework, and I also regularly communicate with my students’ teachers in the core subjects in order to achieve curricular continuity in my classroom.
The purpose of this narrative self-study is to explore my own development as an art teacher and show how my unique approach to art education evolved from my personal experiences. Through telling my story, I hope to influence the decisions of policy makers regarding art education in order to strengthen the position of art within the school community. I also hope to enlighten the practices of other art teachers who face the same kinds of frustrations and constraints that I have experienced when challenging the traditional role of art in the school curriculum.