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Teaching Arts in Elementary

SC - Arts
San Rafael CCRD
A. Instructional Planning
B. Setting the Objectives
C. Choosing Art Activities
D. Instructional Frameworks
E. Developing an Activity Plan
A. Art Education in the
B. The Artist Mindset in the
Early Grades
C. The K to 12 Elementary Art
Education Curriculum
A. Strategies for Engagement
and Getting Inspiration
B. Instructional Strategies in
Teaching Visual Arts
C. The Creative Process:
Developing Creativity
D. Contextualization, Adaptation,
and Classroom Management
A. Art Appreciation
B. Authentic Art Assessment
C. Showcasing Art through
A. Art Education in the Philippines
1. Familiarize yourself with how and why visual
art has been taught in the Philippines in the past
2. Gain cursory knowledge of the arguments in
favor of having art subjects in the curriculum.
3. Become familiar with the issues facing Art
Education in the country today.
"Those who cannot
remember the past
are condemned to
repeat it."
- George Santayana
"Art Education"- as the term is
used in the Philippines -refers
to the teaching and learning of
the visual arts, i.e., drawing,
painting, sculpture, etc. This is
to distinguish it from education
in other artistic fields, such as
music, dance, and theater.
As future teachers in the field, you
are expected to have a competent
grasp of the various skills required
to produce works of visual art in a
variety of contexts and with a
variety of materials. This text is
meant to guide the learning of how
to teach to others-particularly
children-what you already know.
A Short History of Art Education in the Philippines
According to Santiago (2013), Art Education in the country as
we know it today is the by-product of the American philosophy of
education which the Americans brought with them as they supplanted
the Spanish as colonizers of the country at the start of the 20th
As the Filipinos' latent artistic talents came to the fore, the
Americans saw it fit that they play a part in the development of
Philippine education as a whole, and so to this day, art is still taught as
part of Basic Education in the country.
Santiago (2013) defines Art Education in the country as being
comprised of three distinct periods:
During this time, Art
drawing (it was literally called
"Drawing" in the curriculum),
where the students learned via
imitation, and the instructional
methods were "dull and
authoritarian." Early attempts
were made to correlate
drawing with other subjects,
such as English, industrial
works, and language.
credited by Santiago with
starting the New Movement in
Art Education, characterized
by a growing understanding of
the desired philosophy for
teaching art not only in the
elementary grades, but also in
high school and college, and
an increasing practicality in the
teaching of art.
It was in 1950 that
Education" and when Pablo
Victoria, an art professor at the
College, pioneered integrating
art with other subjects in the
curriculum. His 1959 book, Art
in the Elementary School,
clarifies and elaborates on the
role of both teachers and
learners in art education.
Today, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA)
is the primary policy-making body for Philippine culture and the arts.
Its programs and policies are what guide government efforts in
conserving historical artworks, giving public exposure to the works of
Filipino artists, and encouraging a new generation to explore and
invest in Filipino arts.
Today, art education has been integrated into the Basic
Education Curriculum under the Music, Arts, Physical Education, and
Health (MAPEH) subject, which receives 4 hours of instruction weekly
from Grades 1 to 10 (Department of Education 2012). In 2016, the
Department of Education introduced a specialized Arts Track for senior
high students under the K to 12 program with approximately 4,400
students nationwide as of 2017 (Geronimo 2016; Samodio 2017).
As future teachers in the field, it is important for you to be
fully convinced in your minds of the benefits of Art Education and
its presence in the curriculum. Often viewed as expendable by
curriculum designers due to its nature of self-expression, art
teachers must be fully aware that the benefits of art extend well
beyond simply "expressing oneself."
Beyond the obvious benefits of relaxing and enjoyable selfexpression, education in the arts has a number of non-artistic
benefits, such as the development of creativity-useful in any
subject area--and being open and receptive to new ideas-also
useful in any subject area. The Seneca Academy (2017) lists ten
benefits to having Art as part of school curriculum:
1. Working in the arts helps learners develop creative problem-solving
2. Teaching through the arts can present difficult concepts visually,
making them easier to understand.
3. Art instruction helps children with the development of motor skills,
language skills, social skills, decision-making, risk-taking, and
4. Visual arts teach learners about color, layout, perspective, and
balance: all techniques that are necessary in presentations (visual,
digital) of academic work.
5. Integrating art with other disciplines reaches students who might
not otherwise be engaged in classwork.
6. Arts experiences boost critical thinking, teaching students to take
the time to be more careful and thorough in how they observe the
7. The arts provide challenges for learners at all levels.
8. Art education connects students with their own culture as well as
with the wider world.
9. Young people who participate regularly in the arts (three hours a
day on three days each week through one full year) are four times
more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, to participate
in a Math and Science fair, or to win an award for writing an essay or
poem than children who do not participate
10. Greater arts education leads to fewer disciplinary infractions and
higher attendance, graduation rates, and test scores.
According to a 1993 study made by the Arts
Education Partnership Working Group, the many
benefits of a strong arts program in schools include
"intensified student motivation to learn, better school
attendance, increased graduation rates, improved
multicultural understanding, and the development of
higher-order thinking skills, creativity, and problemsolving abilities."
