Lindsey Jensen and Faculty Mentor: Tara Carpenter, Art Education
Tara Carpenter and I traveled to Portland and led a discussion with about 50 people at the National Ceramic Education Association. We researched the trend of unskilled ceramic artwork that has been happening in the art world lately. Conceptual work that is done by someone who has no real knowledge of ceramics is more prevalent in galleries than skilled ceramic art. Ceramics is in a weird place between art and craft and often times schools get caught in the middle. We e-mailed and interviewed 30 teachers on their opinions of this topic as well as how they incorporate conceptual art in their classrooms. We then led a discussion on this divide between conceptual art and skill based art that is happening in the school systems.
The best part of this experience was reaching out to teachers and learning about their experiences and how they work in the classroom. This happened while we were gathering research and also as we were leading the discussion. It was really amazing to be in front of a group of teachers and hear their ideas and opinions on the topics that we had researched. It was also really cool to hear what they were doing in their classrooms and how they build communities out of their classrooms.
I had a crazy semester, so I didn’t put as much into it as I could have if so much wasn’t going on. I was the president of the NAEA Student Chapter and we won student chapter of the year, so we presented in New York this spring and I was also student teaching so things got a little crazy. I wish I had applied earlier, say last year and could have put more time into the project.
My mentor pretty much became my school mom. Not only did I learn a lot more about teaching and was able to meet people across the country, it created a life long relationship. I think it also helped me become a better teacher. Our discussion ended up focusing on building a classroom culture and how knowing your students is the key to being able to incorporate conceptual art. I learned a lot from everyone in the room and it helped me better understand that there are more factors in teaching than just ideas.
Thank you so much for making this possible! I learned so much from both the research and also the discussion we led. Being able to go to the conference in Portland allowed me to attend workshops on both teaching and how to be a better ceramicist. I also met many wonderful artists and even got a critique of my artwork from one of them. I was able to learn how to be a better artist and teacher and also connected to the ceramics community all across the country. This experience helped me build confidence and led to changes in my curriculum as I was student teaching. My assignments became more student based which allowed the students to explore their ideas and feelings through contemporary art. The conference taught me how to be sensitive to my students needs so that they are comfortable enough to explore the gritty parts of life.