Helicopters and art education: a preflight guide for new teaching artists

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Title:
Helicopters and art education: a preflight guide for new teaching artists
Physical Description:
Project in lieu of thesis
Creator:
Coffman, BJ
Publisher:
College of Fine Arts, University of Florida
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla
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Notes

Abstract:
Although numerous studies exist that teaching artists can use to better their teaching (Saraniero, 2009; Upitis, 2006; Walker, 2001; Reeder, 2009; Hedberg et al, 2011), an approach is needed to address the complex issues that may arise in the transition from the studio to the classroom. This research relates how experts and professionals in different fields address pedagogical issues. My capstone project draws from research on teaching artists, my experiences as a photographer, and my knowledge as a helicopter instructor pilot to offer advice to artists who wish to teach. Specifically, I explore how Naval Flight Training uses professional pilots to teach students rules, regulations, systems, aerodynamics, and other subjects in a highly regimented curriculum. I use the aviation terms of pre-flight, flight, and post-flight as metaphors for teaching art to develop a guide for artists. In the guide, I provide three sample art modules to serve as an outline for new teaching artists when preparing for their first teaching experiences.
General Note:
Art Education terminal project

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University of Florida Institutional Repository
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University of Florida
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All rights reserved by the submitter.
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AA00013397:00001


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HELICOPTERS AND ART EDUCATION : A PRE FLIGHT GUIDE FOR NEW TEACHING ARTISTS By BJ COFFMAN A CAPSTONE PROJECT PRESENTED TO THE COLLEGE OF FINE ARTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2012

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Summary of Capstone Project Presented to the College of Fine Arts of the University of Florida In Partial Fulfillment of the R equirements for the Degree of Master of Arts HELICOPTERS AND ART EDUCATION : A PRE FLIGHT GUIDE FOR NEW TEACHING ARTISTS By BJ Coffman December 2012 Chair: Michelle Tillander Committee Member: Jodi Kushins Major: Art Education Abstract Although num erous studies exist that teaching artists can use to better their teaching (Saraniero, 2009; Upitis, 2006; Walker, 2001; Reeder, 2009; Hedberg et al, 2011), a n approach is needed to address the complex issues that may arise in the tra nsition from the studio to the classroom. Th is research relates how experts and professionals in different fields address pedagogical issues. My capstone project draws from research on teaching artists, my experiences as a photographer, and my knowledge as a helicopter instructor pilot to offer advice to artists who wish to teach. Specifically, I explore how Naval Flight Training uses professional pilots to teach students rules, regulations, systems, aerodynamics, and other subjects in a highly regimented c urriculum I use the aviation terms of pre flight, flight, and post flight as metaphors for teaching art to develop a guide for artists In the guide I provide three sample art modules to serve as an outline for new teaching artists when preparing for the ir first teaching experiences

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3 Table of Contents Title Page ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 1 UF Summary Page ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 2 Abstract ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 2 Table of Contents Page ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 3 Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................ 5 Statement of the Problem ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 5 Research Questions ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ 4 Purpose of the Study ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................. 6 Significance of the Study ................................ ................................ ................................ ...................... 6 Limitations of the Study ................................ ................................ ................................ ....................... 7 Literature Review ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 8 Training ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ...................... 9 Resources ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 10 Partnerships ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 10 Methodology ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... 11 Limitations ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 14 Findings/Discoveries ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 1 4 The Scope of the Guide ................................ ................................ ................................ ....................... 1 6 The Benefits to Students ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 16 Final Reflection ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 1 7

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4 References ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................. 1 8 List of Figures ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ....................... 20 Author Biography ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 21

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5 Connecting helicopter instruction to art education may not seem congruent but when you compare how experts in each of these fields teach, there is no denying that we face some of the same challenges. With little to no background in formal education practic es, experts and professionals tend to rely on how they were taught and how they learned instead of what is best for the student (Saraniero, 2009). At the same time, t instructor then, is dependent on their personal history with education and the amount of formal training they receive. To help alleviate this issue, the intent of this Capstone is to provide a model for artists with minimum education background to transition from being an expert in their field to being a successful and prepared educator. Statement of the Research Problem This Capstone project offeres a framework to ai d teaching artists who are transitioning to an educational environment for the first time. It is based on my experiences as an instructor pilot, my formal studies in education and my experience as an artist. While resources and training exists for teachin g artists to gain requisite experience before entering the classroom, the preparation is often short and focused on administrative and curriculum issues. While pedagogy, preparation, and experience are important, it is only part of the skill set teaching a rtists ne ed and this project is intended to help highlight and explain these issues in a useful way. This Capstone resulted in an educators guide in PDF format that is published on my website and at www.issuu.com/bj.coffman. Research Questions The resear ch questions that drive this project include the following:

