The emphasis in an art education degree at the undergraduate level is education. The curriculum intends to give students the knowledge and skills to be proficient teachers, primarily in kindergarten through grade 12. Those enrolling in art education should have a love of art in some form, whether painting, sculpture, ceramics, or design. Some study plans allow students to express their artistry through drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, and media. For example, the Bachelor of Science in Art Education at Northern Arizona University blends the theory and practice of art, including art history, criticism, and studio.
Not all art education programs require a portfolio. An art portfolio refers to a collection of work to demonstrate your skills, abilities, and talent. It is typically necessary for a fine arts degree, such as architecture, graphic design, interior design, animation, and illustration. Accompanying the portfolio might be a word document elaborating on your artwork, depending on the college’s requirements to which you apply. Because of fine arts programs’ competitive nature, an impressive portfolio may clinch acceptance into the school.
Therefore, art education is different from fine arts. The latter refines and elevates your talents in one of the art forms mentioned above. For example, The New School Parsons in New York City provides the skills and tools to expand creativity, inspire new ideas, interests, and innovation for first-year students. The school has eleven areas of specialization in the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Developing and amplify creativity is the theme of Parsons’ program. Educating others in art is not part of the coursework.
One exception is the Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) at Tufts University’s Graduate School of Arts and Science. The 12-month program in art education requires applicants to include an art portfolio along with other documents.
Individuals who aspire to become art teachers may select elementary or middle school grades. The younger the age, the more receptive the students may be to having the means to express themselves through art. He/she doesn’t need to be a child prodigy as an artist, just eager to draw, paint, or color. Talent is not a prerequisite. One of the art teacher’s roles is to encourage self-expression and display confidence through art, no matter how primitive it might be. The essence is in the doing – not the result.
It is uncommon to see a portfolio requirement when applying to an art education program. Graduates of the Bachelor of Science in Art Education at Huntington University in Indiana can earn their teaching license. Designed for teachers in Pre-K through grade 12, the admissions are mute on a portfolio’s need. First-year students must take the CASA (Core Academic Skills Assessment) or meet the state-mandated scores on the ACT and SAT (ACT of 24 or higher on Math, Reading, Grammar, and Science; SAT of 1170 or higher).
Despite the Huntington program’s lack of portfolio, students receive instruction in the visual arts, practice hours, practicum, and teaching methods.
One of the few colleges to incorporate the term fine arts into an art education degree is Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art Education may appeal to individuals who want more art with their education. Children and teens are the focus of the education curriculum. You will learn how to evaluate, encourage, and manage classrooms with diverse students, some with disabilities.
A course in Art Education explores teaching methods, resources, the process of learning, and art instruction. The Foundations and Art History class takes students into 2D and 3D studio work. Electives’ choices allow students to display their creativity by choosing one studio area of painting, ceramics, metals, drawing, fibers, photography, sculpture, or printmaking.
Despite the Appalachian degree being labeled as fine arts, admissions do not require a portfolio review. However, the BFA in Art Education requires a candidacy portfolio review after completing prescribed courses as a prerequisite to enrolling in upper-level studies. Further information is available at this link.
It seems the reference to a portfolio in this instance is not a collection of your creativity. According to the university, the candidacy review creates consistency in admission into a Fine Arts program for all students. In other words, the portfolio is a testament that you have complied with the mandated coursework before proceeding further in the 3000 and above level courses.
Prospective teachers in art do not need to be accomplished artists. Yes, some artistic flair would be helpful. Most students considering a degree in art education, possess a keen interest in the art world. The talent is being able to encourage children and teens to appreciate a variety of art forms. And stimulate others to have the freedom to be expressive, regardless of innate talent.
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