These findings are further echoed by Burton, Horowitz,
and Abeles (1999) and by Bamford and Wimmer (2012), where
they argue that learning "in the arts" (i.e., learning how to
draw, paint, sculpt, etc.) can increase skills, such as
exploring, imagining, observing, and reflecting. They also
argue that learning "through the arts" (i.e., using artistic
activities in learning nonartistic concepts and skills) makes a
range of other subject areas more attractive. Examples given
are greater use of visualization, enhanced motivation,
increased attentiveness, and improved reflection and
These findings and more prompt us to believe
that the value of art in the curriculum does not lie
solely in its skills and knowledge that are directly
transferable and applicable in other subjects, but in
all skills, from all subjects that are applied broadly
everywhere. Thus, no subject has priority over any
other subject, and so "to diminish one is to diminish
all" (Burton, Horowitz, and Abeles 1999).
Art educators in the
country face an uphill battle
educational system and its
resources--often not in favor
of the arts. However, there are
education in the Philippines,
some of which are much
closer to the classroom.
Several are discussed here.
The issues discussed
hereunder deal with the
attitudes and mindsets of the
various participants in art
teaching of art in schools.
perspective, which in turn
affect policy, which then
affect practice. Four broad
here: Teacher Issues, Art as
a Subject, Student Discipline,
and Art as a Luxury:
1. Teacher Issues
Perhaps the biggest, most immediate issue when it
comes to art educators is the lack of good training.
Teachers by training are specialists, but upon being
deployed in the field- often due to economic reasons
they are often called upon to teach subjects outside their
specialization, leading to half-baked ("hilaw") teaching.
Anecdotal evidence abounds teachers who had to teach
art despite of having zero training and even zero
exposure to art activities since childhood.
2. Art as a Subject
Perhaps because of its initial, utilitarian roots as
"drawing," art in the curriculum is still often viewed as a
"subject" rather than an avenue for self-expression. This
results in a teaching of art that is overly academic,
focusing on facts about art rather than on the practice
and creation of art. When coupled with a lack of adequate
teacher training, this encourages a sterile, static view of
art that is only considered "legitimate" if it is comparable
to the work of the "masters," i.e., museum-standard
something that simply cannot be achieved by children in
the early grades.
3.Student Discipline
Stemming from a utilitarian view of art, many
students struggle with motivation issues due to
an unnecessarily vicious cycle of criticism from
family, peers, and ill-equipped teachers, thereby
limiting their willingness to invest the hours
needed to master the skills needed to create art.
Another issue noted by many teachers is the
lack of student respect toward art materials.
Wastefulness, neglecting to store materials
properly, and the lack of a general sense of order
and cleanliness both while and after working are
all sources of great frustration for art educators
4. Art as a Luxury
The popular public view on art in the country is
that it is a luxury--"Pangmayaman lang 'yan"nice to have, but nonessential to the average
working Filipino. Art is considered the privilege
of the elite-those who do not have to actually
work for a living and can therefore devote the
time, energy, and money needed to participate in
artistic endeavors.
Consequently, art is among the lowest subjects
in terms of priority when it comes to issues like
budget, time, resource allocation, etc.
The following are problems related to the
physical requirements for teaching art and their
availability. While a teacher in Mathematics might
need little more than chalk to teach his or her
subject, an art teacher requires quite a number of
materials, many of which can be expensive and
outside of school budget.
Due to lack of adequate support, art materials are
scarce in the average classroom, with art educators relying on
the students themselves to provide the necessary art supplies
the class requires.
Stemming from the elitist view of art, there is also a lack
of recognition of the alternative art materials that are available
in the immediate environment. This serves to only propagate
the perception that unless it is created with the so-called
"mainstream" art materials (e.g., acrylic/oil paints, charcoals,
pastels, etc. ), then it is not really art.
Related to the previous problem, many schools have
no dedicated space for art classes, let alone extracurricular
artistic pursuits.
Students must make do with regular classrooms illsuited for the purpose. As a result, some forms of artistic
expression simply cannot be explored, particularly those
that require more than one class meeting (e.g., painting on
canvas, sculpture carving, etc.), as they raise issues
concerning cleanup, storage, maintaining the integrity of
unfinished student work, and so on.
Related to the lack of student respect for art materials and
spaces, there is also a severe lack of awareness as to how to
manage and organize an art class in order to maximize learning
and ensure students' safety. This is especially important during art
activities that involve sharp objects, like carving and sculpture.
Usually, these skills are chalked up to common sense and,
thus, taken for granted. However, there is a need for such
management skills to be intentionally taught, as many students will
be experiencing handling and storing potentially dangerous tools
for the very first time in their lives.
The field is still beset by a number of
issues to be discussed later that make a career
in the field challenging, but at the same time
afford a great deal of satisfaction and
fulfillment for those educators who are able to
find solutions to them, no matter how large or
small the scale of the solution might be.
If possible, interview an older art teacher about the
challenges he or she faced in teaching art. Ask him or
her why he or she thought teaching art as a viable
career choice. What made him or her want to teach?
What things does he or she wish he or she could
have done better?
Discuss the following questions in groups and present a summary of your
discussion in class:
1. Reflect on your Art subject back in your elementary years. What was good
about it? What could have been better? Which issues among those discussed
above did you witness?
2. Did your being exposed to Art in your elementary and maybe high school
education influence your desire to pursue a career in Art Education today?
If yes, what was it about your early experiences with art that influenced you?
If no, what experiences outside of the art classroom inspired you to pursue Art
Education now?