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6 What should teaching artists know about education and the classroom environment before they enter the classroom? How can art professionals who do not have a background in education become successful teachers? What can teaching artists learn from how other trades who use professionals and experts a s teachers? Purpose of the Study These questions come from my research on existin g studies on teaching artist s that address issues among teaching artists classroom teachers and administrators (Coffman, 2012) These studies address the fact that no formalized path exist s from being an artist to becoming a teaching artist Schools are increasingly using teaching artists to supplement their art curriculum but these artists are given little in terms of what to expect in the classroom, how to create a lesson plans, and the culture of the learning environment. T his guide merges my experienc e as a helicopter instructor pilot and as a photographer and was designed to help navigate the art educational environment and aid new teaching artists as they enter the classroom. Significance of the Study As a helicopter instructor pilot, I am an expert and professional in my field. disparate learning needs. Teaching artist s face similar issues concerning their training and resources about how to become a successful teac hing artists and research sh ows that most of the issues with using teaching artists in the classroom center around their lack of formal instructional education (Hunt, Sanson, & Smerdon, 2009). These teaching artists rely on

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7 how they were taught to inform t heir teaching and although this may or may not be a successful strategy, teaching artists are often not given specific training in classroom management and student needs (Saraniero, 2009). The amount of training and lack of formalized training becomes prob lematic when TAs enter the classroom because educators may not know their experience and skills with students. Although numerous studies and reports exist (Saraniero, 2009; Upitis, 2006; Walker, 2001; Reeder, 2009; Hedberg et al, 2011) that teaching artist s can use to better understand their new role, this guide address es the complex issues that may arise in the transition from the studio to the classroom. The research is significant by relating how experts and professionals in different fields (aviation an d art) address pedagogical issues. It brings together insights from art and aviation to supplement the lack of formal training for experts and professionals who teach. The lessons I have learned when forming how I teach as a professional pilot are develope d and shared in this guide to serve professionals who are new to teaching in any field and is not limited to artists. Limitations of the Study There are numerous studies of teaching artists and how they relate to contemporary art education. This Capstone project is not intended to be comprehensive in its scope, but is limited to my experience as an instructor pilot and informed by the courses I have taken as teachers, this Capstone does not look at these professions or how they incorporate professionals into education.

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8 Literature Review The history of teaching art can be traced back thousands of years, and over time, art has been taught by craftsmen, artisans, through apprenticeships, and in the academies. Formal art education, though, has only existed in the classroom for a century and the relationship between education and the arts is relatively new considering the historical methods of teaching art such as apprentice ships, mentorships, and art academies. Institutions began to offer degrees in art education in the mid 19 th century, focusing on pedagogical practices, theory, and classroom management (Daichendt, 2009). Since formalizing the field of art education in univ ersities, art educators have been one of the most influential sources of teaching students about art. Due to diminishing sources of state and federal funding in public schools, and the resulting refocusing of education resources on science, technology, en gineering, and mathematics (STEM) some districts have marginalized or cut the art education programs they once offered (Hedberg Rabkin, Reynolds, & Shelby 2011). As a result, a typically underutilized resource has emerged to fill the void in funding in th e form of teaching artists. These professional artists make a living by making and selling their art while teaching in schools, communities, museums, and other settings. Their courses run for various lengths of time depending on the need of the organizat ion. While most teaching artists have advanced degrees in art, they often lack a formal education in teaching. Despite this fact, they are becoming more prevalent in school systems and are, in most cases, an asset to the schools and students they teach. T eaching artists are often seen as outsiders and feel isolated from mainstream education because they do not have the same education in teaching as their classroom

