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But I’m not an artist : beginning elementary generalist teachers constructing art teaching practices.. 2000
|Title||But I’m not an artist : beginning elementary generalist teachers constructing art teaching practices from beliefs about ability to create art|
McCoubrey, L. Sharon
|Description||The purpose of this research was to investigate the past art experiences and the beliefs about ability to create art as held by beginning elementary generalist teachers, and the effects of those beliefs on art teaching. Constructivism as a learning theory formed the theoretical framework for this study. An investigation of the related literature explored the topics of ability to create art, elementary generalist teachers of art, beginning teachers, teachers' beliefs, preparation of art teachers, and beginning teachers' images of self as art teacher. The research, consisting of two phases, was conducted using a descriptive case study methodology. Phase one of the study consisted of using semi-structured interviews with eight elementary generalist teachers in order to determine their past art experiences and their beliefs about their ability to create art. Three of those participants formed the purposeful sample for phase two of the study which consisted of observations of five art lessons per participant, along with pre and post interviews. An extended final interview was conducted along with documentation examination and interviews with school personnel. The thesis which emerged from this study is that beliefs about ability to create art were formed from prior experiences with art, and that beliefs about an ability to create art affected the art teaching practice of the participants. The participants believed that they do not have an ability to create art and do not have the natural talent required to be an artist. These beliefs, along with their limited background in art, lack of subject matter knowledge in art, and their status as beginning teachers adversely affected their art teaching practice. This study revealed eight specific connections between beginning teachers' beliefs about their ability to create art and their art teaching practice. Insights into these beliefs about art making and their connections to art teaching suggest important implications. Noteworthy among these implications are the need for teacher education programs to provide for personal art making skill development and the need for schools to provide support and accountability within art education for beginning teachers.|
Art -- Study And Teaching (Elementary) -- Case Studies.
Art Teachers -- Training Of.
Constructivism (Art) -- Case Studies.
Retrospective Theses and Dissertations, 1919-2007
|Series||UBC Retrospective Theses Digitization Project|
Doctor of Philosophy - PhD
Education, Faculty of
|Degree Grantor||University of British Columbia|
|Aggregated Source Repository||DSpace|
|Digital Resource Original Record||https://open.library.ubc.ca/collections/831/items/1.0054944/source|
BUT I'M NOT A N ARTIST: BEGINNING ELEMENTARY GENERALIST TEACHERS CONSTRUCTING ART TEACHING PRACTICES FROM BELIEFS ABOUT ABILITY TO CREATE ART by L. SHARON McCOUBREY B. Ed. University of Victoria, Victoria, BC 1981 M . Ed. University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, 1986 A THESIS IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY In THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES Department of Curriculum Studies We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA September 2000 © L. Sharon McCoubrey, 2000 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada Date (Qi^orjjAJ 2-OOQ DE-6 (2/88) A B S T R A C T The purpose of this research was to investigate the past art experiences and the beliefs about ability to create art as held by beginning elementary generalist teachers, and the effects of those beliefs on art teaching. Constructivism as a learning theory formed the theoretical framework for this study. A n investigation of the related literature explored the topics of ability to create art, elementary generalist teachers of art, beginning teachers, teachers' beliefs, preparation of art teachers, and beginning teachers' images of self as art teacher. The research, consisting of two phases, was conducted using a descriptive case study methodology. Phase one of the study consisted of using semi-structured interviews with eight elementary generalist teachers in order to determine their past art experiences and their beliefs about their ability to create art. Three of those participants formed the purposeful sample for phase two of the study which consisted of observations of five art lessons per participant, along with pre and post interviews. A n extended final interview was conducted along with documentation examination and interviews with school personnel. The thesis which emerged from this study is that beliefs about ability to create art were formed from prior experiences with art, and that beliefs about an ability to create art affected the art teaching practice of the participants. The participants believed that they do not have an ability to create art and do not have the natural talent required to be an artist. These beliefs, along with their limited background in art, lack of subject matter knowledge in art, and their status as beginning teachers adversely affected their art teaching practice. This i i study revealed eight specific connections between beginning teachers' beliefs about their ability to create art and their art teaching practice. Insights into these beliefs about art making and their connections to art teaching suggest important implications. Noteworthy among these implications are the need for teacher education programs to provide for personal art making skill development and the need for schools to provide support and accountability within art education for beginning teachers. i i i TABLE OF CONTENTS A B S T R A C T i i T A B L E O F C O N T E N T S i i i D E D I C A T I O N ix A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S x CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION TO THE RESEARCH PROBLEM • Statement of the Problem 1 • Research Questions 3 • Significance of the Study 4 Elementary Generalist Teachers Of Art 4 Teachers' Beliefs 6 Creating Art 9 Stages Of Becoming A Teacher 10 CHAPTER 2 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK • Introduction 12 • Variants of Constructivism 13 • Defining Constructivism 13 • Ways of Learning . 16 • A Theoretical Framework that Mirrors Art Making 17 • The Role of Experience in Constructivism 18 • The Personal in Constructivism 20 • Forming Beliefs as a Constructivist Process 22 • Learning to Teach as a Constructivist Process 23 • Forming Images of Self as Teacher as a Constructivist Process.. 26 CHAPTER 3 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE • Introduction 30 • Ability to Create Art 30 What is Making Art 31 Who Has the Ability to Create Art 32 iv The Nature versus Nurture Debate about Ability 35 to Create Art The Discontinuation of Creating Art 39 The Process of Making Art 40 To Copy or Not to Copy 43 Can Art Making Skills be Developed 45 Factors which Influence Art Making 49 • Elementary Generalist Teachers of Art 51 The Role of Elementary Art Education 52 Elementary Generalist Teachers 53 The Role of the Classroom Teacher 55 • Beginning Teachers 58 • Teachers' Beliefs 62 Defining Teachers' Beliefs 62 Formation of Beliefs 65 Changeability of Beliefs 67 Connections Between Beliefs and Teaching Practice 69 • Preparation of Art Teachers 71 • Beginning Teachers' Images of Self as Art Teacher 74 Images About Teaching Art 76 Beliefs About Ability to Create Art Affects Images of Self as Art Teachers 78 CHAPTER 4 METHODOLOGY • Study Design and Methodology 81 • The Participants 83 Selection of Participants 85 Purposeful Sample for Phase Two 86 • The Setting 87 • Data Collection 88 • Timelines 92 • The Role of the Researcher 93 Qualifications to Fulfill Researcher Roles 94 Developing Trust with the Participants 95 Researcher Influence 96 • Data Analysis 98 • Reporting the Data 99 • Limitations of the Study 101 v CHAPTER 5 PRESENTING THE DATA: Phase One Introduction 106 • Past Art Experiences 107 Art Experiences in the Home 107 Art Experiences in Elementary School 110 Art Experiences in Secondary School 113 Art Experiences in the Teacher Education Program 116 • Beliefs About Ability to Create Art 119 The Participants' Art Creating Practices 119 The Participants' Beliefs About Their Ability to Create Art 121 Reasons Given for Not Being Able to Create Art 124 The Participants' Beliefs About Art Talent 128 The Participants' Beliefs About Art Making by Others 131 • Beliefs About Children's Ability to Create Art 135 CHAPTER 6 PRESENTING THE DATA: Phase Two • Reporting Phase Two Data 139 • Vignette #1: Doreen's Story 140 • Teaching Profile #1: Doreen's Art Teaching Practice 154 Lesson Design 154 The Logistics of Teaching Art 161 Student Reactions During the Art Lessons 163 Doreen's Response to the Students 164 The Quality of Art Education 167 Doreen's Self Assessment of Her Art Teaching 169 • Vignette #2: Nora's Story 171 • Teaching Profile #2: Nora's Art Teaching Practice 186 Lesson Design 186 The Logistics of Teaching Art 191 Student Reactions During the Art Lessons 192 Nora's Response to the Students 192 The Quality of Art Education 193 Nora's Self Assessment of Her Art Teaching 195 • Vignette #3: Patti's Story 196 • Teaching Profile #3: Patti's Art Teaching Practice 213 Lesson Design 214 The Logistics of Teaching Art 219 Student Reactions During the Art Lessons 222 v i Patti's Response to the Students 223 The Quality of Art Education 223 Patti's Self Assessment of Her Art Teaching 226 CHAPTER 7 INTERPRETATIONS AND CONCLUSIONS • Introduction 228 • Past Experiences Related to Art 228 • Beginning Elementary Generalist Teachers' Beliefs About Ability to Create Art 233 Beliefs About Ability to Create Art 233 Beliefs About Learning to Create Art 236 • Beginning Elementary Generalist Teachers' Beliefs About Their Students' Ability to Create Art 237 • Art Teaching Practice of Beginning Elementary Generalist Teachers 238 Expectations of the Discipline of Art Education 238 Student Learning in Art Lessons 240 Planning Art Lessons 244 The Perception that Art Education is Making Projects 245 Providing for Creativity in an Art Program 249 Subject Matter Knowledge 252 The Creating Process 253 Logistics of Art Lessons 254 Efforts of the Teachers 256 • Connections Between Beliefs and Teaching Practice 258 Self Image as Non-Artist Affects Art Teaching Practice 258 CHAPTER 8 SUMMARY AND IMPLICATIONS • Introduction 267 • Formation of Beliefs About Ability to Create Art 267 • Beginning Generalist Teachers' Beliefs About Creating Art 268 • Beginning Generalist Teachers' Beliefs About Their Students' Ability to Create Art 273 • The Status of Beginning Teachers 273 The Socialization of Beginning Teachers 274 Typical Expectations of Elementary Teachers 275 Sources of Art Education Ideas 275 Accountability in Art Education 276 • Connecting Beliefs and Practice 278 • Constructing Beliefs and an Art Teaching Practice 279 v i i • Is the Status Quo Inevitable 281 • Implications for Teacher Education Practice 284 • Implications for Practice in Schools 289 • Implications for Personal Practice 290 • Implications for Further Research 292 • Closing Statement 294 REFERENCES 296 APPENDICES 309 Appendix A: Guideline Questions for First Semi-Structured Interview for Phase One of the Study 309 Appendix B: Guideline Questions for Second Semi-Structured Interview for Phase One 311 Appendix C: Phase Two Art Teaching Observation Form 313 Appendix D: Guideline Questions for Post Observation Interviews 315 Appendix E: Guideline Questions for the Final Interview of Phase Two 318 Appendix F: Guideline Questions for the Interview with the Principal 320 Appendix G: Guideline Questions for Interview with the Teacher Librarian 321 viii DEDICATION This dissertation is dedicated to my husband, Bob, whose unwavering support, helpful feedback, and faith in my work has made this endeavour possible. ix ACKNOWLEGEMENTS I would like to acknowledge and thank a number of people who provided me with the support and assistance which not only made this research possible but also made it a meaningful experience for me. M y faculty advisor, Dr. Rita Irwin has provided the wise guidance, thoughtful feedback and encouragement to lead me through the entire process. M y other committee members, Dr. Kit Grauer and Dr. Anthony Clarke have also given tremendous time, insights, and assistance and thereby have challenged my thinking and revealed multiple perspectives on many topics. I have crossed paths with many educators during my years in the discipline of art education, but a significant mentor who has greatly influenced my ideas about art education is George Steggles. This research was possible only because of the consent granted by the superintendents and principals in the schools districts and schools in which I worked. I am indebted to the participants of my study who were willing to share personal histories, ideas, thoughts, and beliefs with me, and especially the three teachers who opened their classrooms and their teaching for my observation. The continued support of my colleagues at Okanagan University College is appreciated, in particular, that of Greg Wetterstrand who has been an excellent sounding board for many ideas. I would also like to thank my two children, Sarah and Patrick who gave me patient ears and many ideas, and to my extended family whose interest in my work and whose confidence kept me on track. CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION TO THE RESEARCH PROBLEM Statement of the Problem A desire to understand, support and enhance art education at the elementary school level has prompted this inquiry. The focus on elementary generalists teachers' beliefs and practice was selected because of a recognition of the important role played by elementary art education as a precursor for all levels of art education. Elementary art teachers are, for the most part, generalists rather than art specialists, a factor which dramatically alters the issues, needs, and nature of art education at this level of schooling. The focus on beliefs about a specific aspect of art, the ability to create art, recognizes the complexity of the visual arts and of art education. Greater knowledge and understanding of the teachers, their beliefs about their art ability, and their art teaching practice in elementary schools is essential if research is going to support or improve the quality of art education. The elementary grades play a vital role in the continuum of art education. The art experiences provided in the elementary grades wi l l form the foundation for future ideas and decisions about art. In most jurisdictions, a mandated art curriculum is part of the elementary program for all students; however, this is not the case at secondary and post secondary levels of art education. The eight elementary grades constitute the largest portion of public schooling. Therefore, an art program which offers quality learning experiences w i l l lay a strong foundation for future perceptions and dispositions toward art. For these reasons, elementary education has the potential to have the greatest influence on the well being of student learning in art education. The architect responsible for designing the initial foundations in art education is the elementary classroom teacher. The nature and quality of the art program in each year of elementary school is determined by the teacher. Given this tremendous responsibility, generalist teachers' formative experiences and resulting dispositions to seek additional knowledge and understanding about art is an important area of inquiry. The generalist teachers' beliefs about art are critical to that disposition. "Teachers' classroom behavior is shaped by their perceptions, attitudes and beliefs about the nature of the subject matter, students, school, and pedagogy...perceptions of their ability to meet educational challenges play a strong role in their actual success" (Kowalchuk, 1999, p. 75). Specifically, beliefs about their own ability to create art is fundamental to the approach taken when teaching art in the classroom. Those individuals who choose to become art specialist teachers at the secondary or tertiary levels of education tend to be those who have excelled at art in their early experiences, have worked to become artists, or have ensured that they remain involved directly with art in some way. To the contrary, generalist teachers typically do not consider themselves artists and are in fact anxious about creating or teaching art. Gaining a complete and accurate understanding of elementary generalist teachers' beliefs about the ability to create art, both theirs and their students', is a key piece of the picture for art education at this level. M y interest in this research focus was ignited during my beginning years of teaching in elementary schools, but was greatly fueled during my years as a fine arts consultant when I worked with many elementary generalist teachers to implement a new Visual Arts Curriculum. What became exceedingly clear was that issuing a high quality visual art curriculum document does not ensure a high quality, or any, art program in the classroom. The individual teachers, not the curriculum document, determine the learning experiences of the students. "Ultimately, the beliefs of the individual teacher dictate what, or if, art education wi l l take place" 2 (Grauer, 1995, p. 165). My awareness of elementary generalist art teachers' circumstances came into focus during this time and questions began to form about the quality of art education in elementary schools. My concern and understanding for the plight of the generalist teachers responsible for art education in elementary grades was further extended during the 11 years I spent teaching art methodology courses in a teacher education program. Working with preservice teachers provided insight into an early stage of becoming a teacher, and into their ideas about art. In particular, I was able to observe first hand the anxiety about having to create art that is felt by those who do not consider themselves to be artists. An important and relevant inquiry then is to investigate the elementary generalist teachers' beliefs about their own ability to create art, how those beliefs were formed, and the affect of those beliefs on the nature of their art teaching. Understanding these beliefs will inform those institutions working with both preservice teachers and beginning teachers, and could ultimately serve to alter or enhance art programs in elementary schools. Three themes frame this study: beliefs about ability to create art, formation of art making beliefs, and the effects of those beliefs on the teaching of elementary art. The specific research questions for this study are: Research Questions 1. What are beginning elementary generalist teachers' beliefs about their ability to create art? 2. What are beginning elementary generalist teachers' prior experiences in art and in art education? 