This article contributes to the knowledge about artist-teacher collaboration by focusing on aesthetic processes in a partnership between pedagogues and artists in two Danish kindergartens over a period of 18 months. The research is within the framework of action research and links to the development project, European Children of Culture, which involved several European/Baltic/Nordic countries in 2015-2017. The article rests on empirical material (interviews, photos, video recordings and field notes from actions and reflections) and investigates how the involved adults understand, facilitate and frame aesthetic processes and how this leads the researcher to expand perspectives on aesthetics in early childhood services. The aim of the article is to rethink aesthetic processes – to explore the many layers of aesthetics, not to reduce them. Hence, aesthetic processes in kindergartens become profound aesthetic-sensitive experiences involving hands-on processes with intensified meaning, subtle meetings and intermediate worlds, and ultimately termed “beauty bubbles”.
The increase in internationalization of education has set off a proliferation of educational models. Study abroad has emerged as one of the educational approaches through which universities can support students to internationalize their experiences, hone their skills and knowledge bases, sharpen professional proficiencies, and broaden their cultural perspectives. What meanings do foreign students who participate in study abroad programs in African dances in local African communities construct? This article engages the theory of experiential learning and concept of Orientalism to provide a critical examination of the meanings that the students from the U.S who took part in dance education study abroad to Uganda constructed from participation in neo-traditional dance activities. A hermeneutic phenomenological research paradigm was applied to collect data from six students from the U.S who took part in the Dance Education study abroad program to Uganda. The findings reveal how the study abroad programs enabled the students to negotiate, question, and conceptualize the idea of “study abroad to Uganda” as a “place” of nativism, exoticism, identity variances, and cultural differences. Critical analyses are made on how the students’ agency in neo-traditional activities cultivated embodied connections to the “other,” allowed for exploration of communalized pedagogies, facilitated holistic learning of dance through music and storytelling, and fostered immersion into “local” artistic and educational realities through collaborative and interactive lesson-planning and co-teaching. Issues of how study abroad in dance can aggravate cultural appropriation are also examined. This article offers insights into the intricate trajectories that students take to construct complex meanings through embodied and reflective participation in dance activities in local African communities, which can be beneficial to dance educators, cross-cultural and intercultural learners, and individuals who run cultural exchange programs.
The aim of this article is to explore how the multiple perspectives offered by an artographer’s lens contribute to three literacy events generated by writing play activities for children three to five years old. These events are part of a more comprehensive study of emergent literacy in writing play workshops, focusing on writing in different displays and with different writing tools. The artographer in the comprehensive study is Solveig Åsgard Bendiksen, also the first author in this article. The two other co-authors contribute with artographic methodology and with concepts from agential realism in the analysis of three literacy events. The intra-actions between the artographer, the children, the affects, the affordance of rich materials, and the context as performative agents in diffractive reading produced a number of findings concerning emergent writing literacy, especially concerning emergent cultural literacy.
This ethnodrama uses verbatim transcriptions of classroom stories shared by a first-year teacher in the Chicago Public Schools to help audience members ask better questions about teaching and the systems that shape teachers’ labor. The production uses a small number of theatrical conventions to create an aesthetic experience built from moments of connection and moments of detachment and analysis. The script is structured as a polysemy: The teacher’s words contribute to the ethnography of urban schools in the U. S. and speak to the spiritual heart of teaching. The show is designed to be staged by anyone, anywhere, to create rich dialogue about life in schools. The script is published in full, along with a short introduction.
Recent developments in the sociology of education highlight the importance of the school as a site for the transformation of students’ everyday knowledge into a more ordered and systemised form that provides the means for the development of creative conceptual higher order thinking. However, in recent times there has been a shift towards a dedifferentiation between knowledge and experience in education as well as a shift in the conceptualisation of the role of the teacher from expert pedagogue to facilitator.. In this paper we report on the work of one of the authors whose approach to music teaching in the primary school may be seen to exemplify Vygotsky’s ideas about the purpose of education and the role of the teacher. In the former, the purpose of education is to provide the context for the exposure to a form of mediated learning. In the later, the teacher takes on the expert role of mediator in assisting students in making developmental connections between spontaneous concepts and scientific concepts. Interestingly while achieving this within a literacy context, Round (the teacher in this study) also found students’ musical knowledge was developed and enhanced.