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9 counterpar ts (Upitis, 2006). There has been only a small amount of information collected abou t who they are, why they teach, and the impact their presence has on art education. Eric Booth created the Teaching Artist Journal in 2003 to share information related to this field. Along with this journal, several other web sites have emerged to help peo ple learn about becoming a teaching artist and to aid them in networking, offering professional development, and finding teaching opportunities (e.g., http://www.arts.gov/ http://www.teachingartists.com/ http://www.teachingartonline.com/ and http://www.nyfa.org/ ). Despite th ese resources, the relative amount of information for teaching artists is still minimal and incomplete becau se teaching artists have been a relatively underused resource in the past decades. The research available focuses on three major issues within the f ield. The first issue is about the issue of resources and the current research highlights issues teaching artists face regarding physical space, time constraints, funding, and networks. Training of teaching artists was also an important issue brought up through out the research because they are often not required to have formal credentials or a teaching background to teach. Also, most teaching artists receive training in teaching by learning on th e job or merely mirroring how they were taught. The third and last issue most frequently addressed was the role of partnerships with teachers, schools, communities, administrators, and funding sources. This highlights the need to create and mature partners hips with schools, administrators, teachers, and fellow teaching artists. Resources Resources are a main concern for teaching artists and encompass several different issues. While time and space are tangible concerns, monetary issues also play an important

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10 role in how teaching artists are used. Many districts have been cutting funding for the arts, and funding for teaching artists often comes from grants and non profits taking the fiduciary responsibility for incorporating the arts in school districts (Grah am, 2009). Although sources for funding teaching artists in the schools varies between districts and regions, the research does not focus on where the funding comes from and how to obtain it, but rather offers a cursory overview of the issues regarding fun ding teaching artists. Accordingly, more studies are needed to ascertain how districts fund and incorporate teaching artists into their curriculum. Training The role of teaching artists has changed over time yet art education was not formalized until recently. Daichendt (2009) gives an overview of how teaching art changed and asserts George Wallis was the first person to identify both as an artist and a teache r of to opening dialogues and discussions on how to create, what to create, and the meaning of creation. Though this created controversy at the time, universit ies began to offer courses on teaching art and the old pedagogies shifted to the craft of teaching not just the craft of art making. As artists reemerge in the classroom, their role in the classroom highlights some concerns regarding their training as educ ators. Saraniero (2004) argues that teaching artists have myriad of paths to teaching and different districts have different requirements regarding their training Partnerships Arguably, the most important theme to emerge in this research was forming art education partnerships. In order for teaching artists to be used effectively, strong alliances

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11 need to be made across communities, schools, and teaching artists need opportunities to t integrating teaching artists in schools and the results clearly indicated that the overall scores in all subjects rose when art was an integral part of the curriculum. With empirical evidence from disparate sources highlighting the importance of art in t he classroom and for arts in education by showing the how arts are used in everyday life and bringing a level of expertise to the classroom. Whereas the literatur e on teaching artists is minimal, it is even more difficult to find literature on professionals who teach such as pilots, professors, and tradesmen There are many professionals and experts who in teaching positions, but little research has been completed into how successful they are, where they are used, and the amount of education training they have received. With teaching and learning being such integral parts of our society further research needs to develop an approach to assist professionals, such as a rtists, on how to integrate pedagogy with their current professional practices. Methodology I created a guide ( www.issuu.com/bj.coffman ) for this study which can also be accessed from my website (www.warehouse514.com) The guide begins by giving the reader and introduction to my experience and then exploring the history of teaching artists and the history of art education (See Fig. 1). Then I laid out the syllabus and training flow for Naval fligh t students in the advanced stage of helicopter training. Using the syllabus for flight instruction as a starting point and metaphor I refer to as preflight, flight, and post flight. Each section has objectives for students as well as teaching artists.

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12 The preflight phase for the students and lays out the foundation of knowledge students will be expected to know before the teaching artist enters the classroom. This module focuses on technical knowledge, historiography of photography, and communication skills to prepare students for the lesson. The preflight module for the artist focuses on their preparation and includes a pre arrival syllabus. The module begins with visiting the classroom to g et to know the culture of the school and the students, becoming familiar with National Art Education Standards and assessing the level of knowledge students have regarding photography. This module focuses on the teacher becoming prepared for the environment they are about to enter so they can understand, prepare, and alter their lessons as necessary. The flight module (see Fig. 2) proposes what the teaching artist will do in the classroom and incorporates a curriculum, project ideas, and a guide for what the teaching artists hopes to accomplish during their tenure. The flight module includes lesson plans, objectives, and activities for in the classroom. The flight module also incorporates where Figure 1 Table of contents and introduction to the guid e.

