Art Teacher Professional Development – 2024 Guide

Published On: December 26th, 2023·By ·

Art teacher professional development allows educators to expand their skills and techniques and learn new approaches in the classroom. In addition, by participating in programs specifically tailored towards art education, teachers ensure they are helping their students achieve excellence according to the latest educational standards and goals.  

Art has an unfortunate history of being considered a luxury in education. However, there is a growing understanding that art develops essential skills such as creative problem-solving, decision-making, and inventiveness. It also helps students improve their motor, language, and social skills.  

The interdisciplinary value of art is why the conversation around STEM education is shifting towards STEAM. Art enhances students' minds and brings flexibility to thinking, which is essential to innovation. 

We've crafted our art teacher professional development guide for educators seeking to enhance their success in the classroom, expand their art education resources, and ensure they are up to date with the latest changes in the educational system.

professional teacher teaching in class

What Is Professional Development for Art Teachers?

Art teacher professional development courses keep educators abreast of the ongoing changes in the educational landscape on the state and national levels. 

Champions for the arts have long argued that art education raises student academic success in all areas. However, unlike math and science, it is difficult to provide the value of art education in hard data. 

In November 2022, a study on 42 elementary and middle schools was released. It provided data demonstrating that students with access to quality art education reduced disciplinary infractions while raising students' writing achievement, engagement in the classroom, emotional and cognitive empathy, and college aspirations.

Consequently, mainstream education and business insiders are beginning to understand the value of innovative and creative thinking cultivated through art. In addition, there is a broadening awareness that art must be integrated into all other subjects, especially the traditional STEM disciplines. 

In short, the US education system now needs art teachers to be leaders. They must help encourage and increase student participation in the arts while assisting their colleagues in integrating art into their lesson plans. 

Arts professional development empowers teachers with leadership skills while helping them grow in their ability to connect with students and make an impactful difference.  

Benefits of Art Teacher Professional Development

The benefits of participating in art teacher professional development courses are numerous. Four of the many benefits include:

  • Expand your art knowledge base.
  • Boost confidence and credibility. 
  • Increase your earning potential and hire ability.
  • Create networking opportunities. 

Professional Development Resources for Art Teachers

There are numerous ways to access art education resources to enhance professional development. Options include:

  • Courses.
  • Seminars and conferences.
  • Workshops.
  • Summer camps.

Choosing between the various professional development resources depends on the grade level you teach, the location of your school, your school district's educational philosophy, and personal circumstances. 

In-person courses and experience can be valuable. However, for art teachers who need maximum flexibility, some excellent online resources are available that enhance skills, art knowledge, and techniques while providing avenues to expand your network. 

Art Courses

Art teacher professional development has various aims, including broadening art knowledge, adding new skills and teaching strategies, introducing new online teaching tools, and providing guidance on how art integrates with other STEAM subjects. 

SimpleK12 provides many online courses for educators to enhance their professional development. Depending on the course, they take 30 or 60 minutes to complete. Topics include:

Art Seminars and Conferences

Attending seminars and conferences can be an excellent way to network while learning about the latest technology and tools and hear current educational philosophies and where curriculums are heading. 

However, not everyone has the time or means to attend in-person seminars and conferences. SimpleK12 provides webinars that allow art teachers to listen in when and where their hectic schedule allows. 

Art Teacher Workshops

Workshops provide art teachers with a hands-on opportunity to try out and discuss new techniques and strategies. The collaborative environment provides space to share challenges and discuss creative solutions. 

SimpleK12 has a special online workshop series broken down into 60-minute sessions for those who can't attend in-person training. Topics include:

  • Blending Your Way to Personalized Learning.
  • Getting Student to Own Their Learning.
  • Inclusive Learning.

Art Summer Camps

Summer camps seek out art teachers to enhance the children's experience. These jobs not only provide extra income but also new experiences. There is space to try fresh ideas and use different tools and techniques. A new setting can also change perspective and inspire. It's also an opportunity to work with kids in a less stressful and more carefree environment. 

Other Ways To Develop Your Art Skills

Art teachers must meet their state professional development guidelines. However, these avenues are not the only way an art teacher can enhance their knowledge and spark their imaginations. 

Other methods to develop your art skills include:

  • Visiting art exhibitions and galleries. Seeing art in person is a unique experience that cannot be replicated. However, many exhibitions and galleries have virtual tours for those with limited access, so you don't miss out.  
  • Teacher in-service: School districts often provide opportunities to upgrade training or receive coaching in particular educational areas. 
  • Read books on arts and artists: Books can be expensive, so don't hesitate to visit the local library. In addition, many libraries, including Houston Public Library and Monroe County Library System in New York, have non-resident programs where you can check out ebooks no matter where you live in the country. 
  • Join groups to connect with artists and art lovers: Artists and art lovers have clubs just like bookworms. But if you can't find one in your local community, check out online options.  
  • Take an art class you've never tried before: Art classes are an excellent way to meet new people while expanding your creativity. There are also many online courses, and some are even free. 