3 3. What are beginning elementary generalist teachers' beliefs about their pupils' ability to create art? 4. What are the ways in which beginning elementary generalist teachers' prior experiences in art and art education and their current beliefs about ability to create art manifest in their classroom art teaching practice? Significance of the Study The purpose of this study is to provide valuable understandings and interpretations of practice in the area of elementary art education. The National Art Education Association (NAEA) (1996), in their publication Creating a Visual Arts Research Agenda Toward the 21st Century, encouraged the field to conduct research in a number of areas within art education, several of which relate to my study. For example: "Examine issues and theories to determine how knowledge and experience are structured and constructed... examine how conceptual learning is integral to pedagogy, understanding and production of art" (Marschalek, 1996, p. 21), and "What knowledge, skills, and values are essential for art teachers as they begin to teach in a variety of settings?" (Galbraith, 1996, p. 79). The following discussions of several related topics in art education reveal specifically the significance of this study. Elementary Generalist Teachers of Art The quality of art programming in the elementary grades is of great importance and should be given serious attention within the field of education. When focusing on the teachers who design and deliver elementary art programs, the first factor to acknowledge is that by far, most art 4 programs are taught by generalists rather than specialists. Art specialist teachers are usually employed only in secondary and tertiary institutions. Distinct differences exist between the nature of art instruction and art programs delivered by these teachers compared with their elementary generalist teacher counterparts. Wiebe (1992) conducted a study which compared the art experiences and the student artworks in classrooms taught by art specialists and by generalists. Not surprisingly, evidence from this study indicated higher quality art programs were offered by art specialists. The art lessons involved serious presentation and art content. Art had a positive and high profile among the activities in the school. Art work was always displayed around the building and the students frequently did extra artwork in their own free time. The portfolios from these classes contained a large number of works. They were described as excellent, exciting, well integrated and were rated highly overall, (p. 102) One might conclude then that it would be preferable to have only art specialists teaching in elementary schools. For many reasons, that is not and has not been the hiring practice of most jurisdictions in Canada and the United States (Day, 1999). Therefore, the situation of those currently responsible for teaching art in elementary schools, the generalist teachers, must be acknowledged and addressed in related research. Acknowledging the major role served by elementary generalist teachers, Myers (1992) stressed the importance of addressing their needs. If a real shift in the content of elementary art education is to occur, the generalist teacher must be included as an integral part of that change. It is this group who wi l l choose the art activities that effectively become art education for thousands of students. Since the preservice elementary student is the future generalist teacher, 5 her training in art methods could be an important element in the change process. Change wil l not occur for elementary art education until the preservice elementary student and her professors examine, analyze and successfully challenge her preconceptions about art and art education, (p. 201) Unfortunately, elementary generalist art teachers have not often been the subject of research. When considering the broader area of art education, Zimmerman (1994) and Davies (1990) stated that there has been little research conducted within the discipline of art education specific to teacher education, much less the elementary generalist. A survey of the topics dealt with in Studies in Art Education, the leading research journal in art education, shows only a sprinkling of articles (approximately 12) on elementary generalist art teachers appear in its entire 40 years (1960-2000) of publication. A certain amount of research has focused on specific aspects of elementary generalist teachers, such as their previous experiences with art (Smith-Shank, 1992), their beliefs toward art education (Grauer, 1995), and their preconceptions about art (Myers, 1992). However, additional research is needed to further understand this specific group of art teachers. Teachers' Beliefs Even though there has been a great deal of research done on teacher thinking and planning, Brown and Wendel (1993) suggested that "in order to better understand teacher behaviors, research needs to focus on the things and ways that teachers believe" (p. 64). In addition, Pajares (1993) noted that several predictions had been made that the study of beliefs would "become the focus for teacher effectiveness research" (p. 50), yet these predictions did not materialize. The reason Pajares offered to explain the scant attention given to research in teachers beliefs "is that we simply don't know what to do 6 with them. Issues that touch on personal conviction and deeply held assumptions are skirted, perhaps because the confrontation between teacher educator and student on the subject of what beliefs should be deemed appropriate can be an uncomfortable one. A regrettable tolerance for moral relativism may be one cause for this intellectual paralysis" (pp. 50-51). Although these concerns explain the reluctance of researchers to investigate teachers' beliefs, the importance of this area of study remains. The question of which beliefs are deemed appropriate can indeed be an uncomfortable one; however, reference to the underlying " facts, principles and concepts that form the domain of art education" (Grauer, 1997) will provide guidance for that selection. Gaining a greater understanding of teachers' beliefs about their ability to create art could be instrumental in optimizing the preparation of generalist teachers to teach art. Ultimately, there is a need to provide teacher education programs and professional development experiences which lead to the confirmation or the formation of beliefs about art education that will lead to quality art programs. "Making a difference in the education of future teachers is a powerful incentive to understanding the beliefs of preservice teachers toward art education" (Grauer, 1995, p. 167). Making a difference in the art experiences and attitudes of many young children is also a powerful incentive for me to conduct this study. The importance of studying teachers' beliefs becomes obvious when considering the crucial role beliefs play in teaching practice. There does not seem to be any dispute within the literature that there is a connection between beliefs and actions. Few would argue that the beliefs teachers hold influence their perceptions and judgments, which in turn, affect their behaviour in 7 the classroom, and that understanding the belief structures of teachers and teacher candidates is essential to improving their professional preparation and teaching practices. (Pajares, 1992, p. 307) Several explanations have been given to explain the connection between beliefs and actions, including the notion that they are intrinsic to motivation (Holt-Reynolds, 1992), and that they frame or define the task at hand: The affective and emotional components of beliefs can influence the ways events and elements in memory are indexed and retrieved and how they are reconstructed during recall. Emotion and affect thus have important implications for how teachers learn and use what they learn. (Nespor, 1987, p. 324) The beliefs about teaching and learning held by beginning teachers combine to form an image of themselves as teachers. The images of self as teacher are powerful in that they influence the way the beginning teachers teach (Bullough, 1991; Cole & Knowles, 1993; Knowles, 1994; McDiarmid, 1990; Rust, 1994). Carter (1996) succinctly stated, "This identity or image of self as teacher is carried into practice settings and influences in profound ways the coping and problem-solving decisions and actions of beginning teachers" (p. 127). If novice teachers' images of the teachers they aspire to serve as guiding visions for their efforts to become teachers, then gaining an understanding of their beliefs about their ability to create art and how these beliefs contribute to their images of self as art teachers is an important part of investigating their teaching practice. Given the major influence of teachers' beliefs on teaching practice, a study of art education at the elementary level must therefore consider the beliefs of the generalist teachers. 8 Creating Art Another topic within the area of teachers' beliefs which reveals the significance of this study is creating or making art. Rather than dealing with teachers' beliefs as a broad research topic, my study has focused on a specific belief, that being the ability to create art. Art making is one strand of visual arts and refers to the process of creating an artwork. This is often referred to as the studio component of art education. Little (1993) has used the term 'productive domain' when referring to making art. Another major strand of visual art is responding to art, or art appreciation. Promotion of Discipline Based Art Education (DBAE) has resulted in much attention in art education research being directed to other components of art including art history, aesthetics, and art criticism, while "less and less is being written about studio related concerns in favor of those involved with the appreciative domain" (Little, 1993, p. 11). To ensure balanced attention, some research should focus on the art making component. As anyone who has done so knows, the process of creating art is complex and elusive. Creating art is typically understood as a highly personal enterprise requiring production of something new, as opposed to merely working with already existing knowledge or objects. This requirement can lead to anxiety or frustration. It is therefore reasonable that "the issue of creative challenge be explored further" (Makin, White, & Owen, 1996, p. 242). Focusing on a specific aspect of art making, talent and ability, Clark and Zimmerman (1995) have also called for more research in the area of art making. "More research must be conducted - in a variety of contexts - about all factors that may influence talent development in the visual arts" (p. 406). The concept of art making and beliefs about ability to make art have become the foci of my study because of the probability that they are directly 9 linked to an image of self as teacher, which is then linked to teaching practice and to the art education practices that emerge in their classrooms. Also of significance to this investigation of beliefs about art making and the connections to art teaching practice is the participants' stage of becoming teachers. Stages of Becoming a Teacher A great deal of the research on teachers' beliefs has been conducted at the preservice stage, often because of ease of availability of participants. Grauer (1995) recommended the extension of the study of teachers' beliefs about art education beyond the university setting into the school setting, which would then further investigate the process of becoming a teacher. "The study of preservice teachers often ends at the point they leave the university setting and gain entrance into the world of teaching. More longitudinal studies that follow preservice teachers into the workplace would be of great benefit to teacher educators" (p. 167). Although my study is not longitudinal and does not follow participants from their preservice stage into their initial teaching experiences, it does investigate novice teachers who are at the beginning stage of becoming teachers. By working with novice teachers who have completed their formal preparation but are at only the beginning stage of becoming a teacher, my study bridges the gap between teacher education programs and initial teaching experiences. By studying the background experiences that form beliefs about art, and conducting a study in the beginning teachers' classrooms to observe their art teaching practice, I am connecting two or more stages of becoming an art teacher. What happens as past experiences are dealt with in order to make the transition to teaching art? "One of the most fascinating and poorly understood phenomena in teacher education is the liberal transformation 10 that preservice teachers are said to undergo while in academe, and their return to more conservative orientations" (Pajares, 1993, p. 51). Kowalchuk (1999a) stated that an area of art education that has not been studied in a sustained way is the transition to practice "Unfortunately, little is known about how well art student teachers apply what they know and learn from practice" (p. 71). As Kagan (1992) explained, studying beginning teachers to examine the various stages of becoming a teacher is important because "researchers have little direct information about how a teacher's personal pedagogy evolves over the course of his or her career, a crucial gap in our understanding of teaching" (p. 74). Summary Investigating beginning teachers' beliefs about ability to create art and their art teaching practice will contribute to an understanding of the process of learning to teach art. The findings of this study will provide valuable insights and analyses for the teacher education programs and schools that are responsible for the preparation, guidance, and support of teaching art in elementary schools. 