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13 lectures, critiques, and demonstrations take place to get the students involved in making art and exploring ideas. The post flight module (see Fig. 3) includes assessment, goals, and evaluation. While assessment is clearly the responsibility of the classroom teacher who is ultimately Figure 2 Flight Modules. Sample learning modules 1 and 2 from the guide. Figure 3 Post Flight pages.

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14 responsible for grading student performance we, as teaching artists should realize the importance of assessment in determining whether or not the goals o f the lessons were met. Another part of the assessment module is feedback and critique of and for the instructor so that changes can be made to the syllabus de pendent on what worked well and what did not. Limitations The limitations of this project include basing the guide on my experiences with Naval flight students in a strictly regimented training syllabus and using that as a template for a disparate set of students in a different learning environment. The Capstone is also limited in that it only uses There are many other professions that have not been considered. Findings/Discoveries The goal of this research project was to create a guide for artist to use when entering an educational envi ronment for the first time. My research on teaching artist s coupled with my experiences as a flight instructor, highlight issues experts and professionals face as new teachers. As more opportunities become available for artists to enter classrooms, the ne abilities, and classroom management is important, and this guide is to serve as a starting point for understanding the learning environment. The typical model used in flight training, where it is often accepted that the expert knows best, is not necessarily the most effective approach to teaching. This results based method relies too heavily on moving the student along the syllabus and not on the ir capabilities It is often forgotten that al l students learn differently and have individual

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15 learning needs. In this flight program, however, their needs are often neglected due to organizational needs. This singular focus on results can create a divide between experts and professionals and the stud ents they teach. As a result, this guide was created to help show the differences in learning styles, aptitudes, and performance of the students and how we, as professionals, can better prepare ourselves to teach to every student. As I was creating this gu ide, the need for experts and professionals to gain professional knowledge of education practices became evident. In my field of flight instruction, students often struggle with the course material or their ability to fly. Naval aviation is a serious busin ess and requires a unique set of aptitudes and abilities to graduate. As a product of this system and as an instructor within it, I have discovered that some of the same educational issues apply to teaching artists. We are experts in our fields but not exp ert conduits of information. To serve our students better and to address their specific learning needs, even within this rigid learning environment, knowledge of pedagogical practices and techniques are important to impart information dependent on the stud ent. The flight syllabus contains specific objectives and assessments and I have realized that students abilities to communicate their knowledge. One of the biggest mistakes, I think, we make as experts is to not think like students. We think linearly in terms of what we have learned over time. Students do not have the advantage of time and rely on their instructors to help them understand and use their knowledge in a productive way. Acco rdingly, my biggest discovery while developing this guide was to take a step back, understand where the student is developmentally, and provide a learning environment in the cockpit based on their abilities. In doing so, I can

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16 intervene early to address de ficiencies, set appropriate goals, and set my students on a path of success. The Scope of the Guide While writing this guide, I examined my role as an instructor pilot and the lack of training we receive as instructor pilots. Often, due to the lack of peda gogical training, we, as instructor pilots, often reverted to teaching how we were taught. This teaching style can be good or bad depending on our previous teachers but it often leaves out important strategies for effective instruction. Writing this guide also led me to dig deeper into the flight instruction curriculum. This curriculum is comprehensive in scope to leverage the differences in instructors by clearly articulating a set of objectives and assessment rubrics to ensure the fair grading of students Similar to the rubrics used in art education, the rubrics create a clear agenda for the student and the instructors. Without this specific agenda for both the instructors and the students, their training would be less standardized and merely dependent on those who assessed them. Hence, effective instruction is dependent on a comprehensive curriculum. The Benefits to Students This guides lays out forming a learning plan based on three principles of aviation, preflight, flight, and post flight, to serve as a template for experts and professionals new to teaching. While little research exists on professionals and experts who teach, my experience as a flight instructor suggests there is a large disparity between how each of us teach es I believe this disparit y is useful in that students learn a range of techniques and styles

