Friday, July 4, 2008

andDESIGN

This online magazine is called andDESIGN because, when I was the State Art Consultant for the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, we did a simple thing that had a tremendous impact - we added the words "and Design" to the State Academic Standards wherever "Art" appeared. It was amazing how this changed the conversation around visual learning. All of a sudden, a Standard about art history, for example, now said "Art and Design History". This opened up whole new areas of investigation in visual learning and became a national model for "Art" education standards.

Schools that changed the name of their Art programs to Art and Design have found much greater enthusiasm from parents, students, administrators, and community members. They have experienced increased budgets, time allocations, and additional teachers for their programs. One high school with only one art teacher added "... and Design" and within a year, to meet enrollment needs, were given another teaching position and within 4 years not only had two design teachers but now had an additional traditional art teacher as well - from 1 to 4 teachers - a 400 percent growth in the program.

I encourage you to try this experiment. Whatever you teach, add the words "and Design" after it. For example, in addition to "Art and Design Education" try "Technology and Design Education", "Computer Science and Design Education", "Geometry and Design", "Media Literacy and Design". You will be amazed, as I was, how this changes and enriches the conversation among students, parents, and administrators.

Imagine how it would change public perception of the art teaching profession if the national organization was called "The National Art and Design Education Association". How about "The International Technology and Design Education Association"? How about "Student Technology and Design Association"? What would happen if the name of your state organization added "...and Design"? I think, as others have found over the past 10 years, you will have a lot more fun and will have much livelier appreciation for your programs simply by adding the words "... and Design".

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