11 CHAPTER 2 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK Introduction The theory which served as a framework for my study, constructivism, provides a base for understanding the processes of forming beliefs and building teaching practice. Reference to this theory functions as a lens for observing and thinking about the participants' experiences, beliefs about ability to create art, and their art teaching. After a general examination of constructivism, several topics which relate specifically to this study will be examined in light of their connection to constructivism. These topics include teachers' beliefs, learning to teach, and image of self as teacher. Some would say that constructivism in education has a long history (Harris & Graham, 1994) and that "the constructivist perspective has very old philosophical roots" (Cochran, DeRuiter, & King, 1993, p. 265). These philosophical roots of constructivism reach back to Piaget and Dewey, with branches of this theory, such as social constructivism, reaching back to Vygotsky, LeFeve, and Bruffee (Jung, 1996). However, others refer to the newness of this theory, "because constructivism is relatively new on the education scene, many of its implication have yet to be spelled out" (Prawat, 1992, p. 360). However, whether this theory is actually new, or is old but has re-surfaced, its impact in recent decades must be acknowledged. "Constructivism as a frame of educational theory, discourse and action has been achieving increasing prominence in the 1980s and 1990s" (Kinnucan- Welch & Jenlink, 1998, p. 413). Constructivism is currently a significant theory evidenced by the fact that "constructivist ideas have spawned hundreds of books and articles" (Oxford, 1997, p. 36). This theory is currently 12 being addressed within the realm of educational practice because it serves to provide a solid conceptual base for understanding some of the practices in which teachers engage (von Glasersfeld, 1995). Variants of Constructivism As the theory of constructivism has evolved, researchers and theorists have developed assorted variations. Oxford (1997) used the phrase "many contradictory shapes of constructivism" (p. 35). The key question becomes: can one find a central core or basic characteristics that are common to all variants? Forms of constructivism include naive constructivism (Prawat, 1992), radical constructivism (von Glasersfeld, 1995; Phillips, 1995), social constructivism (Goodson, 1990; Vygotsky, 1995; St. Pierre Hirtle, 1996), and psychological constructivism (Cobbs, 1995). Even though the proponents of these various forms would argue for their distinctiveness, there are many reoccurring themes in the literature on constructivism which permit the identification of some common general characteristics. A more extensive exploration of constructivism would expose the differing emphasis of each variant; however, for the purposes of this study, the application of the theory will focus on the commonalities of these forms of constructivism, which explain learning as a personal building process. Defining Constructivism The essential considerations of constructivism are the nature of knowledge and how we come to know. "Constructivism refers to the philosophical belief that people construct their own understanding of reality" (Oxford, 1997, p. 36). At this initial stage of defining constructivism, clarification of terms is necessary. The word 'knowledge' is frequently used 13 in discussions about constructivism, but with varying interpretations and applications. Phillips (1995) distinguished between public and private knowledge. 'Public knowledge' is that which is often organized within disciplines such as biology, sociology, physics, or the arts, and which "scholars have labored mightily over the generations to construct the content of these fields" (p. 5). 'Private knowledge' is that which is specific to an individual, the "cognitive contents of the minds of individual learners" (p. 6). Both public and private knowledge were relevant to my study. The examination of the participants' beliefs dealt with their personal, private knowledge, whereas the examination of their art teaching practice had to take into consideration the body of knowledge within the discipline of art education. One of the key challenges facing beginning teachers is negotiating public and private knowledge. Cobbs (1995) referred to this negotiation as "acts of individual reorganization which can be seen to occur as students participate in and contribute to the development of practices established by a local community" (p. 25). von Glasersfeld (1995) offered his definition of knowledge as "what we can do in our experiential world, the successful ways of dealing with the objects we call physical and the successful ways of thinking with abstract concepts" (p. 7). Explaining that the perception of knowledge is dependent on ways of knowing, Belenky, Clinchy, Goldberger and Tarule (1986) wrote about four distinct types of knowledge including received, subjective, procedural and constructed knowledge. Briefly stated, the received approach perceives knowledge as concrete, right or wrong, facts are separate from opinions. Subjective knowing deals with knowledge as personal, truth as an intuitive process, and feelings as counting more than knowledge or rational procedures. Procedural thinkers are practical, pragmatic problem solvers. Constructed knowing integrates knowledge learned from others with 14 knowledge gained through logical reasoning felt personally and intuitively. The situation or circumstances of the learner are also important considerations when discerning the uses of the term knowledge as "all knowledge is constructed and that truth is a matter of context" (Sutton, Carfarilla, Lund, Schurdell & Bichsel, 1996, p. 416). The branch of constructivism referred to as social constructivism concerns itself with the dynamics of constructing knowledge in a social setting. The social aspect of learning cannot be denied and the prominence of social constructivism related to educational processes cannot be ignored. Although the construction of beliefs and of a teaching practice are processes of the individual, those experiences which form the basis of that construction are part of a social context. Experiences take place in a variety of social settings, such as the home, the classroom, or the staff room, and with a variety of others, such as family, colleagues, or friends. Both the individual perspective and the social context must be acknowledged in this approach to learning. In fact, it is difficult to separate the two. "It is the interaction between the personal knowledge and knowledge as a social construction that is of central concern to educators" (Driver & Scott, 1995, p. 28). Constructivism involves both interpersonal and intrapersonal interactions. Howard Gardner has included these two processes among his list of multi- intelligences (Gardner, 1995), as have others, including "the Vygotskian account of the movement from the interpsychological to the intrapsychological planes through the process of internalization" (Driver & Scott, 1995, p. 28). The debate about knowledge will continue, but the aspect of constructivism that seems to override differences within types of knowledge is how that knowledge is constructed by individuals. Central to the issue of knowledge in constructivism is that knowledge is not the external, absolute 15 truth that has been previously established and merely received by the learner, but rather knowledge consists of the personal understandings constructed by each individual learner. "The constructivist idea of knowledge is that knowledge is a subjective construction of the person's reality, rather than an objective truth" (Keiny, 1994, p. 165). Although not easily separated, the question of 'what is knowledge?' is logically followed by 'how is it acquired?', a question which moves the discussion on to the processes of constructing personal knowledge. "Is new knowledge -whether it be individual knowledge, or public discipline -made or discovered?" (Phillips, 1995, p. 7). Ways of Learning The root word of constructivism is construct, a synonym for processes such as build, create, organize, assemble, form, and produce, the processes that a learner utilizes when developing personal understandings and knowledge. Constructivism challenges the traditional educational philosophy which assumes that "there is a fixed body of knowledge which can be transmitted from educators to learners" (St. Pierre Hirtle, 1996, p. 92). This approach suggests that rather than being a non-participant receptor, the learner plays a much more active and interactive role in the learning process. Constructivists believe people are active seekers and constructors of knowledge coming to classrooms with innate goals and curiosities. They believe learning is the discovery and transformation of complex information and that traditional teacher-centered instruction of predetermined plans, skills and content is inappropriate. (Nicasise & Barnes, 1996, p. 206) 16 The same idea was confirmed by Phillips (1995) who made a distinction between simple and complex ideas. "Our simple ideas may be mere reflections of nature, but complex ideas are produced (constructed) by the human mind" (p. 8). For comparative purposes, the processes of learning can be placed on a continuum with 'discover' at one end and 'make' at the other end. Various educational philosophies are positioned at different places along this continuum depending on their view of the learning process (Phillips, 1995). However, constructivists would be positioned at the 'make' end of the continuum because of their view that the "learner is an actor rather than a spectator" (Phillips, 1995, p. 11). A Theoretical Framework that Explains Art Making Having observed many preservice and beginning teachers, the constructivist approach to learning has gained credibility within my personal philosophy of learning. It is also natural for me to think about constructivism as a logical approach to learning because of my involvement in the discipline of art. The processes of creating art parallel constructivist principles. Original art works are created not received; art creation and perception are individualistic; the outcome of art creation is not known in advance because it is not predetermined or directed; and there is personal involvement through interaction with ideas and materials. "The formation of images and the creation of personal philosophies are particular reconstructions of experience" (Connelly & Clandinin, 1987, p. 135). Rasanen (1999) used a metaphor which likened self identity to a collage, a form of artwork. The process of making art has similarities to constructing knowledge or identity. "Art interpretation as a means of understanding and constructing self is based 17 on the view of self as an unilinear collage of the accumulated life experiences each of us possesses" (p. 195). I found it interesting to note that in Kinnucan- Welcsh and Jenlink's (1994) effort to create a constructivist approach to professional development for practicing teachers, they found the construction of mobiles, an art form, to be a powerful strategy for reaching personal understanding of the issues at hand. James (1997) also used art creation to facilitate learning. "Through creative endeavors, students learn through their own experience, new knowledge that was not present at the outset of the work. Knowledge about artistic creative processes was developed through students' own practice" (James, 1997, p. 85). The Role of Experience in Constructivism Constructivism proposes that experiences are the material out of which meaning, beliefs, or knowledge are built. "Learning involves continuous active construction and reconstruction of experiences" (Sutton et al., 1996, p. 413). Experiences feed one's emotions and thoughts. The response to an experience is determined by already existing beliefs and ideas, resulting in a complicated and continual interplay between what is offered by a new experience and what already exists as personal knowledge. There is an action- reaction process which takes place with each new experience. Carter (1996) referred to this process when explaining the role played by experience: Persons have experiences, and thus every experience and its consequences are constructions from the interplay of a situation and the person who is experiencing that situation. They actively construct judgments grounded in the relatively sound personal and pragmatic truths that have emerged from their past experiences, (p. 122,126) 18 One's past experiences play an influential role in the process of becoming a teacher and in the formation of beliefs about art. In the same way that "people construct meaning of what they hear or see by generating links between their existing knowledge and new phenomena attended to" (Driver & Bell, 1986, p. 447), people assess issues related to art in light of their past experiences with art. As learners actively construct knowledge in their attempts to make sense of their world, those experiences that relate in some way to art are the building materials for the development of beliefs about art. Therefore, the power of art related experiences cannot be underestimated. The experiences which are used to build knowledge and understanding are those of both the past and the present. How the past and the present interact is of interest to the construction process. New experiences are assessed on the basis of prior knowledge (Cochran et al., 1993; Jones & Vesilind, 1996). The specific cognitive processes used to construct knowledge and understanding are "analyzing data to detect patterns, forming and testing hypotheses, and integrating new knowledge with previous understandings" (Condon et al., 1993, p. 273). It would seem that there is a two-way dependency on experience. Not only are our interpretations of experiences in the present influenced by our experiences in the past, but also "our understanding of the past is altered by our experience in the present" (Bayles & Orland, 1993, p. 107). Eisner (1998) acknowledged that experiences form the basis of meaning, but also commented on the nature of that experience: Experience is the bedrock upon which meaning is constructed and that experience in significant degree depends on our ability to get in touch with the qualitative world we inhabit.... This 'getting in touch' is itself an act of discrimination, a fine-grained, sensitively nuanced process in which the mind is fully engaged, (p. 117) 19 Merely having an experience or being exposed to something does not guarantee that meaning or knowledge will be acquired (Oxford, 1997), unless there is active and conscious participation of the individual in the experience in some way. "Reflectiveness seems to be a key in terms of how people learn from experience -or fail to learn from it" (Oxford, 1997, p. 47). The Personal in Constructivism Contrasting the view of learning which sees students merely receiving transmitted information, constructivism focuses on the specific individuals and their involvement in the learning process: "...because all knowledge is constructed, the self is an essential component of knowing. Understanding one's own experiences, emotions, and beliefs is essential in order to access the context effectively" (Sutton et al., 1996, p. 416). Considering this key principle of constructivism, an individual constructing personal knowledge, there could be no other possibility but that the 'personal' is at the heart of constructivism, the emphasis being on the "situation and personal construction" (Carter, 1996, p. 122). Many ideas about teaching are constructed during the various phases of one's life, starting as a young student in school and continuing through various stages of being a learner in different educational situations. "A spiral development of learning" is the term used by Andreas (1987), "a series of encounters, a reaction, a time to digest, think, view each situation with greater complexity and their own presuppositions with more objectivity. This upward spiral is the hallmark of self constructed learning" (p. 18). Given that new experiences continually occur, there must be an ongoing and active process of seeking order and meaning as one's life unfolds. In his statement about this learning, Smith (1995) emphasized the uniqueness of individuals 20 and their evolving constructs. "Knowing develops out of the experiences and previous knowing that are uniquely part of each individual's experiential world" (Smith, 1995, p. 24). Each person's past experiences are unique and combine to form each complex and unique person. Because the development of constructs and the construction of knowledge depend on prior experiences and existing knowledge, learning wi l l automatically be individual, "no two students wi l l leave one class with exactly the same understanding nor have an identical experience" (Sutton et al., 1996, p. 413). Curiosity prompts the question of just how an individual processes new experiences in relation to prior experiences and beliefs in order to construct new knowledge or ideas. What are the internal, cognitive processes which take place during the learning process as suggested by constructivism? Driver and Scott (1995) explained "The process of internalization does not simply involve transfer of concepts, via language, to the individual. The learner reorganizes and reconstructs experiences encountered on the social plane" (p. 28). Therefore, reorganizing