How do we develop understanding of our teacher identities and what can aesthetic modes offer to assist reflection and learning about shifting images of identity? These questions provoked our auto-ethnographic project. As two experienced early childhood teachers, we found ourselves transitioning into new professional terrain as teacher-researcher and teacher-director. This progression represented a significant shift in how we conceptualised, enacted, and located our respective identities. Using a new aesthetic framework, we explored what was known about our professional lives at key moments of “self and the other in practice” (Pinnegar & Hamilton, 2009, p. 12). We discovered that our histories matter, place matters, as do relationships made within these social spaces. This work opens opportunity for collaborative dialogue and critical reflection on self-as-teacher. Situating self-understandings within social systems of learning recognises forces influencing identity development (Hickey & Austin, 2007) and expands pedagogical frameworks for navigating sociopolitical complexities of educational realities.
The problem of attrition among early-career teachers has generated a substantial body of research. However, less research has been devoted to later-career teachers who survive and thrive. This article explores the career experiences of four later-career performing arts teachers who remain keen and committed to teaching. Informed by seminal studies by Huberman (1989, 1993) and Day and Gu (2007, 2009) into teacher career trajectories, and using a phenomenological ‘lens’ of portraiture methodology, members of the research team undertook a series of in-depth interviews to gain insight into how these teachers maintain their positivity and commitment to teaching. Four key themes emerged: the fundamental influence of social networks, the ability to recognise and embrace one’s strengths, the importance of being adaptable in maintaining relevance and social responsibility, and understanding the difference one makes to the lives of students. Findings highlight the key mechanisms by which these later-career teachers rationalise and maintain their enthusiasm. Given they are not fixed, articulating these mechanisms as attributes to be encouraged, practiced, nurtured, and developed among all teachers may be the overall key finding of this study.
In this paper, I share an analysis process that emerged from and evolved during my efforts to study children’s musical learning from videorecordings of choral rehearsals. Because written transcription would not adequately represent nonverbal data within social interactions, I developed a technique that (a) enabled me to disseminate understandings from these data and (b) simultaneously served as a multi-layered method of analysis. I describe this analysis technique here in hopes that other researchers may find it useful as well, particularly as they seek to story experiences of children as research participants.
The following article explores how one researcher blended verbal and visual literacies to disrupt conceptualizations of traditional qualitative research. Engaging visual modalities as a research tool, the author invites readers into an a/r/tographical multimodal post qualitative journey that deeply explores the power and value of visual research. Here the author shares a dynamic encounter with post theory that disrupted habits of knowing, thus creating tensions and nuanced understandings of theoretical engagement. (Re)imagining theory as a conceptual medium, readers are invited into the process through both visual and verbal means, to inspire investigation into previously unknown territory, thus discovering new ways to know differently. What is offered here moves the reader beyond the text based manuscript to a documentary film, (hyperlinked) screenplay, and artwork.
The complexity of identity and experiences of the researcher are explored through Spry’s (2011) performative autoethnography methodology, challenging the social and political norms that effect sexuality and gender-diverse students and the representation of LGBTQIA+ voices in school curricula. The present study uses musical theater repertoire that depicts characters that are part of the LGBTQIA+ community as a catalyst for reflection upon the researcher’s lived experiences. This multimedia performance-based research allows the reader-audience to experience the data as a narrative through a text script, recorded live performance videos, and/or mastered audio that includes prose, verse, lyrics, and monologues. Topics addressed include discovering sexuality, coming out, wrestling with faith, accepting identity, performing LGBTQIA+ musical repertoire, and working with students of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities. The researcher found that performative autoethnography was a transformative and educative experience, and autoethnographic methods can be used to help marginalized people find voice and empowerment.
