I was happy to see that the WAEA conference theme of “art connects us” helped to represent the work of many art educators from higher education who use art not only to discuss how different interpretations are filtered through diverse ways of knowing, but also to highlight the ways in which they collaborate with others in their projects. Such presentations as Dr. Laura Trafi-Prats’ “Transactional Art Pedagogies: The Role of Play and Collaboration in Fostering Higher Thinking Skills and Authentic Learning,” and Mr. Jacobo Lovo and Dr. Kim Cosier’s “Milwaukee Visionaries Project: Exploring Youth Led Stories of Urban Life” focused on collaboration among art educators to facilitate art production among children through the exploration of materials and in relation to personal or cultural narratives. They teach youth that art has many purposes including for protest, cultural justice, and social equity; play; and interdisciplinary understandings.
Furthermore, WAEA partnered with different community resources to present Saturday workshops for the first time. These community resources included the John Michael Kohler Arts Center (JMKAC), Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD), and the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee (UWM). Each venue allowed participants to work with artists and have a sustained amount of time to explore different processes and materials to produce works, including an animated storybook, a colorful aluminum anodized bracelet, and a pressure print. The use of community resources introduces participants to a larger variety of artistic practices that construct the identity of any cultural location through its offerings.
Fig 1. Frankie Flood Leading Dyeing Metals: Aluminum Anodized Bracelets at UWM
Fig. 2. Jessica Meunick-Ganger Leading Pressure Printing at UWM
I was involved in organizing and participating on a panel discussion called “Forging Ahead with the edTPA,” with higher education colleagues Marcia Thompson from the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse; Dr. Laura Trafi-Prats, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee; Elizabeth Rex, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and Dr. Tami Weiss from the University of Wisconsin, Stout. The multiple perspective two-part session represented the three parts of the edTPA examination, including planning, instructing, and assessing, and its five components, including planning instruction, assessing, analyzing teaching, and academic language use. The panel focused on how all the parts are aligned through a constructivist approach to curriculum design using scaffolded activities and on how higher educators and cooperating teachers can advise teacher candidates on the examination. Participants discussed their challenges and successes in implementing the examination through their courses and audience members contributed their knowledge as well.