and reconstructing experiences of their physical and social environment are internal processes continually conducted by individuals, including beginning teachers. Learning requires "self- regulation and the building of conceptual structures through reflection and abstraction" (von Glasersfeld, 1995, p. 140). We continually construct our own understandings of the world in which we live and search for clues and means of attaching meaning to our experiences. A "deep understanding occurs when the presence of new information prompts the emergence or enhancement of cognitive structures that enable us to rethink our prior ideas" (Brooks & Brooks, 1993, p. 15). When one encounters an experience that does not fit with a currently held belief or understanding of a phenomenon, the assessment of that dissonance wi l l lead to several options. We can either actively construct a 21 different understanding to accommodate the new experience, or we can ignore the new information and retain the original understanding (Brooks & Brooks, 1993). An interesting thought process takes place when an experience occurs which suggests incongruence between it and previously held beliefs. Generally, there is resistance to change. Most individuals have a natural and common self protection that attempts to maintain the familiar (Mahoney, 1998). This tendency is an important factor when dealing with beliefs. Learners re-organize new experiences in order to find "relevance and the need to reconcile prior beliefs with current observations" (Hannafin, Hannafin, Land & Oliver, 1997, p. 110). Learning occurs when issues or experiences are presented around which students are actively trying to construct meaning (Brooks & Brooks, 1993). This implies that there must be some impetus for constructing knowledge. Why would a preservice teacher or beginning teacher try to construct meaning or beliefs about art education? Forming Beliefs as a Constructivist Process Forming personal beliefs is a process that involves personal meaning making and active involvement in a social learning process that is context specific. The 'content of minds' referred to by Phillips (1995, p. 6) would include more than 'knowledge', but also include beliefs, understandings, and meaning. The construction of beliefs takes place as individuals interact with their environments. In their attempt to make sense of their world, interpretations result in the evolution of understandings and beliefs. "For constructivists, objects and events have no absolute meaning; rather, the individual interprets each and constructs meaning based on individual experience and evolving beliefs" (Hannafin et al., 1997, p. 109). As 22 individuals interpret their experiences that relate to art, they form beliefs about art and art education. Beliefs are 'personal constructs'. A characteristic of personal constructs that has a powerful implication for beliefs about art is that they tend to deal with absolutes. Solas (1992) explained that a construct is "a bipolar abstraction, a quality or characteristic attributed to the various elements (people, situations, or events). Constructs take the form of a pair of dichotomous terms, for example, good/bad, didactic/experiential, nervous/confident" (p. 217). This dichotomous approach is also applied when considering beliefs about the specific concept of ability to create art. Individuals believe that they can draw or cannot draw; that they can make art or cannot make art; or that they are artistic or are not artistic. These absolutes, or extremes of possibilities affect the degree to which a belief can be changed and the application of the belief to behaviour or conduct. In addition to the idea that beliefs are constructed, another connection between beliefs and the constructivist theory is that beliefs are integral to the construction of knowledge. This idea, according to Oxford (1997), is sometimes omitted in the debates about constructivism. Not only does knowledge acquisition take place through the sorting and interpretation of experiences, but the interpretation is influenced by beliefs. "Constructivists frequently fail to mention that the filtering, sorting, and interpreting process is strongly influenced by self-referent attitudes and beliefs" (p. 59). Learning to Teach as a Constructivist Process Although much of the literature on constructivism focuses on the learning done by students in schools, this theory of learning also applies to the teachers in those classrooms. Beginning teachers construct their teaching practice. "Learning to teach is a process of constructing meaning" (Condon, 23 Clyde, Kyle, & Hovda, 1993, p. 273). Through a continual process of recalling memories about teaching from the perspective of a student; of organizing new information gained in a teacher education program; of responding to new experiences in a classroom; and of assessing recommendations from experienced colleagues, a teaching practice is built. "Teacher education students invent and construct knowledge based on their prior experiences and learning" (Sutton et al , 1996, p. 413). During this construction process, beginning teachers combine past experiences with newly acquired information to develop teaching skills. "Learning to teach is a fundamental process of reconstructing one's narrative of experience with special reference to classrooms, schools, and the demands of being a teacher" (Carter, 1996, p. 125). Once again there is an active involvement in this learning. It is not sufficient for a teacher education program to transmit the 'right way to teach' or 'the current theory'. Keiny (1994) would say it is false thinking to assume that beginning teachers adopt educational theory just because they hear it; whether they hear it from their teacher educators or from colleagues, "teachers like other practitioners do not apply theories but construct them from their practice" (p. 158). Therefore, building a personal teaching philosophy and practice is not so much a matter of acquiring pre-established knowledge about the way to teach, or an "objective ontological reality" (Cochran et al., 1993, p. 265), but rather it is a matter of organizing and defining knowledge "constituted by our experience" (p. 265). The experiences that relate to teaching will be from all the years spent as a student dovetailed with new experiences as a beginning teacher; those "life experiences are recognized as contributing to teachers' decisions" (Kowalchuk, 1999a, p. 73). This key tenet of constructivism, that one's past plays a strong role in the formation of new understandings, is also true of becoming a teacher. 24 Cochran, DeRuiter and King (1993) explained the cognitive processes beginning teachers engage in while integrating past and current experiences. According to constructivist theory, learning is a self-regulated process whereby learners construct knowledge through connecting new mental structures to accommodate new understanding...we invent concepts, models, and schemes to make sense of experience, and further, we continually test and modify these constructions in light of new experiences, (p. 92) The process of becoming a teacher does not happen in isolation. "The pathway to becoming a constructivist teacher meanders through our own memories of school as students, our professional education, our deeply held beliefs, our most cherished values, and our private versions of truth and visions for the future" (Brooks & Brooks, 1993, p. 13). Another characteristic of constructivist learning is that meaning requires understanding of the wholes as well as other parts: the learning process focuses on primary concepts, not isolated facts (Brooks & Brooks, 1993). This factor raises questions for me about elementary generalist teachers who often deal just with the details, such as a specific art project, without considering the whole, such as the underlying concepts of art education. This exposes an important aspect of teaching art that requires investigation. An important factor in this process of learning to teach is the role played by novice teachers' beliefs. These beliefs can be about students, how they best learn, teaching strategies, or, as is of interest to this study, beliefs related to a specific curriculum area. Kinnucan-Welcsh and Jenlink (1994) stressed the need to build bridges between beginning teachers' starting beliefs and best practice in teaching. Tillema (1995) suggested that merely presenting new information to teachers has little impact because this approach has not 25 modified beliefs, perspectives, or orientations that are embedded in teachers' real-life experiences. Some of those life experiences will involve art, which combine to form beliefs about art and about art education. Much of the literature on constructivist teaching suggests strategies that will facilitate personal learning. Some of these strategies include: making connections, teaching based on students responses, extensive student to student dialogue, open-ended inquiry, analyzing, interpreting, predicting, synthesizing, ensuring learner control, authentic activities and contexts, exploration, conceptual interrelatedness, customized curricula, emphasis on working on real problems, self assessment, and assessment that is formative and part of the learning process (Brooks & Brooks, 1993). These strategies are suggested for a constructivist approach to learning and teaching in the public school system. One wonders what happens in teacher education programs. Constructivism is often referred to as a concept, but are constructivist learning strategies part of the teaching practices of teacher educators (Oxford, 1997)? What can be envisioned by this explanation of how beginning teachers learn to teach is not only that the process is a personal construction process, but that it is extremely complex as the process involves multiple overlays of past and present perceptions, old and new experiences, and held and changing beliefs, and finally the contexts in which they experience teacher education. Forming Images of Self as Teacher as a Constructivist Process Another process to which the theory of constructivism relates is the formation of one's image of self as teacher. Self image consists of a mental picture of the teacher one imagines oneself to be. Such an image or inner vision of a particular kind of teacher is a powerful guide to teaching practice. Generally, beginning teachers start with initial images of themselves as 26 teachers, images of the kinds of teachers they aspire to become. These initial images of self as teacher then serve as guides or references for beginning teachers. "Like the repeated showing of a movie film, these images of teaching are rerun and rerun" (Knowles, 1994, p. 60). But where do images come from? As the constructivist theory suggests and as with the acquisition of knowledge, "the formation of images and the creation of personal philosophies are particular reconstructions of experience" (Connelly & Clandinin, 1987, p. 516). All beginning teachers have spent many years in the role of student in the presence of teachers. School experiences, rather than those from home or other contexts, contribute the strongest influence on ideas about teachers (Hawley, 1996; Tarm, 1993). Personal histories play significant roles in the approaches individuals take in trying out roles associated with the act of teaching and being a teacher. Their powerful influence centers on prospective teachers' memories of education-related events and contexts... Preservice teachers rely on and trust as models significant prior experiences as school students. (Knowles, 1994, p. 57, 90) The many years in school constitute a huge storehouse of experiences with many different teachers (Cole & Knowles, 1993). "Preservice teachers select attributes and practices of their own former teachers and mould these into an idealized image of the teacher they want to be" (Hawley, 1996, p. 100). In the same way that past experiences strongly influence images of teaching, past experiences related to art influence the images about teaching art. Smith-Shank (1992) explicitly described the influences from one's past as ideas about teaching art are constructed: 27 By making a place for autobiographical stories in education, teachers, and students can contextualize the ways that people know what they know about themselves, and what they know about art. Both teachers and students remember significant episodes in their pasts, and memories of these experiences become the foundation for attitudes, beliefs, actions, wishes, and anticipations, (p. 150) These school experiences which contribute to an image of teacher may not always be positive (Galbraith, 1993; Knowles & Holt-Reynolds, 1991). In some cases, the negative experiences provide the motivation "to subvert, overturn, or reverse the kinds of teaching that she herself had experienced as a high school student" (Middleton, 1996, p. 547). Or, the opposite may be the case. "These future teachers define art according to their own experiences. If their experiences were positive, they anticipated using the types of art lessons they had encountered when they were in elementary school in their own practice" (Smith-Shank, 1992, p. 131). When thinking about how an image of self as teacher is constructed, many contributing factors provide the building materials for this image; however, what stands out as a tremendously powerful influence are the teachers from previous school experiences. Summary The variants of constructivism will continue to be debated. The debates will continue about what reality is and whether reality exists outside of an individual's mind, or whether construction of knowledge is objective or subjective, to the point where "constructivism seems to be heading toward a hodgepodge of conflicting ideas" (Oxford, 1997, p. 57). However, the commonalities of the variants of constructivism have emerged, even though emphasis may vary. The key aspects of constructivist learning theory suggest 28 that the learning process involves connections to prior knowledge, that knowledge and meaning are personally constructed, and that reality is constructed from experiences (Gergen, 1998). It is through these central, overlapping commonalities that constructivism was applied as a theoretical framework for this study. Constructivism enlightens the processes of forming beliefs and of building a teaching practice. 