How do high school students experience art, school, self and others after graduating from an arts integrated elementary school? This exploratory case study employs elements of narrative inquiry to detail the experiences of six students who graduated from one arts integrated elementary school. Participants expand and revise their perceptions of non-cognitive factors featured in an earlier study that took place when they were in junior high (Simpson Steele, 2017). Four years later, these students explored what they remembered about their arts integrated learning experiences and how they connected those experiences with their present interests, choices, and dispositions. Patterns converged around the participants' ongoing interest in the arts, including engagement in arts ensembles and development of artistic sensibilities. They expressed a value for school and for teachers who provided them with variety of methods and materials. Finally, participants attributed social skills (such as confidence, community, and communication) to their early experiences in an arts integrated school. The study concludes with three big questions: What is the effect of early learning through arts integration on adult engagements with the arts? How does arts integration influence students' mindsets or attitudes about school? How does the interaction between confidence, community and communication in the context of schoolwide arts integration influence learning?
As a contribution to the field of community dance, this article explores the teacher role in a setting where elderly people are offered to take part in a dance workshop. The aim of the study is to describe the role of the teacher when offering participation in dance as an artistic form among elderly people. The theoretical starting-point for the study is aesthetic experience and communication, based on a phenomenological philosophy, and the approach is arts-based research. The workshop series was observed and filmed. Written reflections were gathered and six of the participants were interviewed. The research material was analyzed in a phenomenological manner. The result shows that the choreographer influences possibilities for participation regarding: how workshops are designed and the inputs that are given, the atmosphere that is created, how the participants are to use their bodies, and how dance as an artistic form of expression is offered.
Racism is a social construct that is inscribed on the body. In this study, two dance educators working in the U.S. engage the body in the dismantling of racism. This case study is presented on teaching anti-racism in dance education, through embodied dance making processes. For this study, over sixty undergraduate students participated in activities exploring racism during a two-day workshop. Students later performed at a campus community event that included a critical discussion on racism. The authors analyze their ethnographic, qualitative research on dance education that employs embodied conversations to end racism. Student responses to these processes and events are featured in this article describing the impact of these embodied conversations.
This qualitative study investigated how a group of three-year-old preschool children use the drawing application Doodlecast on iPads. The smoothness, rapid response, and distinctive digital visual expressions of the tablet provided visual feedback that influenced the children’s preferences for colors. Doodlecast seemed to encourage the children to explore colors and superimpose and fill-in the iPad’s screen. In addition, they painted very precise shapes and lines, which seemed to facilitate pattern making and discovery of signs and relations. The children used the eraser tool to correct, reveal, remove, and create shapes. Irrespective of the method –erasing, superimposing, or filling-in the screen – the clear and professional result seemed to provide a visual confirmation that the children were able to master formulas.
A four-month research period into the practice of free music improvisation in Brazil during February-June 2014 allowed intriguing insights into how musicians think about, play and teach the music practice that is referred to as ‘free improvisation.’ An overview of the term ‘free improvisation’ with some historical context on its development will be provided to aid the reader to better situate the ethnographic study of 50 Brazilian improvisers during 2014. The ethnography was carried out by the author who speaks fluent Portuguese, using a participatory action research (PAR) framework, with the main aim of enquiring whether or how the practice of free improvisation is taught in the Brazilian higher education system. The research was set at several higher education institutions in Brazil, which included the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), The Universidade Federal do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (UNIRIO), The University of São Paulo (USP), The Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), The Federal University of Bahia (UFBA), with two shorter, single day visits to The Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte in Natal (UFRN) and The Escola Livre de Música in Unicamp (ELM). Before providing a summarised interpretation of some of the interviewed improvisers, I will examine the improvisational spirit, this improvisatory worldmaking approach (the ‘jeitinho brasileiro’) that is often considered to be integral to the Brazilian way of life. I conclude the article by linking the skills of listening, so essential in the practice of free music improvisation, to the work of French composer and pedagogue Alain Savouret and his concept of the ‘virtuosity of the ear.’
The landscape of arts education is changing, with an increased focus on collaborative partnerships between schools and arts sectors for the purpose of creating richer arts education - both process and products. Using a combination of phenomenology and autoethnography, this research explores how one particular form of arts education partnerships function in order to consider the enablers and constraints to working effectively together. The study draws on data from interviews of eight key education (School Professionals) and industry staff (Industry Professionals based at a professional venue) and the first author’s reflective journal conducted over a ten-day period during the staging of a high school musical. The findings reveal how traditional roles and practices are being re-visioned and reshaped to encompass both industry and education values connecting aesthetic quality with educational outcomes. The result of these partnerships at their best, produce not only richer experiences for students, and deep learning, but also closer industry and education relationships that are inclusive, productive and mutually beneficial.
