Art Education as Indicator of Change

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with Anne-Susanna Lindström

The study of contemporary Nordic and Baltic visual education from the perspective of curriculum studies, aesthetic education, and art teacher training.

What we perceived from Anne's lecture was that her and the Estonian Academy of Arts would like to figure out and compare differences between Finnish and Estonian art even though both educational programs are very similar.

Through the 50's on up through the 90's, Finland was known to having art teachers teaching art 1st through 5th grade, and then after that the students were allowed to choose if they wanted to continue taking art classes until the 9th grade. Estonia differed in that the students were required to study art non-stop through the 9th grade. The Soviet Union had much to do with the division of art education standards between Estonia and Finland. When they took over Estonia, Finland kept its independence, and the Soviets started to unify their school standards and system throughout their federation; meaning that Estonia was now a part of this federation, which by the 1970's was emphasized by the German Labor School ideology.

As with every new act, there are positives and negatives. By the 80's the integrated curriculum of arts and crafts became permanent in Estonian elementary schools. However, by the 90's they abandoned that integration of arts and crafts and to this day they are implementing new curriculum. As for the Finnish, their curriculum remained independent throughout the 90's. Being that Estonia was more teacher-centered, and Finland was more student-centered, the Estonia Art Education curriculum was written rather normatively rather then the Finnish curriculum, which was rather a frame of principles. One outcome of these standards was the style of implementation of art classes for each system; Estonia art classes being obligatory until the end of high school, and Finland's being optional.

Up until now, the role of the teacher and student have not differed much for Estonia, but currently they are undergoing change. Studies show that they are less teacher-centered and more student-centered, and the new curriculum is less formative and gives teachers more options to adjust. It has gone from techniques-oriented to content-centered, and requires more thinking and understanding. These new standards help the student understand and learn by doing, and they are now using art as a method to think.

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This page contains a single entry by mill3600 published on May 10, 2011 6:23 PM.

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