Meeting the Challenges of University Arts Education
The collective stories within this paper address the ways in which arts teacher educators at the University of South Australia are meeting the challenges of preparing all levels of pre-service teacher-educators to participate as effective beginning practitioners in a constantly changing environment. The stories provide a model for discussion about ways of responding to current issues of an overcrowded curriculum and the changes in work practice and content knowledge which have emerged. Reference is made to a range of specific issues including connecting current arts education as practice to that of contemporary arts practice; the impact of professional associations; the advantage of close working networks that exist in our small state; the policies that encourage and recognise the associated roles that state departments have in scaffolding dynamic arts learning within and beyond the class context. The questions of what are The Arts and what is Arts Education are played out in the paper as it discusses the significant shifts caused by the shrinking number of colleagues who teach in such courses. The realistic challenge of how best to allocate limited time and resources for maximum benefit is evidenced in the decisions around the length of courses, balance of content, relation to practicum experiences, and the broader university expectations of graduates.
Keywords: Arts education, Teacher education
Prof. John Holmes
Associate Head of School, School of Education, University of South Australia