Approaches in Art Education

There are thousands of arts education curricular models or models for arts or arts-based professional development for teachers that schools and community organizations use. Some assert that the core discipline of Western art education is the practice of drawing, a model which has existed since the Renaissance. This is an empirical activity which involves seeing, interpreting and discovering appropriate marks to reproduce an observed phenomena. It can be asserted that other art activities involve imaginative interpretation. Others would assert though, that issue based approaches, such as a visual culture approach to art education, define K-12 art learning today.

Prominent models include:
    A sixfold model divided into "Creative-Productive, Cultural-Historical and Critical-Responsive” components in Canada
    Discipline Based Art Education (DBAE) came to favor in the United States during the 1980s and 1990s, and it focused on specific skills including techniques, art criticism and art history.
    Current literature in the United states has shifted away from DBAE but many classrooms still use this model. Others have shifted to visual culture and diversity models.
    Teaching for Artistic Behavior (TAB) is a theory that began in the 1970s in the United States. TAB suggests that students should be the artists and so guided on their own individual artistic interests through technique lessons and critiques, while being exposed to art history as it relates to their own work.
    In the UK the art curriculum is prescribed by the government's National Curriculum except in public or fee paying schools.

In most systems, “criticism” is understood to be criteria-based-analysis established on acknowledged elements of composition and principles of design which often vary in their verbal articulation, between the different art discipline forms (applied, fine, performing, & etc.) and their many schools. Other art educational systems include the study of Aesthetics, ontology, semantics, studio praxis (empirical investigation) and phenomenology. There is no set art education curriculum content - it is a process of continual often acrimonious cultural negotiation.

Some studies show that strong art education programs have demonstrated increased student performance in other academic areas, due to art activities' exercising their brains' right hemispheres and delateralizing their thinking. Also see Betty Edwards' Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. Support for art education, however, varies greatly between communities and between schools in various cultures.

Art education is not limited to formal educational institutions. Some professional artists specialize in private or semi-private instruction in their own studios. One form of this teaching style is the Atelier Method as exemplified by Gustave Moreau who taught Picasso, Braque and many other artists. Another is an artist apprenticeship in which the student learns from a professional artist while assisting the artist with their work.