Teaching M.A.

Year Approved


First Advisor

Farrington, Karin

Second Reader

Charles Strand;


This thesis analyzes the research of artists, educators, scholars, and historians alike to present the value of the ceramic arts in public secondary art education programs in the United States of America. The process of defining ceramics instruction in public school education then discussing the different developmental stages that occur in secondary students work together to define the benefits associated with the ceramic arts and secondary school individuals. For decades art educators, specifically secondary teachers have looked to the professional ceramic world, as well as higher education to model ceramic instruction for public schools. It is problematic when middle and high school teachers look to college ceramics courses as they are structured towards college level educational objectives, which is ill fitting for secondary students. One of the largest first case that argued for the value of ceramics education in the public schools was a symposium presented from January 28-30, 1988 at New York University in New York, New York. The national symposium was titled “A Case for Clay.” Many educators felt that there was a need for research pertaining to the use of and value for clay as a medium of art instruction. A new ceramics curriculum design would offer the world of ceramics a voice for its culturally long-lived and global past, whilst presenting modern day issues in 21st century art rooms. Creating sculpture and pottery is a direct visual-tactile experience for students as their work becomes an extension of the mind through the hands. It has been suggested by researchers that the creative use of the tactile sense could potentially lead to the improvement of the conversion of stimuli into sensations and feelings that lead to ideas and reason. Ceramics in art education plays a significant part in educating and developing the whole student due to how the medium adds to human understanding of the world and making sense of our worldly experiences. It is with the mastery of any art form, such as ceramics, that a student’s sensory discernment, intuition, critical insight, imagination, self-awareness, and perceptions of phenomena is increased and heightened. Without art, this full range of human expression would not exist, and creativity would be lost from our society.

Degree Name

Teaching M.A.

Document Type

Masterʼs thesis