STEAMed Magazine July 2015 - Page 19

What can VISUAL ART teachers learn from SCIENCE teachers? BY JENNY LUCAS and CARRIE MARKELLO Ask nearly any classroom-seasoned art educator how they feel about their classroom practice amidst the call for handson, student-centered, project-based teaching strategies, and they’ll most likely reply with tremendous confidence that they’ve been implementing those practices for many years. Art teachers are pros at project-based lessons and hands-on activities: it’s what we do. However, in the face of critiques about the declining state of creativity in the US (Bronson and Merryman, 2010) and knowing that art education cannot stand on old arguments of bolstering student performance in math and language (Hetland, Winner, Veenema, & Sheridan, 2007), art educators must take a good long look at what the arts do provide for students and what they are doing in the classroom to ensure those things are happening. The first realization that art educators must face is that activities we identify as “hands-on” may engage students with materials but not necessarily with the inquiry necessary to engender creative thinking (Bronson and Merryman, 2010; Stewart and Walker, 2009; Tweed, 2009), and that “projectbased” in the art classroom more often than not really means “product-based” (Gude, 2013). School art practices can come more into alignment with contemporary art making