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17 necessary for a comprehensive education. However, when the differences focus on often occur To allevi ate this disconnect, we, as experts and professionals, must be able to modify our teaching to fit the student, not the other way around. Final Reflection The research I conducted on teaching artists shows a growing need for artists in the classroom as well as deficiencies in their training My intent with this guide and research was not to show how to teach or what to teach, but to give ideas and include examples of how I would create a plan based on what I have learned as an instructor pilot to ser ve my students the best way I know how. The first step in this process is to implement it and test it in a learning environment. In my area there are local schools, museums, and studios that can be used as settings to test out this guide and its curriculum The next step affects my current job as a flight instructor. While this guide moves from flight instruction to art, it could also be inverted to show flight instructors how art education can help them become more effective instructors. Creating another g uide just for instructor pilots could open doors to their understanding of education pedagogy. The final step, and one that will take some time, is to continue research on experts and professionals who teach. There are scores of trades who use their employ ees as educators in diverse environments Finding out where, how, and when they are used is important so that we might be able to give these experts and p rofessionals tools to benefit them and their students.

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18 References Coffman, B. J. (2012). Helicopters and a rt e ducation: A p reflight guide for n ew t eaching a rtists (unpublished research paper). University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida. Daichendt, G. J. (2009). Redefining the artist teacher. Art Education 62 (5), 33 38. Flynn, R. M. 2009). Teaching a rtists leading professional development for teachers: What teaching artist say they need. Teaching Artist Journal 7 (3), 165 174. Fogg, T. L., & Smith, M. (2001). The artists in the classroom project: A closer look. The Educational Forum 66 (1), 60 70. Graham, M. A. (2009). How the teaching artist can change the dynamics of teaching and learning. Teaching Artist Journal 7 (2), 85 94. Hedberg, E., Rabkin, N., Reynolds, M., & Shelby, J. (2011). Teaching artist and the future of education. Report on the Tea ching Artists Research Project Retrieved from http://www.norc.org/PDFs/TARP%20Findings/Teaching_Artists_Research_Project _Final_Report_%209 14 11.pdf Hunt, M., Sansom, A., & Smerdon, L. (2004). International teaching artists: Beginning the overseas dialog ue. Teaching Artist Journal 2 (4), 227 233. Lodico, M. G., Spaudling, D. T., and Voegtle, K. H. (Eds.). (2006). Introduction to educational research. In M. Lodico, D. Spaulding, and K. Voegtle (Eds.), Methods in Educational Research: From Theory to Practic e (pp. 1 21). San Fransisco, CA: Jossey Bass. Reeder, L. (2009). Hurry up and wait: A national scan of teaching artist research and professional development. Teaching Artist Journal 7 (1), 14 22. Saraniero, P. (2009). Training and preparation of teaching a rtists. Teaching Artist Journal 7 (4), 236 243.

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19 Saraniero, P. (2004). In my opinion: Teaching artists as leaders: What is missing in arts organizations. Teaching Artist Journal 2 (3), 177 179. Upitis, R. (2006). Challenges for artists and teachers working in partnership. In P. Burnard & S. Hennessy (Eds.), Reflective Practice in Arts Education (pp. 55 66). Netherlands: Springer. Walker, H. (2001). Interviewing local artists: A curriculum resource in art teaching. Studies in Art Education 42 (3), 249 265.

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20 List of Figures Figure 1 Introduction and flight school history pages from PDF ................................ ..................... 10 Figure 2 Sample Modules on photograms and pinhole cameras ................................ ...................... 11 Figure 3 Sample assessment rubric ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 12

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21 Author Biography BJ Coffman was born in New Mexico and grew up in a military family. They moved every couple of years and he has lived in the Philippines, across the United States, and in Italy. He graduated high school from Naples, Italy in 1994 and attended New Mexico St ate University for photography and art history. A few years after graduating in 2000, he joined the Coast Guard and became a Search and Rescue Pilot in Miami, FL before becoming an Instructor Pilot for Naval Flight School He has continually pursued his lo ve of art and film while in the Coast Guard and briefly attended the University of Miami for Film Studies before enrolling in the University and teaching with flying. After this program, he plans to continue his education as an art educator and eventually found his own art school.