29 CHAPTER 3 LITERATURE REVIEW Introduction A number of research areas have application to this study about beginning elementary generalists' beliefs about their ability to create art, and the connection of those beliefs to their teaching practice. Because this study has focused on beliefs about a specific aspect of art education/ art making, an investigation of the ability to create art is presented in the first section of this chapter. The targeted group of participants in this study will be addressed in the next section of this chapter, initially examining the generalist teacher of art versus the specialist teacher of art, followed by a reference to the literature on beginning teachers. Teachers' beliefs are examined next, dealing with a general look at teachers' beliefs, then the formation and changeability of beliefs. Within the examination of teachers' beliefs will be reference to the formation of beliefs from past experiences and the effects on teaching practice. Ability to Create Art Within the literature on teachers' beliefs, there is little to be found that pertains specifically to beliefs about ability to create art. Therefore, rather than reporting on the research findings about beginning generalist teachers' related beliefs, this investigation of the literature will look more broadly at the concept of ability to create art. Even though art is an integral part of our society and has been throughout time, it is not embraced by everyone in a personal way. Art is somehow designated as an activity done by only certain people, an association that is restricted to a few, and therefore, is not part of everyday life for 30 everyone. Garfield (1992) spoke about "the isolation of art from the mainstream of life" (p. 88), and the error in such an assumption, stressing the need for efforts to change this disassociated view of art. "Art educators have also to find a way to convince their audience that art is not an ornament tacked on to the serious business of life, but is instead a conditioning factor setting a culture's ideals, tastes, and spiritual values" (Garfield, 1992, p. 89). Many individuals enjoy art within their lives in a removed way, as a viewer, but not in a direct way as a maker. By choosing to focus on making or creating art, I am not dismissing other components of art education, such as art history, aesthetics, contexts, or responding to art (BC Visual Arts Curriculum, 1998; Dunn, 1990). Some might say that during a time when art education is putting much effort into broadening the perception of art as being more than the studio component to also include the components of art history, contexts, aesthetics, and art •criticism (Duke, 1985), that focusing on the studio component is a step backwards. However, attention must also be given to the vital role of the creating act. Richmond (1998) pointed to the central role of making art. "The ability to represent the visual world remains at the heart of all practice in art education" (p. 14). Because art making is integral to art education, investigating teachers' beliefs about ability to create art, both as it pertains to themselves and to their students, is essential to this study. What is Making Art? Making or creating art are terms used interchangeably to refer to the hands-on manipulation of chosen materials, working within one or more of the processes of visual arts, such as painting, sculpting, printmaking, etc., to produce a final work of art. The art making process is so much more easily stated in words than accomplished in reality. Zimmerman (1990) has 31 suggested that "the ability to draw is complex, it can not be easily dissected" (p. 200). The process of making art is thought of by many to be magical. That view is naive and simplistic. Rather than magic, "the realities of art production can be pretty unromantic: there is a job of work to be done" (Richmond, 1998, p. 14). Referring to the concepts proposed by the philosopher Suzanne Langer, Dorn (1994) spoke about the importance of the studio component in art education, stating that being involved in the creation of artworks is the only way to "know the arts from the inside" (p. 69). Even though there are a great number of art processes which use a huge range of materials, technologies, and supplies, drawing is often thought of as being integral to all art making. Many comments or expressed beliefs about ability to create art are actually about ability to draw. Not only is art making mistakenly thought of as some kind of mysterious process rather than a problem solving process that involves effort and hard work, another misconception is that it consists of merely working with one's hands. As Eisner (1998) explained, "There is no competent work of the hand that does not depend on the competent use of mind" (p. 23). Creating art is, in fact, much more complex and involved than the interplay of hands and materials, but in fact requires many cognitive processes as well. "It is important to recognize that inspiration, intuition, and aesthetic considerations can play a large and legitimate role in critical scholarship and the critical reasoning often play a large and legitimate role in the production of art" (Tishman & Perkins, 1997, p. 370). Who Has the Ability to Create Art? Making art is a natural activity for young children. Mark making is their first language (Steele, 1998). Drawing and art making are natural for all 32 children to whom the opportunity to do so has been given. At this early stage, there is not yet the separation of art from other aspects of life, or the separation of those who can from those who cannot make art. Observing young children draw indicates that not only do they do it naturally, but also that they think it is a natural thing to do. To illustrate how automatic making art is for young children, Ikemoto (in Bayles & Orland, 1993) provided this story. "When my daughter was about seven years old, she asked me one day what I did at work. I told her I worked at the college and that my job was to teach people to draw. She stared back at me, incredulous, and said, "You mean they forgot!" (p. 79). As young children progress through subsequent developmental stages and as their experiences and circumstances vary, so too does the natural tendency to make art. Among other influencing factors, formal schooling imposes a major expectation to learn an abstract, written language and offers less support for visual representation. We do not pay much attention to celebrating thinking, or curiosity, or imagination, or creativity in our schools.... Decisions about which forms of representation will be emphasized, which will be marginalized, and which will be absent constitute decisions about the kinds of processes that will be stimulated, developed and refined. In short, in schools we influence the forms of cognitive competency that students will develop by providing opportunities for development to occur. In education, we are in the construction business. (Eisner, 1998, pp. 28, 51) For many young children, this is the start of an altered view of art. "The desire to make art begins early. Among the very young this is encouraged (or at least indulged as harmless) but the push toward a "serious" education soon exacts a heavy toll on dreams and fantasies" (Bayles & Orland, 1993, p. 12). 33 Returning to the issue of who has the ability to create art, research has found that "there is a normal distribution of visual arts-related abilities among school age children... that talent in the visual arts is a normally distributed human characteristic, as is intelligence" (Clark, 1993, pp. 76, 74). As Zimmerman (1990) surveyed the literature for findings about art and intelligence, she pointed to the work done in this area by Hollingworth, who referred to aptitudes to making art as talent. More studies related to art ability confirmed earlier findings, that "art talent is normally distributed in the population and can be identified" (Clark & Zimmerman, 1995, p. 400). This conclusion that the concept of creating art is not reserved for a select few, is particularly significant when exploring beliefs about ability to create art. "The nature of artistic activity is a unique and universal potential of all human organisms" (Langan, 1998, p. 28). Langan's use of the word potential is significant, implying that not all people choose to create art, but that the possibility to do so exists for everyone. This conclusion was confirmed by Maggie Ferguson-Dumais, an artist and community arts advocate in central BC, who believes that "everyone has the ability to make art, be art, express themselves in art. We all come with that as part of our package. Art is not for the elite. It belongs to anyone who wants to make an attempt. Give yourself permission" (Mufford, 1999, pp. 12-13). Such art advocates would have no difficulty in explaining the value of art making and of the benefits to be gained from involvement in such a creative, personal or social enterprise (Upitis, Soren, Smithrim, 1998). Richmond (1998) listed the processes involved in making art and the contributions offered by this experience. Art making is valuable for the experience of process itself; for the doing, exploring, executing, inventing, and manipulating; for the challenge in finding precisely the right way to give form, shape, and presence to an idea or subject. This involves discipline, close 34 concentration, and persistence. To work at art is to be engaged in living one's life at a level of intense interest and effort that is sometimes rewarded by a successful aesthetic outcome.... Art making develops powers of perception and understanding of visual form, which constitute a very potent way of making sense of, and communicating, the meaning of experience, (p. 14, 19) Unfortunately, such benefits are not realized by some people who choose not to participate in art making. What starts as a natural and spontaneous activity for young children is not necessarily sustained over time; generally, people reject art making some time during childhood. Langan (1998) suggested that this evolving perception about art is the result of various influencing factors. "The atrophying of artistic activity is not a peculiarity of individuals but a consequence of cultural-educational conceptions of what is art and non-art and who is and is not creative" (p. 30). An examination of a long time debate will shed further light on this dilemma. The Nature versus Nurture Debate about Ability to Create Art A fairly widespread belief is that artistic talent is an innate gift; that only some people are able to draw, paint, or create art works. Many people would state that they are not able to draw because they were not born with the required talent to make art. This line of thinking concludes that either you have the ability and talent, or you do not. The prevailing belief is that "art rests fundamentally upon talent, and that talent is a gift randomly built into some people and not into others. In common parlance, either you have it or you don't, great art is a product of genius" (Bayles & Orland, 1993, p. 2). In the nature - nurture debate that has repeatedly surfaced in education, this line of thinking would conclude that when it comes to making art, it is clearly a case of nature. Because many people attribute art making to a divine talent and 35 inspiration, they do not give serious thought to the process of making art (Emery, 1993). They tend to dismiss themselves from art making and dismiss art from their lives. Several research findings suggest that it is not a matter of either nature or nurture, but of both. Zimmerman (1990) said that both nature and nurture are part of the picture, recognizing the role of both inherited ability and the influence of instruction, "The creative aspects of making art, the imagination and aesthetic judgment were influenced by learning mediated by hereditary factors" (p. 199). Even though researchers have said that everyone has the potential for creating art, many would dispute that statement and rebut with, "Not me, I can't draw". Being able to draw is generally thought to be the prerequisite of making art. Many people state convincingly that they cannot make art. They 'know' they were not gifted with art talent. One explanation for the apparent discrepancy between those who seem to be able to make art and those who cannot is the issue of degree. Everyone has the potential or the ability to create art, but like many other activities in which humans engage, competency is more readily developed for some people than it is for others. A n important clarification is that ability to create art is not a dichotomous issue which suggests that one can make art or cannot make art, but rather is a matter of degrees (Zimmerman, 1990). Furthering work in this area, Clark and Zimmerman (1995) found that the difference in degrees of art making talent is a result of development. Drawing and other art behaviors of highly able and less able students share many similar characteristics and differ mainly in degree. It is not possible to identify any student behaviours or specific drawing characteristics as unique to high-ability students; all students draw basically similar things and in similar ways. Al l 36 students possess talent, but some will develop it to a small degree, most to an average amount, and some will develop it to considerable heights, (p. 401) From their study of students aged nine to fifteen who were identified as gifted in the visual arts, the students' ideas of themselves and their art talent further illustrates that art talent is a matter of degree. The views of these young people included: "1. They did not view gifted and talented persons as very different from others; 2. They believed giftedness can be attained by hard work; 3. They experienced little negative reaction from others to being labeled gifted or talented; 4. They had favorable views of themselves and academically and artistically gifted students in general; and 5. They did not want to be perceived as outstanding or too different from others" (Clark & Zimmerman, 1995, p. 405). A brief look at some recent brain research will help to explain how art talent can be a matter of degree rather than simply a case of nature or nurture. "According to many brain researchers, there is no controversy. We need both the natural material of a healthy brain and a supportive and nurturing environment. While the human brain might be hard-wired at birth, experience further helps to mold each person as a very unique individual" (Rettig & Rettig, 1999, p. 20). A number of researchers have verified the connection between experiences and brain development (Caine & Caine, 1991; Shepherd, 2000). The term hard-wiring and role of experience need further explanation. Sylwester (1995) explained the connection between being hard- wired at birth and experience. The basic genetic development pattern for our brain is quite simple and straightforward: (1) create an initial excess of cells and connections among related areas - in effect, temporarily wire up 37 everything to everything, (2) use emotion, experience, and learning to strengthen the useful connections, and then prune away the unused and inefficient, and (3) maintain enough synaptic flexibility (commonly called plasticity) to allow neural network connections to shift about throughout life as conditions change and new problem- solving challenges emerge, (p. 126) One might say in simple terms that if you don't use it you lose it. Caine and Caine (1991) have used the term "brain plasticity" to describe the phenomenon of experience contributing to brain development, explaining: The physical structure of the brain changes as the result of experience... our biologically growing brain also builds new connections based on what we experience. These new connections constitute a part of what we bring to other experiences, (pp. 27-28) Eisner (1998) supported this outcome as he discussed the development of the mind. Human cognitive abilities are not simply given and fixed at birth; they are achieved. What people are able to do in the course of their lives, in large measure, is a function of the opportunities they have to learn. What one does not or is not permitted to use, one loses, (p. 16) The implications for art education regarding this information on brain development are clear. Learning experiences that are meaningful to the students and that use a variety of skills and senses will ensure that the connections and branching within the brain necessary for art making remain connected and developed. "Researchers indicate that experience is the factor that causes neural growth.... Therefore, while we are born with a certain 38 prescribed genetic makeup, the opportunities to learn that we are provided throughout our life, and particularly in our formative years help to create us as unique individuals" (Rettig & Rettig, 1999, p. 20). This of course implies that art activities need to be a regular part of young children's lives in order to ensure that they will keep those particular brain connections and will be able to make art as adults. Related to this is not only the provision of art activities, but the nature of these art activities. They need to be designed to require thinking, to require the students to make their own decisions while they create their own images. "For students to fully meet their potential in the classroom, and later in life, they need routine latitude for self-direction in their learning" (Rettig & Rettig, 1999, p. 20). Those art projects that are pre- determined and are a matter of merely following prescribed steps will not promote this self-directed learning. If research tells us that everyone has the potential to create art; that the difference in ability is only a matter of degrees not giftedness; that it is not a case of nature versus nurture, the question remains, why do many people choose not to create art? The Discontinuation of Creating Art The prevailing belief that only a few people are born artists leaves all other people with the identity of being non-artist. Several ideas accompany the identity of non-artist and explain why many people make the choice to distance themselves from making art. "It's easy to imagine that real artists know what they're doing, and that they, unlike you, are entitled to feel good about themselves and their art. Fear that you are not a real artist causes you to undervalue your work" (Bayles & Orland, 1993, p. 24). The fear of failure or of making mistakes is a powerful feeling. Avoidance of the source of fear is often seen as the best solution. "You find reasons to procrastinate, since to 39 not work is to not make mistakes" (Bayles & Orland, 1993, p. 30). The high expectations set for the appearance of the final product when making art is what often leads to a concern for making mistakes. It would be ideal if this pressure could be removed from art making. Gamble (1999) suggested that teachers do just that. Encourage your students to celebrate the process, rather than focus only on the finished product. For all artists, in all media, there are many failures and many more just mediocre pieces. If the end always had to justify the means, few of us would stick with making art for very long. (p. 41) An understanding of this identity as non-artist and the accompanying fear explains why