Art teachers get studio time and professional development at workshop

June 17, 2019 | UHCL Staff

Local art teachers get studio time and professional development credit at workshop

During the summer, public school teachers are often expected to find professional development classes to maintain their certification. Finding these classes is generally easy for core curriculum teachers, but David Moya, director of University of Houston-Clear Lake’s Art School for Children, said that art educators and administrators in the area frequently can’t find professional development classes specifically targeting art. That’s why UH-Clear Lake’s Art School for Children offered a professional workshop for early childhood-12th grade art educators. A positive response from area teachers was immediate.

“The class filled up so quickly I had to double the initial offering,” Moya said. “We had 24 art teachers enroll in this 3½-day workshop – taught by (Lecturer of Art and Design) Lauren Yandell and (Assistant Professor of Art and Design) Lauren Kussro – that doesn’t focus on lesson plans. It’s about letting art teachers be creative and express their own ideas in a studio setting, and then use what they learn and take it to the classroom. This is their time to focus on themselves as artists, not as teachers.”

“I was really excited about this opportunity,” said Krista Nix-Buckner, an art teacher at Katy High School in Katy Independent School District. “The previous professional development courses I’ve taken weren’t about art. Our school district does offer a few, but we rarely get an opportunity to work in a studio like here at UHCL. Working in a studio and having faculty here is priceless.”

She added that most art teachers have been exposed to studio work when they were undergraduate students. “Now we’ve all been in the classroom for a while and it brings up different questions than when we were on the student end of things ourselves,” she said. “This has been a great opportunity to pick the brains of faculty here.”

The workshop offered sessions in printmaking, taught by Kussro, and oil painting with Yandell. Nix-Buckner, who was cutting linoleum block for relief printing, said she was getting an opportunity to try new tools she was considering purchasing for her students. “It’s a higher quality tool, and I’m trying them out. This is awesome,” she said.

“The premise of this class is to just try different printmaking techniques that we never get to try in the classroom. One of the reasons I was interested in this class was to learn more about screen printing and dry point. I’m also attracted to the oil painting session,” she said. “I have seen some of these things demonstrated, but never gotten a chance to try it hands-on.”

She added that another unique part of this workshop is getting to see these facilities. “I have advanced students who are interested in college art programs, and now I can tell them UHCL has a great studio space,” she said. “And you can tell, both of these professors really know what they’re doing.”

“For these teachers, this is a chance to enjoy some studio time,” Kussro said. “Every art teacher feels an inability to focus on their own work. This is their time to just take a breath and make art — like an art retreat.”

Nix-Buckner said that so much professional development seemed to be tailored to technology. “Art is like a vocational class in that it’s very hands-on. Before you teach it, you have to have done it so you can anticipate what students need. This experience has been great.”

Find out more about UHCL’s Art for Educators.  

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