Steps for Your Professional Development as an Art Teacher

Finding success in your professional development as an art teacher requires following certain steps. 

  1. Set goals. Have an idea of what you hope to gain from your professional development, like improving classroom management, enhancing leadership skills, or learning to integrate new technology into your teaching. 
  2. Narrow it down. Examine the resources available to help you meet your goals and narrow them down by considering cost, ease of access, and how much they spark your interest. You have a finite amount of time, so make sure you get maximum value. Focusing on too many practices creates mediocre results. 
  3. Make it hands-on. Courses, even online, can be hands-on if they incorporate activities, encourage feedback, and provide avenues to engage, inquire, and brainstorm.
  4. Foster collaboration. Every teacher is a unique resource due to their age, specific experiences, and education. By creating a diverse space for teachers, they inspire each other with fresh insights and multiple outlooks that broaden perspectives and understandings. 
  5. Develop something useable. Create a relevant lesson plan that puts the new material learned into practice. The sooner you implement it, the more likely you will use it and improve upon it to reach success. 
  6. Provide coaching and mentoring. Districts should support teachers by providing mentoring and coaching to help implement and further develop new skills and strategies. 
  7. Revisit goals. You should evaluate your progress in reaching your professional goals throughout your professional development. If areas are not progressing as you envisioned, seek mentors or colleagues who can help you brainstorm ways to improve. 
  8. Be realistic. Learning how to use new skills, strategies, and technologies takes time. Expecting perfection on the first try is unrealistic. 

Art Teacher Key Skills

Successful art teachers have different personalities, strengths, and classroom strategies. However, all quality art teachers possess certain key skills:

  • In-depth art history knowledge.
  • Confident classroom management.
  • Creative and resourceful problem-solving, planning, and teaching.
  • Excellent communication skills.
  • Compelling presentation skills.

Professional development provides art teachers with the resources to strengthen these skills. The results are a more fulfilling and rewarding career that enriches and inspires students. 

Art History Knowledge

In-depth art history knowledge allows teachers to provide students with a broad education on various techniques and philosophies used during different art movements (i.e. Cubism, Surrealism, Renaissance, and Photorealism). It is also essential to introduce them to great artists from the past, such as Monet, Kahlo, Dali, Warhol, O'Keeffe, and van Gogh. 

Innovation is developed through an understanding of what has been done before. The better the foundation the students are given, the further they build new designs and creations.   

Classroom Management

Art teachers must confidently implement classroom management to ensure students have space to be creative and productive. Disruption robs attention spans, and lack of organization loses valuable time. A well-run classroom provides clear expectations and has a set of routines and procedures.  

Creative and Resourceful

Creativity and resourcefulness are not just valuable skills for artists. Fresh ideas, unique approaches, and original solutions are essential when dealing with tight budgets, hectic schedules, and high educational demands. In addition, investing creativity into lesson plans and teaching ensures students remain engaged and eager to learn. 

Communication Skills

Excellent communication skills will inspire passion in students and encourage them to fulfil their potential. Effective communication also saves valuable classroom time. 

In addition, art teachers must be able to use clear verbal and written communication skills with colleagues, parents and guardians, and members of the community to ensure students are fully supported.

Presentation Skills

Compelling presentation skills hold students' attention and support communication. The better the presentation, the greater the student engagement in the lessons, making it more likely they retain the information. The results are a more harmonious and productive classroom. 

Take the Next Step in Your Art Teaching Career

Art teacher professional development is an ongoing process essential to student success. Quality art education increases student empathy, raises classroom participation, and encourages innovation and creative problem-solving. 

But art teachers cannot create positive results without support. School districts must help their art teachers gain leadership skills and classroom management techniques while broadening their knowledge of the subject and how it integrates into other disciplines. There must be financial investment, the provision of resources, and space to take courses. 

Being an art teacher is a rewarding career. However, we understand that art teachers are currently stretched, working with tight budgets and hectic schedules. That's why SimpleK12 provides online courses, webinars, and workshops to ensure professional development is accessible and doesn't waste educators' valuable time.  

SimpleK12 looks forward to working with art teachers to obtain the skills, strategies, and tools they need to lead our next generation to a successful and innovative future.  

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