many people stop making art. Given the effort required to counter fear, it would be quite difficult to do otherwise. Those who continue to make art are those who have learned how to continue, or more precisely, have learned how not to quit... Artists quit when they convince themselves that their next effort is already doomed to fail... What separates artists from ex-artists is that those who challenge their fears continue; those who don't quit. (Bayles & Orland, 1993, p. 9,10,14) A fuller awareness of the processes involved when creating art, in particular, image development challenges, will further illuminate the concerns regarding making art. The Process of Making Art It has already been stated that creating art is hard work. "The physical aspects of art making included setting up, gathering materials, becoming dirty, 40 and sweating" (James, 1997, p. 84). Citing Meirer's work, Zimmerman (1990) listed "manual skill, energy output, and preservation and general intelligence" (p. 199) as some of the requirements of creating art. Various cognitive processes are required when creating art, as found by Emery (1989) in her study of art making and thinking. The four steps or processes included: 1. recognition of an unresolved problem, 2. establishing a search for intentionally, which is most often activated in the process of constructing and not before it. 3. the role of play, the freedom to explore, and 4. expression in art making and thinking. The willingness to approach art making as a problem solving venture is necessary for creative art making. James (1997) referred to the research conducted by Csikszentmihalyi (1988) on how students learn artistic creativity. The researchers found that a significant factor in creative performance is the student's ability to formulate a novel problem. When a student with a 'discovery-oriented attitude' engages in open-ended exploration, he or she is able to make sense of the artistic problems and solutions that emerge during the working process. (James, 1997, p. 76) Learning specific art processes and learning about various materials are quite straightforward. This is not the case with the image development stage of making art. Transforming a lump of clay, a blank sheet of paper, or a piece of metal into a work of art is the ultimate challenge of making art. "Unlike many other school tasks, imagination and individuality are critical to successful production in art" (Eisner, 1998, p. 118). As Gamble (1999) considered the image development process facing his art students, he found that either they had minimal ideas, or they had too many ideas to settle on a focus for the art project. "I think young artists, students, don't know how to 41 tackle all those thoughts that swim in their heads. They don't know how to focus on one idea or a group of ideas in order to get them out of their heads and into a 2-D or 3-D form" (p. 17). Another hurdle related to image development is the expectation of having to come up with the ultimate picture, with something that somehow measures up to many of the artworks already seen, usually created by professional artists. A reluctance to experiment with possible images is often the result of this hurdle. Because the progression from a starting point to the ultimate artwork is overwhelming, many people do not freely explore the options between those two points. Much of the fear of making art is centered on the perceptions of what constitutes 'good' art. "The belief persists among some artists and lots of ex- artists that doing art means doing things flawlessly, ignoring the fact that this prerequisite would disqualify most existing works of art" (Bayles & Orland, 1993, p. 30). Again, the fear of mistakes or poor quality outcomes hinder efforts. The multiple refinements, efforts, practice, and changes that are actually part of image development are somehow not associated with art making as readily as they are with writing. Sometimes, image development challenges are lessened when working with familiar subjects. As with literary works or any other creative endeavour, often the most suitable idea is the immediate one. "Unfortunately, students and teachers rarely realize that the best subjects are often those with which they are most familiar or passionate. When you direct your creativity toward a subject that means something to you, the ideas flow so fast it is often hard to choose just one" (Gamble, 1999, p. 17). An additional image development challenge is the mismatch of ideas for images with the skills required to produce the final project. Many people may have ideas from which they would like to create pictures or sculptures, 42 but they have not taken the time or had the opportunity to develop the skills to convert the ideas to a physical artwork. In addition to the problem solving processes of creating art works, various surrounding expectations can pose additional pressures. In a study to investigate children's art making and thinking, Emery (1989) found that when children engage in art making activities, they had to make decisions about three things, "How will I make something that my peers and teachers will accept? How can I construct this work of art? What will it represent?" (p. 238). These perceived expectations, the need for peer approval, the physical and logistical problems, and the need for meaning in the image, add stress to art making activities. To Copy or Not to Copy A brief look at one specific aspect of art making, the issue of copying, warrants investigation because it is often a major issue in elementary art education. One of the values about art within our society is the originality of images. There is an expectation that new artworks are unique and are not duplicates of artworks previously created. A comparative expectation can be found in the literary arts. It is expected that a new novel will be an original writing and not a copy of a novel already published by another author. This expectation of originality of image presents another challenge for those who would be involved in creating art. How does one come up with original images? In one sense, some artists do use a type of copying for some art projects. For example, an artist who is creating a painting of a landscape by looking directly at a scene may be thought to be copying. In reality, even this type of art making requires many decisions and personal choices to be made by the artists while looking at the landscape scene and creating an image of it. This is very different from the possible scenario of someone making a 43 duplicate of a painting of that same landscape. "There is frequently a confusion between copying as an attempt to make fairly exact imitation of an original, as ordinarily defined, and copying as something rather less than an exact copy" (Smith, 1985, pp. 149). Artists often make use of visual references by looking at something when creating images. Duncum (1988) referred to this as interpretive copying and suggested that it was necessary for all but the very exceptional few. Applying this issue, to copy or not to copy, to art education, the question is: How do teachers deal with copying within their art programs? Langan (1998) conducted a study with elementary preservice students on the topic of copying and found, surprisingly, that many were in favour of copying in art lessons if it made things easier for the students. "The preservice students are likely to latch on to information that is perceived to be beneficial to children because of the students' dedicated attitude, they care about kids" (p. 36). If copying, tracing, borrowing images or imitation in some way is perceived to alleviate children's struggles in making art, then the preservice teachers thought it was appropriate to use such approaches. Unfortunately, the opinion that copying makes things easier for young children often leads to a type of art program that is non-creative and therefore, misses some of the developmental benefits of art activities that are creative and problem solving in nature (Gaitskell et al, 1982; Herberholtz, 1996). It would be a helpful service to many elementary generalist teachers to receive some clarification about the issue of copying in art education. It is appropriate to show pictures, objects, and artworks to students in order to stimulate possibilities or to provide visual information, such as how the petals of an iris fall from the center, or the characteristics of the cubist style of imagery. However, the intent of using pictures or artworks in this way would be for reference information, not for duplicating. Children need to create 44 their own images by thinking for themselves and not merely duplicating or colouring pictures (Langan, 1998). Can Art Making Skills be Developed? Can one be taught the skills needed to create art? Considering the belief held by many that you are either born with the talent to create art or you are not, and considering the research findings that ability in art is a matter of degrees, (Clark & Zimmerman, 1995), this becomes a key question. As has already been discussed, the ability to create art involves more than following instructions to manipulate materials and processes. Art making skills include the ability to deal with visual problem solving in order to create original images. Often the ability to draw is an integral part of all art making processes. Is art making a natural talent only, or can it be developed? Researchers have found that it is possible to develop the ability to create art through various learning experiences. Clark and Zimmerman (1995) who have researched the concept of art talent, have concluded that "talent development in the visual arts is not an automatic consequence of a student's maturation, but is a learned set of abilities greatly influenced by educational opportunities" (p. 400). The fact that art talent does not automatically evolve with maturation implies that instruction or learning opportunities of some sort must be available to ensure that art making skills will develop. Smith-Shank (1993) also stated the need for instruction if one is to be able to draw. "If students don't draw well, they haven't been taught. Drawing is really not magic and actually can be taught" (p. 50). There are a number of different types of skills that are part of the process of creating art. Not only are the technical skills of drawing or of handling specific art processes teachable, but many researchers argue that creativity can also be developed. Maken, White and Owen (1996) found that 45 "when students who were given explicit assistance in how to be creative in their art making, their creativity increased and was judged higher than the work of students who were neither experiencing evaluation nor assisted in creative behaviors" (p. 227). This finding is significant given that creativity is a cognitive process crucial to the creation of original imagery. Art making skills are not used in isolation, but are interrelated. Fortunately, ability in viewing and responding to art can also be developed through instruction. Richmond (1998) stated that "the development of sharpened perceptual abilities enables students better to engage with existing artworks, which, in their turn, complement, inspire, and inform ongoing artistic practice" (p. 16). Confirming that art making skills can be learned, the difference in art making outcomes as a result of instruction can be formally determined. Clark (1993) developed a test, Clark's Drawing Ability Test (CDAT), to determine students' ability in art. He found that: a year of direct instruction in a classroom with an art teacher will change significantly the results all students show on successive administrations of the CDAT.. . Students can be taught skills and techniques that change their test performance significantly... The test should be used to reveal each student's need for instruction and to help improve students' abilities to be expressive and value art experiences, (p. 74, 79) The development of art making skills is essential because achievement is directly related to the extent to which these art making skills are developed and used. "The amount of talent a person develops will effectively control and limit his or her capacities to learn and perform tasks related to the visual arts" (Clark & Zimmerman, 1995, p. 401). It would be unfortunate for students if instruction and various learning opportunities were withheld and 46 as a result, the development of their art making abilities curtailed. Clark (1993) stated that even though skill-building needs vary with different areas needing attention or emphasis for some students, depending on their level and existing skills, "the need for instruction is equal across all groups" (p. 79). The issue of providing instruction in schools to young children has been debated within art education for decades, with various approaches being promoted, from very formal and prescriptive art instruction of the early 1900s when art education became part of the public school system (Fast, 1999) to a trend popular in the 1960s which suggested that young children should be allowed to freely express themselves without the interference of instruction (Lowenfeld, 1985; Michaels, 1991). "Art talent would develop if students were left on their own and provided with many art materials and emotionally supportive teachers" (Clark & Zimmerman, 1995, p. 400). This 'myth' of art education was disputed by Eisner (1974) and others. Even though art education as a discipline has moved beyond that approach to promote creative art making (Gaitskell, Hurwitz, Day, 1982) and the need for a multi- faceted art program (Zahner, 1985), the non-interference approach lingers still. "The persuasive concepts were: children are more creative when left alone: creativity is free, unstructured, spontaneous, divergent; and art should be fun, playful, and somehow unfettered by the world of work" (Wright, 1990, p. 52). This attitude about children and making art continued and "became tacit belief structures for generations of art teachers" (Wright, 1990, p. 51). In recent discussions with elementary generalist teachers, I have heard similar comments about their preference for non-interference with student art, both in the making of the art and the evaluation of that art. However, the research related to the need for and benefits of instruction in the area of art making counters this lingering belief. "Students need to be taught meaningful content and functional skills. They can then advance to the stage of personal 47 inventiveness. They need to be encouraged to be 'making art'" (Wright, 1990, p. 56). An obvious aspect of providing instruction is the realization that learning needs vary with the age of the students. Much information has been made available regarding the artistic development stages of children (Gaitskell et al., 1982). Learning activities in art must be designed with these stages in mind. As Langan (1998) indicates, one of the significant artistic development stage landmarks is the need to have drawings appear real and accurate. "We know that as development unfolds, the child begins to desire a method with which to produce realistic representations. The question is how to provide the teaching necessary when the child is ready to learn" (p. 30). Efforts must be made to meet these varying needs through instruction because "access t̂o well-organized, developmental sequences of learning experiences is vitally important, because such experiences allow a student's potential talent to be developed and realized" (Clark & Zimmerman, 1995, p. 402). One might consider these research findings about the development of art making skills and agree that they apply to young children who are able to acquire new skills, but wonder about adults. Can adults who believe they are not able to create art also develop the skills and abilities to make their own artworks? James (1997) conducted a study in order to understand how an adult student who is a non-art major makes sense out of a studio environment. The initial recognition of the student was that, "she brought a distinctive combination of abilities, beliefs, and experiences to the class" (p. 74). After dropping out of high school and a lapse of 10 years, she enrolled in university and took a studio course to fulfill a liberal arts elective requirement. She not only had no art background, she thought good art 48 should be functional, and thought the art she was exposed to in the studio was junk. However, she did achieve success by the end of the course. Although she had been inexperienced in the technology, concepts and creative processes involved in making sculpture, she learned how to manipulate and transform metal, to take creative risks, and to go beyond stereotypical images to make sculpture that was technically proficient as well as formally and conceptually interesting, (p. 