In this creative article, the reader is invited into an a/r/tographic chronotope, through which the author remembers her learning and schooling experiences in the Ukrainian USSR. The purpose of remembering is to render an elusive meaning of dialogic pedagogy in the soviet compulsory schooling with a focus on the child’s lived experience of learning in the historical context of intergenerational socialist oppression. The visual and poetic a/r/tography reveals the learner’s ideological becoming through her rare encounters with dialogic pedagogy as the ontological event of self-consciousness, creative authorship, and agency.
This article addresses issues connected with project-based integrative teaching of visual arts to primary school students attending after-school activities. It explores the pedagogical outcomes of using contemporary art forms and materials for the promotion of collaborative knowledge construction and researches these processes in the classroom from the teacher’s perspective. Contemporary art forms, being integrative in their nature, are viewed as a suitable means of introducing students to the varieties of ways for seeing the world around them and using their knowledge acquired in other subjects for the creation of new original artworks through reusing, remediating and bricolaging recyclable materials for the construction of an art installation. The results of this action research prove that such an approach to visual art teaching encourages collaboration and art appreciation and contributes for the development of the student’s aesthetic awareness in a world where the visual image is dominating all aspects of our lives.
Many educational leaders are unfamiliar with learning, teaching, and conveying information through 21st century visual culture and digital products. Insights from individuals who developed skills in a visual environment and experienced technological disruptions throughout their working life might be useful. The six participants in this narrative inquiry study were born in the 1940s, 1950s, or 1960s and experienced the disruptive transition from text- and paper-based environments to the emerging visual culture of 2019. Each participant received studio art training and mastered a professional career in another field while maintaining an active life as an artist who was recognized in their community. These individuals might be uniquely qualified to explain how 21st century mid- or late-career professionals made sense of and applied skills developed through visual arts training and practice during the unsettling 21st century. Results indicated participants developed and continued to develop complex cognitive and creative skills and habits of mind within a visual rather than text based environment. Participants frequently described symbiotic responses to opportunities or problems that displayed the capacity to envision and select an alternative for action. Maturity allowed the artists in this study to gain self-confidence and a sense of identity expressed as Self-Becoming. Cognitive and creative skills associated with an arts education were shown as deep learning that transferred to a wide range of life activities and challenges. We concluded that participants in the study demonstrated an ability to adapt agilely through synergy and symbiosis to personal or environmental change. For these artists, conditions included an easy transition to technology empowering a visual culture in the early 21st century. Further study is needed on the lifelong value of acquiring and applying visual arts-based skills.
Facilitating collaborative creativity among children involves offering material resources that support collaborative and creative interactions. Popular views of tablets, such as the iPad, suggest that they are better suited to solitary game-playing or video-watching than to collaborative open-ended tasks. I explore this further through a social semiotic lens, applying the concepts of ‘semiotic resources’ and ‘affordances’ to develop a more nuanced understanding of what tablets have to offer in relation to children’s collaborative creativity. Through this lens, I compare observations of six pairs of 5-6-year-old children engaged in a collaborative drawing task completed either on paper or on the iPad. I apply a thematic analysis to the children’s dialogue across 25 episodes (15 iPad, 10 paper) and the visual dimensions of their 41 drawings (23 iPad, 18 paper), and develop three interwoven themes: 1) attitudes to space, 2) momentum of the line and 3) pathways to representation. For each of these themes, I explore how the affordances of the iPad and/or the particular application feed into these aspects of the drawing process and the implications of this for children’s collaborative creativity. The analysis suggests that drawing on the iPad can be more responsive and less subject to personal planning than drawing on paper. I suggest that this difference is shaped by physical properties such as the touch-screen interface, but also emerges as a result of the cultural investment in drawing on paper as a form of ‘self-expression’, a notion that works to limit exploratory and collaborative engagement with the resources. Since participants were noticeably open to exploring new ideas together while drawing on the iPad, I argue that we need to reassess the potentials of touch-screen tablets to support tasks of collaborative creativity in educational contexts.
