Not everyone can teach, we know that. Being brilliant at a subject does not guarantee brilliant delivery and the facilitation of understanding. However, would a better artist within a discipline be more inspiring than an artistic 'all-rounder'?

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Hi Colin, having had similar experiences within the performing arts capacity as Emma and Aimee I also take their view. As with art, it is appropriate for teachers to be able to demonstrate what is being asked of the learners, but being a successful teacher is also about being able to identify what students need to improve upon. You do not have to be a competent singer for example to identify a use of aspirate within a learner, aslong as you have the technical awareness of how they can reduce this. I believe this is a much more beneficial trait for a teacher to have. Just because someone is successful within an industry, doesn't necessarily translate to them bringing the best out of others.

Ellie, you are wonderful with the words!!! Love your reply.  Please, what is 'aspirate'?  Anyway, to bring the best out of others is a great way to look at it.  Following on from your point, a student could feel intimidated by having a 'well known' or successful teacher, and have feelings of insignificance.  This of course would be totally counterproductive.  So, bring on the real teachers...

Hi Colin

No not at all, my area is music, i have a friend who is on tour with his rock band and he is a fantastic guitar player, however he has said to me on numerous occasions that he hasnt got a clue how to read music, he learns from ear which is a great quality to have however he wouldnt be able to teach purely because of that fact.

However you could also be a fantastic musician and great at theory too, although this does not mean you can take your knowledge and know how to deliver this effectively to a group of learners hense the teacher training courses.

But yes we know that not everyone can teach, but i suppose someone who has had more experiences can tell many storys about there experience and work and what they have achieved. However a teacher who hasnt had much experience can find different examples to use in classes from many different artists around the world. There is always a wide range of work available for educational purposes. 

Hi Melissa, 

Thank you for your reply.  I like the idea of a successful 'on-tour' guitarist not being able to read music!!!  However, as long as he kept that to himself, he would make a brilliant guest speaker/lecturer... very inspirational. BUT, are there jealous types out there who would not ask him to come in and teach, out of sheer spite???

I can see the advantage of having a successful artist as an art teacher, as they can inform students of what it's like being out there in the art world, give them real world knowledge. Also students may be more engaged as if seeing the teacher is successful then if they learn from them, they too could be successful. I have seen the disadvantages as well, the teacher has been successful in one type of art and belittles others, championing what they do and trying to shape the students into what they've done and believe. This isn't inclusive for students as they need to be given choices and not told that doing a different option is only because they can't do the better one. Of course not all successful artists would be like this, but I'd think a more well rounded teacher, someone who can empathise with the students, knows what it's like to struggle and succeed, Rogers talks about teachers being a facilitator of learning and I think that is what is needed more.

Hi Andrea,

Thank you for your input. Really good stuff, I agree.

I still agree!!! It's a hard one to call I think, and as you've said, issues with both paths.  Prompted by Ellie's reply, the notion of students being intimidated and having feelings of insignificance when in the presence of someone well known could be counterproductive?

Yeah I found this a good point, as you don't always want to show your vulnerable side to someone who's done well, maybe afraid to explore and experiment incase you might not do as well as you want to, just sticking to your comfort zones instead. It can also push you to show that person what you can do and can get you to push the boundaries. I think it's all about how they present themselves, as a person who is there to be learned from, for them to impart all there wisdom onto you, or a person who you can learn with, who'll share ideas and encourages you to explore and develop your ideas and thoughts, even if they don't agree. What does the teacher want the students to know, information or themselves!

So I don't know if it matters about the teacher being a successful artist, it's about communication and giving the students freedom to learn and so becomes less about who and what the teacher has done and more about what the students will do.

As Andrea said having a successful artist as an art teacher would be a great advantage since this person become more like a facilitator rather than an instructor and is not so much about the use of techniques or teaching methods. It is an attitude and a set of values. It can encourage deep and active learning as well as development of self-belief.

Hi Sylwia,

Thank you for your reply.  I agree with you, and your point of view.  it is obvious that you have a very 'visual arts' background and way of thinking...  You are right in what you say, but the student would also need a huge amount of confidence and self-belief...

Hi Lucy,

Thank you for your reply.  I like your point about a successful artist having other equally qualified contacts to call upon for workshops etc.  On another point, artists are notoriously hopeless at self promotion.  We find comfort and solace with our work and our practice.  The 'brashness' which has to accompany successful self-promotion is left to those in the galleries and agencies who 'look after' us.

Aspirate is a use of breath Colin! Particularly on words that shouldn't contain much like plosive consonants such as B and D hope this helps you to release your inner singer! ;-) x



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