83) This example provides evidence that it is possible for adults who have no background in art nor a self-identity as an artist to develop the ability to create art. This conclusion is particularly significant for the professional development of elementary generalist teachers who typically have little or no background in art. Factors Which Influence Art Making In addition to formal instruction, several factors have been found to influence one's disposition to pursue art making. Having investigated Hollingworth's research into art talent, Zimmerman (1990) reported that many factors influence the probability of making art, including "family history, environment, physique and movement, and temperament and interests" (p. 200). The influence of parents and the home environment is significant to art making considerations. Upon reflecting on her early influences, an artist attributed her pursuit of art to her father's belief that all humans can express beauty through art (Mufford, 1999). A similar finding was reported in Clark and Zimmerman's (1995) work with artistically talented students who "reported that their talents were reinforced by various family members who 49 encouraged their art making and their art interest both at home and in school" (p. 404). Reports about the importance of teachers and the school environment surfaced frequently during investigations of art making. Burton (1996) profiled a longitudinal study conducted by Csikszentmihalyi, Rathunde and Whalen (1988) who investigated art talent in 208 students, and found that teachers played a significant role in the students' development of their talent by providing support and challenge. The students appreciated most those teachers who were supportive of them, who challenged them to become deeply involved in their work, and who also modeled enjoyable involvement in their fields outside the classroom. (Burton, 1996, p. 50) The experience of an adult student was also affected by the influence of the instructor, enthusiasm being a particularly essential characteristic to model. By connecting art making to the affective realm, the professor encouraged Sara to be open to her own feelings, to experience pleasure in creative processes and to care about her work. The physical and social environment of the class was stimulating and supportive, which are important qualities for nurturing creative work. The professor's expressive manner and students' lively participation promoted a climate of mutual engagement. (James, 1997, p. 85) Another study by Makin, White, and Owen (1996) found that the teacher's reactions and responses to what the students were doing in their art activities did have an influence on their work. The specific way in which the teachers in the study "encouraged children's creativity and imagination" through their "encouragement to remain with the activity and by their active efforts to 50 persuade children to articulate, share, and extend their ideas" (p. 242) affected their art making. A convincing research finding related to the influence of schools and teachers upon students' feelings and disposition to create art came from Smith-Shank's (1992) study in which she found that "in the reflections which included positive and then negative memories, there was always a significant episode or teacher that precipitated an attitude change toward art" (p. 22). Peers also play a role in ideas about art making. Students of most ages are concerned about the reactions from their peers. "The persuasive power of a strong peer group structure within the class served to filter all artistic making tasks. This was the most unexpected outcome from the research study. It suggested that outer forces played a critical determining role in the artistic making and thinking of each child" (Emery, 1989, p. 239). It seems to be a human trait to seek approval from others, which, as Bayles and Orland (1993) explained, gives the 'others' a kind of power. "Acceptance and approval are powers held by others, whether they be friends, classmates, curators" (p. 42). It is also the case that students gain ideas and learn from each other during art making activities (Emery, 1989). Regardless of the source of the influence, art making was most likely to continue in a setting that was supportive and challenging. "For those artists, survival means finding an environment where art is valued and art making is encouraged" (Bayles & Orland, 1993, p. 46). Elementary Generalist Art Teachers As suggested by their title, elementary generalist teachers are generally rather than specifically prepared in all subjects. Most elementary generalist teachers do not have a specialization or even a strong background in art (Galbraith, 1993; Grauer, 1995). As a result, they would be reluctant to accept 51 that part of this title which identifies them as art teachers. In addition to thinking that they are not art teachers, they often have anxiety about art. However, this group of teachers plays an enormously important role in art education. The Role of Elementary Art Education The importance of art in the elementary grades is undeniable. In most jurisdictions, art is taken in all eight elementary grades by all children. At no other time in formal education does art reach all children. These beginning years provide the experiences that are essential for children's future ideas about art. Whatever the nature and quality of an elementary art program, it wi l l lay the foundation for future perceptions and dispositions about art. The art experiences in these grades wi l l determine future enjoyment of art, the disposition to view and create art, and the potential decision to study art in secondary grades. Having in each of the eight elementary grades an art program that is rich with variety, creative in its explorations, relevant in its connections to the students' lives, informative in its content knowledge, and supportive in its skill development wi l l provide a basis upon which students wi l l base many future decisions about art. With a foundation provided by that type of an art program, they are likely to choose to continue to work with art rather than to have it end at the point in schooling when it is no longer mandatory; are likely to see the value in art experiences for their growth and development rather than seeing it merely as decoration and fun; are likely to look at art, buy art, create art, and support art as adults rather than considering it as merely a peripheral and frivolous part of society. These beginning years are so important because they establish future dispositions towards art, and "without attention to dispositions in curricula, there is little hope that students wi l l continue to be interested in art once they leave the classroom" 52 (Kowalchuk, 1999b, p. 16). The importance of the elementary teacher who provides these art experiences, cannot be ignored, as was reinforced by Carter (1993): As elementary teachers orchestrate classroom activities, they involve children in experiences which either enhance or retard creative and artistic growth and are influential in forming student attitudes and beliefs related to the visual arts. Teachers who "don't have time" and exclude visual arts experiences from the classroom curriculum play a role in developing students' beliefs that art is not important. Teachers who utilize coloring sheets and patterned activities are telling students that imitation is more important than the uniqueness of individual ideas, and that products are more important than experience and learning through processes. So the classroom teachers' role in art education is a powerful force which deserves serious attention and definition relative to the purpose of art education, (p. 52-53) Goodwin (1997) concurred by arguing that "without the arts to help shape perception and imagination, our children stand every chance of growing into adulthood culturally disabled" (p. 108). Considering the vital role played by elementary art programs, it would then be helpful to gain an understanding of the teachers who offer these programs. Elementary Generalist Teachers A careful look at the typical beginning elementary generalist teacher will reveal someone who is unlikely to have taken any art after elementary grades and someone who has art anxiety (Smith-Shank, 1992). The most prominent factor about elementary generalist teachers that is significant to art education is that they have little or no background in art (Day, 1997; Galbraith, 1991; Grauer, 1995; Katter, 2000; McSorley, 1996). A study of 600 elementary 53 generalist preservice teachers conducted over a 10 year period (McCoubrey, 1997) revealed that only 5% were engaged in any form of art production as adults or had formal post secondary art education, and further, 85% had their last art course or experience in grade six or seven. This lack of background in art leads to two significant characteristics of this group of teachers. First, they have minimal art subject matter knowledge, an essential prerequisite for teaching art (Grauer, 1995). This lack of content knowledge is a fact which, according to Kowalchuk (1999a) is a handicap for effective art teaching. "Teachers' content knowledge becomes a critical foundation in the practice of learning to teach, and instruction is shaped by what teachers know and do not know about the subjects they teach" (p. 74). Grauer's (1995) study of preservice teachers highlighted the fact that subject matter knowledge was most lacking in teachers who are elementary generalists. "This study would suggest that elementary generalist preservice teachers do not possess even moderately developed subject matter knowledge in art. Their beliefs toward art were not based on knowledge but on personal or school-enculturated experience" (Grauer, 1995, p. 163). Elementary preservice teachers do not emphasize the importance of knowledge of subject matter as much as secondary preservice teachers (Weinstein, 1989). This is not surprising given the student centered focus of the education system at the elementary level and the subject centered focus of the secondary system. However, accurate subject matter knowledge must be part of all art teachers' knowledge if quality art teaching is to be provided. "Attributes such as warmth, caring, and enthusiasm are obviously desirable, nonetheless, conceptions of teaching that omit cognitive concerns are incomplete and tend to diminish the importance of pedagogical and subject matter knowledge" (Weinstein, 1989, p. 59). 54 The second factor which is an outcome of this lack of background experiences in art is that most elementary generalists have art anxiety (Galbraith, 1993; Smith-Shank, 1992). Having such limited experiences and education in the subject of art and facing the challenge of teaching an area that requires personal creation, anxiety is not a surprising response. Preservice elementary teachers are a unique group of people who have had special and unique encounters with art education.... They perceive themselves as failures. Without coercion, they w i l l continue to hesitate to plan for art activities in their elementary classrooms. (Smith-Shank, 1992, p. 35, 37) Knowledge is domain specific (McDiarmid, 1993). Learning activities must be designed to match the nature of knowledge that is specific to each subject area. Therefore, conceptions of teaching art are embedded in one's knowledge of art. "Learning to teach art is very much entwined with one's knowledge of the way concepts embedded in specific disciplines are accurately or inaccurately conceptualized by students" (Galbraith, 1997, p. 67). The expectation placed on elementary generalist teachers is tremendous, that of designing and delivering the learning programs for all curriculum areas. These teachers are expected to be masters of all subject areas. Even though it may be considered desirable to have art specialists teach art in elementary as well as secondary schools, the reality of hiring practices is such that only a very few jurisdictions have art specialists in the elementary schools (Carter, 1993; Day, 1999; Galbraith, 1993). The reality that exists and therefore must be acknowledged is that generalist teachers are responsible for the art education of most of our youth. A n awareness of the powerful role played by the teacher in a classroom makes this reality even more significant. 55 The Role of the Classroom Teacher Even though many factors influence education, such as mandated curricula, administrative directives, mentoring colleagues, available resources, and professional development opportunities, the actual learning experiences of elementary students are determined by the classroom teacher. The existence and quality of an art program is determined by the teacher who designs the art activities which are offered to the children. There is much agreement among educators that it is the teacher in the classroom who makes the art program, the art curriculum (Bolin, 1999; Grauer, 1995; Gray & MacGregor, 1991; Hickman & Hall, 1995). No other factor is as crucial to art education as the classroom teacher. The reality in schools is that the teacher has the sole responsibility for developing and implementing the art curriculum... Teachers are left to develop and devise their own curricula to meet their levels of expertise and knowledge and particular ideas of what constitutes the discipline of art. (Grauer, 1997, p. 74-75) Curricula are written and distributed, but it is the individual classroom teacher who makes the decision to implement or not to implement that curriculum. The principal of a school may be more or less supportive of arts programming, but it is the individual teacher who decides what will take place in the classroom. Budgets, class size, evaluation expectations, technology, and resources are among the many issues that regularly surface within education and which do have an effect on the nature and quality of education to a certain extent. However, it is the classroom teacher who must generate and design activities and decide the daily experiences for the children in each class. The reality is that "to hire a teacher is to hire a curriculum" (Gray & MacGregor, 1991, p. 286) 56 Even though the constructivist theory claims that "it is the student who decides whether or not the understanding constructed in the classroom is viable" (Cochran, et al., 1993, p. 276), it is the classroom teacher who has the responsibility of designing the experiences in a manner that will facilitate the learners' construction of meaning. The transformation of subject matter for teaching occurs as the teacher critically reflects on and interprets the subject matter and finds multiple ways to represent the information as analogies, metaphors, examples, problems, demonstrations, and classroom activities; adapts the material to students' abilities, gender, prior knowledge, and preconceptions (those preinstructional, informal, or nontraditional ideas students bring to the learning setting); and finally tailors the material to those specific students to whom the information will be taught. (Cochran, et al., 1993, p. 264) It logically follows then that the generalist teachers' knowledge about art is essential, as confirmed by Katter (2000): Prospective elementary teachers must be owners and users of a broad knowledge base that includes dance, music, theater and the visual arts. Only if prospective teachers have participated in the construction of knowledge within these disciplines will they be able to model the acquisition and use of arts knowledge within their classrooms, (p. 3) Unfortunately, as has been stated previously, elementary generalists have minimal expertise or knowledge about art and perhaps even have some distorted ideas of what constitutes the discipline of art. A n additional outcome of this lack of knowledge about art is a general avoidance of this curriculum area, an outcome which is a tremendous loss of learning opportunities for the students. 