Testimony: an open acknowledgment of truth, a formal written or spoken statement or declaration in support of a belief.
When I taught preservice classes at the University of North Texas, I required my students to each write and present a mission statement, a kind of testimony of their philosophy of art and art teaching. This was to be presented through a digital format of their choosing, such as animation, film, or other media arts. One purpose of this assignment was to provide meaningful and useful content for their digital portfolios they would present when applying for teaching positions.
One of the best ways to share your testimony to the value of art education is to get published. Here SchoolArts authors Ted Edinger, Jim Dodson, and Melody Weintraub pose with Nancy and their published articles at the Tennessee Art Education Association conference.
It was also a good exercise for organizing and solidifying their beliefs about the value of art and art education. Writing a mission statement also seems useful as an advocacy tool for currently teaching art educators.
SchoolArts Magazine has a mission statement you can find on our masthead: SchoolArts is a worldwide national magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for the community of educators in the visual arts.
To provide some examples, I asked our contributing editors (also listed in the masthead) to share some testimonies of their beliefs about the value of art education:
In terms of why art education is important, I feel that art education is important in order to teach students about being comfortable with ambiguity. When we work in the spaces in between, that’s when we get some real work done. Art education is also important in order to teach that multiple answers and multiple perspectives are somethings that are valued and necessary. —Joe Fusaro
Art Education involves all learners in the creative process. It is truly one of the best disciplines designed to assess student strengths and areas for improvement. By creating authentic art experiences with the 21st century learner in mind, it is able to contribute to college and career readiness. The key to success is to involve others, to build a community of support, to be passionate about what we do inside and outside of the classroom, and to bring others into our world of originally, creativity, and innovative arts programming. —Frank Juarez
In an era when imagery is becoming our most prominent means of disseminating information, and thinking and learning have received international recognition as “bridges to the future," the arts can be envisioned as central to the life-learning process, allowing individuals to develop as thinking, contributing members of the 21st century. Craig Roland Twenty-first-century learning requires a mindset that embraces cultural diversity, global engagement, and sustainability. The visual and performing arts provide opportunities for students to consider opinions and beliefs of others, to maneuver through an increasingly complex world, and to act upon preserving the planet for today and tomorrow. The arts define what it means to be an effective global citizen. —Pam Stephens
What’s your mission statement? If you have or write one, share it with your administrators, parents, other teachers, and students, and post it in your art room and online. It is an effective advocacy tool you will find useful in multiple ways. If you will send it to me, I will post it in the SchoolArtsRoom blog. firstname.lastname@example.org