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Art Education Curriculum

Promising Approaches

Provide instruction in academic disciplines through the lens of government, history law, and democracy.

Encourage and support activities and student and community organizations that provide opportunities for students to be engaged in their campuses and communities.

Encourage students’ participation in forums that model democratic processes and procedures.

Involve students in the development and sustaining of campus/community partnership.


Although many of our curricular goals have to do with “teacher craft,” there is a very strong emphasis on the philosophy of teaching art:  why art education is important for living a rich and aware life and how it might be important as a way of understanding the world around us, especially its socio-political environment and contexts.  The connection is then made between the implications of our individual teaching philosophies and how we teach.  Teaching art in a modern democracy is the challenge for our students.  As they move into schools and other community settings to teach art, we ask them what the Monday-morning implications are of a belief in democracy.   As we help them develop skills in listening, presenting, and working together with colleagues and students,  they are always experiencing how teaching for social change can engage art students in their craft and their community.   As they reflect on this collaborative work in the community, they refine and deepen their philosophies of teaching.  We attend to what is taught—the content—but also to what is taught by how we teach.  Students write a teaching of art philosophy based on research into the theoretical art education literature. They write curricula in which they apply their philosophies through content and methodology.  They practice applying their philosophies and curricula by teaching in various community setting with a variety of students, including but not limited to traditional K-12 settings.  They reflect, throughout the program, on their philosophical stance and on the match between the content and teaching methodology they utilized, as well as what the learners learned and how their learning could be improved.   In the art student teaching internship (STT 494 Art), our students work with public and private K-12 schools within an hour of the University.    For example, this spring, one student teacher  completed a very successful Service Learning project based on the Empty Bowls Project with the 6th graders at Orrington Center Drive School and Manna, a local food cupboard.  In AED 474, which is a Topics course and changes every year, students have worked with Shaw House, Acadia Hospital, Boyd Place, the Vine Street School program for children with autism, Manna, people at the Greyhound Bus terminal and others.  This last two years, the course was taught by Laurie Hicks.  And this last spring, the focus of the course was on Museum education in partnership with several local museums.  In AED 373 and AED 473, the students teach (write curricula, order and organize materials, organize and set up an ending exhibition of the children's work) after-school art classes in our art education laboratory school, which we call ArtWorksThese classes are offered each semester and open to elementary and middle school students, who come to campus for 5 Friday afternoon art lessons.  They come from a variety of schools and situations: private and public, religious, alternative schools, and home-schooled children.  But our relationship is directly with their parents, rather than the school from which they come.

Special Features

Civic Learning Goals

  • Civic Knowledge: Recognize the variety of characteristics and actions of effective, participating citizens; identify and describe the community in which they live; discuss and explore the variety of ways an individual can help solve social problems; knowledge of social movements and strategies for change; understand public and community issues.
  • Civic Skills: Process and evaluate information for objectivity, accuracy, and point of view; asses the consequences of and appropriate context for personal action; further develop and use critical=thinking skills and ethical reasoning to make informed and responsible decisions; use verbal and written communication skills to convey ideas, facts, and opinions in an effective and reasonable manner; work cooperatively with others and develop effective team-building practices; public speaking; organize meetings to insure that all participants have a voice in the process; active listening/perspective taking; work together to overcome problems; pursue an array of cultural, social, political, and religious interests and beliefs.
  • Civic Attitudes/Dispositions: Willingness to enter dialogue with others about different point of view and to understand diverse perspectives; tolerance for ambiguity and resistance to simplistic answers to complex questions; develop a sense of personal efficacy; an affective or emotional attachment to the community, a feeling that one wants to be contributing member of the community; respect for individual and group identifies; confident in their capacity to make a difference; see themselves as members of a public, a community, and the ability to recognize that a community is a group of people who belong to each other because they share both a heritage and a hope.

Contact Information

James Linehan, Chair
Department of Art
The University of Maine
Laurie Hicks, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Art and Art Education
The University of Maine

Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools: Education for Democracy