Empathy is fundamental in our abilities to achieve healthy, happy, socially successful lives. The importance of its inclusion in educational pedagogical practices and classroom instruction is highly emphasized, yet very little research has been conducted to examine artistic exercises as effective ways for promoting empathy through pedagogy. VTS is a dialogical form of aesthetic interview that encourages groups of students to engage critical thinking skills. This article addresses a dissertation study in which VTS was implemented as an arts-based educational research (ABER) methodology to elicit discourse. The data, comprised of an audio recorded VTS exercise, was collected during a workshop at a conference in Vienna, Austria. Participants discussed an illustration taken from Shaun Tan’s The Arrival, a graphic novel telling the story of an Immigrant’s journey. Findings illuminate how VTS exercises elicited empathic discourse and a discussion explores VTS as a pedagogy for eliciting empathy within a theoretical context.
This article investigates a teacher education project that involved designing and producing a series of tactile picture books as part of the arts curriculum at the Department of Teacher Education Studies in Gospić, University of Zadar. Founded upon the ideals of inclusion and efforts to offer a holistic education for all children, the project aimed to heighten awareness amongst basic education university students to the particular requirements and needs of pupils with visual impairments and also to emphasize the important role of art as an intermedia experience of creation in the educational process. The project focused on participatory art making, involving a dynamic collaboration with special education teachers and librarians from the First Library for Children with Visual Impairments at Pećine Elementary School in Rijeka. Expanding perspectives and rethinking art practice students devised substantial collection picture books, addressing important social and educational issues through creative production. Realizing their tactile picture book projects as independent endeavors or initiating various kinds of collaborations, they were discovering art education as multilayered creative learning processes.
This paper explores how English teachers are currently using comics in their classrooms, and how they describe the problems and benefits of working with this curious textual form. As an educational researcher, I am interested in how the experimental ethos of comics can influence classroom practice in a similarly experimental fashion, and it was with this open question that I decided to ask fifteen high school English teachers how they teach with comics, and whether and how they feel their teaching practice and classroom environment has been affected and enlivened by the inclusion of these texts. In organizing this paper, I proceed as follows: I describe my own preoccupations; I provide a short description of the technical elements of comics reading; I describe how teachers open their studies, and consider the teaching strategies that they employ; and lastly, I discuss their rationales for using this particular art form.
Book Reviewed: Boyce-Tillman, J. (2016). Experiencing music—Restoring the spiritual: Music as well-being. Bern, Switzerland: Peter Lang. Experiencing music – restoring the spiritual: Music as well-being, addresses the area of spirituality and music education. The book is organized in 10 chapters, framed by a prelude and a postlude, with two interludes in-between. Topics include the development of religionless spirituality; phenomenography of musical experiences; the environment; music and expression; values in musicking; extra-personal dimensions; musical liminality as a space for peace and justice making; and the ecclesiology of music. The disciplines of musicology, ethnomusicology, music education, performance studies, music theory, and music therapy are used to convey their inherent and integral connections towards the understanding of music and well-being.
Book Reviewed: Christophersen, C. & Kenny, A. (Eds.).(2018). Musician-Teacher Collaborations: Altering the Chord. New York: Routledge. ISBN: 9781138631601. 257 pages. This international volume, judiciously edited by Catharina Christophersen and Ailbhe Kenny, examines the conditions and dynamics of collaborations between musicians and teachers in various educational settings. The topic is timely and relevant, given the expanding range of musical cultures available to students worldwide and the pressure on many schools to deliver high quality music education with decreasing resources. The book provides both theoretical frameworks and empirical perspectives on musician-teacher collaboration, addressing key issues and challenges head-on but also illuminating the potential for new pathways and deep professional learning within such initiatives. 27 authors from 11 countries have contributed research, experience and analysis, offering a rich and generous overview that will be helpful and inspiring for practitioners and researchers alike.
Book Reviewed: Fleming, M., Bresler, L., & O’Toole, J., Eds. (2015). Routledge International Handbook of the Arts and Education. New York, NY: Routledge.