57 One specific example of the degree to which generalist teachers participate or do not participate in art education can be found in the results of a recent survey of the teachers whose students' artworks were selected for the Crayola Dream-makers® traveling art exhibit. Of the respondents, 84 teachers were art specialists and 1 teacher was a generalist (Leshnoff, 1999). Many generalists would not even consider responding to an invitation to submit their students' artworks, worrying that their submissions would not meet the selection criteria of the exhibit. Leshnoff's (1999) study also found that art specialist teachers provided a balance of kinds of art activities, involved both making and responding to art, and included discussing and critiquing art in their art programs. During art lessons, these teachers were significantly involved with the students as they worked on the art activities. And perhaps the most significant finding of the survey was that 82% of the art specialist teachers created their own artworks. How many generalists create their own artworks? The question seems to be significant with respect to the art education programs they offer to their students. Beginning Teachers In order to more fully understand the nature of the participants in my study, an examination of the literature on beginning teachers will reveal the circumstances and nature of these teachers. The terms 'beginning teachers' and 'novice teachers' are used interchangeably in the literature. There is clearly a difference between beginning teachers and experienced or expert teachers. From his studies with beginning teachers, Berliner (1993) found that it takes up to five years for a teacher to reach full development and effectiveness. As a result, various needs and circumstances, several of which are examined here, are distinctive to beginning teachers. 58 Novice teachers have established a vision of teaching before they actually start teaching. In fact, a study of first year teachers by Brown and Wendel (1993) indicated that preservice teachers' beliefs about education are well established when they enter a teacher education program, and that they carry those beliefs with them into their initial teaching job. These beliefs about teaching are "so established in advance of their first year of teaching, that there is little or no change at all in those beliefs. Rather, new teachers expect students to adjust to their plans, their teaching style, and their activities" (p. 70). Choice of instructional strategies is another factor which was considered in the Brown and Wendel study (1993), with the finding that "new teachers' beliefs are based on the view that teaching is merely transmitting knowledge, and better described as status quo rather than research-based and 'state of the art'" (p. 70). In part, this tendency is attributed to a fundamental survival challenge felt by most beginning teachers, that of classroom management. "These teachers seemed hesitant to plan non-lecture activities for students due to the belief that these may lead to classroom control problems" (p. 70). Considering this same issue in relation to the teaching of art by beginning generalist teachers, a serious concern surfaces beyond the question of which instructional strategy will be used. Even if transmission is the chosen instructional strategy, if the beginning teachers do not have adequate subject matter knowledge in art, what will they transmit to the students? This seems to be a more desperate situation than if the beginning teachers might try to facilitate the students' construction of their own knowledge about art, in which case, the learning of the students is not totally dependent on the knowledge base of the teacher. However, Mosenthal and Ball (1992) would disagree. "If teachers' knowledge of the subject matter is important in 59 learning about or guiding students' attempts to construct meaning, then teachers' "deep" subject matter knowledge is a prerequisite to constructivist teaching" (p. 355). Because beginning teachers have not yet grounded their teaching practice in personal philosophy or experiences, many other sources inform their decisions about teaching. Even though Brown and Wendel's (1993) study of first year teachers looked specifically at their beliefs about lesson planning, many of the findings would apply to other areas of teaching as well. "The novice teachers indicated that many of their beliefs about lesson planning were derived from one of the following three sources: teacher education courses, recollections of how their own teachers taught, and their principal's requirements" (p. 64). Beginning teachers are still building a bank of ideas and resources, and are still finding ways to deal with behaviour challenges and learning needs. They seek solutions from wherever possible and so eagerly accept recommendations from a variety of informants. The big challenge then facing novice teachers is to sort through all this information. Rather than designing and creating their own units of studies and activities, beginning teachers seemed to be dependent on pre-planned curriculum materials. They felt that "commercially-produced resources should be used routinely to help save teacher time devoted to planning" (Brown & Wendel, 1993, p. 71). When this dependency on commercial teaching resources is considered in relation to art, one wonders about the content and quality of those materials, and about the 'standardizing' of art by using a generic, formula approach. Even though it is helpful to examine specific technical aspects of teaching, such as lesson planning, instructional strategies, or curriculum implementation in relation to beginning teachers, Kuzmic (1994) has directed our attention to another crucial factor related to beginning teachers, their 60 sense of empowerment. Kuzmic stated that these "individuals have come to be viewed as powerless to resist the biographical or institutional forces which shape their views of teaching so as to conform with traditional norms and values which operate within schools" (p. 16), and that they hold "limited status and power within the bureaucratic hierarchy of schooling" (p. 26). The status that beginning teachers see themselves holding within the overall arena of education, or even within the more immediate area of their classrooms, would be a determining factor in their teaching practice. How do they decide what or how to teach? To what extent should they try out their own ideas? What is the source of their information and the basis of their decisions about art? "Little effort has been made to explore the teaching perspectives of beginning teachers as they are formed, developed and changed over the course of time and within the context of the lived reality of these teachers" (Kuzmic, 1994, p. 16). The characteristics and needs of these novice teachers must be acknowledged when thinking about the teaching of art. Smith-Shank (1992) stated, "I think it's true that no matter what the subject or what the setting, the classroom teacher is the one who ultimately makes the difference" (p 118). This fact is particularly important when considering the nature of art, a subject that is creative and subjective in nature, rather than prescriptive and definitive, and therefore requires a great deal of decision making and personal expression on the part of the teacher. Art is generally not directed by textbook series as many other subjects are, nor is it content-driven due to government exams (Grauer, 1995). The teachers' beliefs, attitudes, and images about art will dictate the quality of the art program offered to young children, the decisions made related to the amount of time given to art, the effort put into preparing for art, the balance and variety in the art program, the conscientiousness of the evaluation practices, and the creative versus copy 61 nature of the art program. The disposition to work toward meeting these basic expectations of the discipline will be up to the teachers and their beliefs about art education. The presence of art anxiety in elementary teachers will undoubtedly influence the type, amount, and quality of art that will be experienced by students in their classrooms.... These elementary education majors with histories of intimidating encounters with art will be responsible for teaching art, a subject they fear, hate, and sincerely believe they cannot do or understand. Their attitudes about art will undoubtedly influence the quality, effectiveness, type, and amount of art experiences that will be offered in their classrooms. (Smith-Shank, 1995, p. 2-3) Elementary generalists are responsible for the greatest number of years of art education for all children, making them the most significant influence within education on children's evolving understanding and valuing of art. Teachers' Beliefs Defining Teachers' Beliefs A dilemma readily encountered when investigating the literature on teachers' beliefs is how to find a consistent and clear definition of beliefs. Pajares (1992) provided a list of terms that are often substituted for beliefs, making it clearly evident why defining beliefs is difficult. Defining beliefs is at best a game of player's choice. They travel in disguise and often under alias - attitudes, values, judgments, axioms, opinions, ideology, perceptions, conceptions, conceptual systems, preconceptions, dispositions, implicit theories, explicit theories, personal theories, internal mental processes, action strategies, rules of practice, practical principles, perspectives, repertoires of understanding and social strategy to name but a few that can be found in the literature, (p. 309) 62 Tillema (1994) has used the terms beliefs, conceptions, and cognitions interchangeably, but referred to beliefs as being one kind of cognition. Even though there is some difficulty in reaching consistency when defining beliefs, Richardson (1996) suggested that there is: considerable congruence of definitions and that "beliefs" are thought of as psychologically held understandings, premises, or propositions about the world that are felt to be true... beliefs are propositions that are held to be true and are accepted as guides for assessing the future, are cited in support of decisions or are referred to in passing judgment on the behavior of others, (p. 103) Describing some of the characteristics of beliefs extends our understanding of them and the role they play within education. Pajares' (1993) descriptive term for teachers' beliefs was "that hardy but tangled web" (p. 48). Richardson's (1992) descriptors of beliefs include "well established, tenacious, and powerful" (p. 344). Kagan (1992) stated, "Teacher belief is a particularly provocative form of personal knowledge that is generally defined as pre- or inservice teachers' implicit assumptions about students, learning, classrooms, and the subject matter to be taught" (p. 66). The term "lay beliefs" has been used by several researchers in order to further distinguish the types of beliefs. "Lay theories are beliefs developed naturally over time without the influence of instruction" (Vygotsky, 1978, in Holt-Reynolds, 1992, p. 326). This statement draws our attention to the fact that all of life's experiences, not only formal education, contribute to the formation of peoples' beliefs. Therefore, the various experiences related to art contribute to one's ideas or beliefs about art. "Lay theories are the untutored 63 interpretations of personal, lived experiences" (Barclay & Wellman, 1986, in Holt-Reynolds, 1992, p. 326). Interestingly, there is not always logic behind one's beliefs, as pointed out by Schmidt and Kennedy (1990) who found that "experienced teachers' theories are highly eclectic, and individual teachers can hold beliefs that are at both ends of a particular scholarly educational controversy" (in Richardson, 1996, p. 107). Similarly, Nespor (1987) indicated that belief systems, unlike knowledge systems, do not require general or group consensus regarding the validity and appropriateness of their beliefs; that individual beliefs do not even require internal consistency within an individual's overall belief system. It is unlikely that one could investigate the area of beliefs for very long without encountering the debate about beliefs versus knowledge, as many researchers have tried to sort out the overlap and interactions of these two concepts. This, according to several researchers, is 'a daunting undertaking' (Nespor, 1987; Pajares, 1992). Beliefs "do not require a truth condition" (Richardson, 1996, p. 104). Lewis (1990) further illuminated the dovetailing of these two concepts when he explained that "the origin of all knowledge is rooted in beliefs, that ways of knowing are basically ways of choosing values" (in Pajares, 1992, p. 313). Nespor (1987) offered a distinction between beliefs and knowledge. Belief systems are less malleable or dynamic than knowledge systems... Belief systems often include affective feelings and evaluations, vivid memories of personal experiences, and assumptions about the existence of entities and alternative worlds, all of which are simply not open to outside evaluation or critical examination in the same sense that the components of knowledge systems are. (p. 321) 64 In spite of the many different synonyms for teachers' beliefs that appear in the literature, and the supposed difficulty in defining what beliefs are, it seems that Richardson's (1996) comment about there being "considerable congruence of definitions" is valid. Formation of Beliefs Gaining an understanding of beginning teachers' beliefs about art might be assisted by an awareness of how beliefs are formed, how a particular individual comes to believe a certain concept to be true. Lasley (1980) referred to an assortment of sources which contribute to the formation of beliefs. Beliefs evolve as individuals are exposed to the ideas and mores of their parents, peers, teachers, neighbors, and various significant others. They are acquired and fostered through schooling, through the information and observation of others, and through the folklore of a culture, (p. 38) These influences from others are absorbed through experiences. The idea that beliefs are formed as a result of experiences was supported by Tillema (1994) as he explained that beliefs are "rooted in schemata that have been gradually constructed as the result of these experiences" (p. 601). Experiences about art in general have occurred at home, among friends, in schools, and possibly during various phases of one's childhood. It is quite likely that for many people, experiences related to art are limited. Beliefs about education and teaching would have been formed more specifically as a result of experiences in school, and as Kagan (1992) pointed out, everyone has a great deal of that kind of experience. "It is likely that these beliefs have been shaped by the thousands of hours spent in classrooms as students, internalizing models of 65 good and poor teaching" (p. 76). It follows then that beliefs about art education have been formed for the most part as a result of experiences with art in school. "Thus, pedagogical beliefs and practices are guided by the teachers' prior experiences, and research recognizes the impact of teachers' life history on their instructional decisions and beliefs" (Kowalchuk, 1999a, p. 74). Preservice teachers will have constructed their beliefs about art education from their previous life experiences within their own years in school, within their home, and within other experiences around art. An obvious conclusion then is that as life experiences around art will vary, so too will beliefs about art and about art education. "It might be that a constructivist view of learning can be adopted without necessarily assuming any patterns in the beliefs or constructions that individuals use in interpreting their world. Every individual could construct different and idiosyncratic representations of phenomena" (Driver & Bell, 1986, p. 453). An obvious dilemma surfaces when dealing with teachers' beliefs and the issue of forming or changing beliefs, namely, which beliefs are acceptable, which beliefs do we try to confirm and which to we try to change? "It is not possible to write about beliefs without in some way conjuring up the ghosts of manipulation, of political correctness, or of intellectual indoctrination" (Pajares, 1993, p. 52). However, this is where we refer back to the values of the discipline, those current principles that guide good practice within art education. "A resolution to the appropriate content for art education should be the part of the professional responsibility of the art teacher but that decision should not be made by whim or personal preference. Rather, it must be made in conjunction with a knowledge and understanding of the issues in the field" (Grauer, 1997, p. 76). Pajares expressed his confidence in teachers to use those domain specific principles. "I am convinced that all teacher 66 educators have reasonably clear understandings of what constitute appropriate educational beliefs, understandings that are based on personal experience and reliable literature" (Pajares, 1993, p. 52). The Changeability of Beliefs Considering the power of teachers' beliefs (Pajares, 1993; Richardson, 1992), the question of whether or not beliefs can be changed becomes a vital issue within this construct. Beliefs are securely established over time and have been described as strong, durable, and resilient. Is it possible to change beliefs? Several studies have provided evidence that beliefs can be changed (Grauer, 1995; Hollingsworth, 1989; Wilson, 1990). The majority of these studies have been conducted in teacher education programs, rather than at other stages of becoming a teacher. However, it would seem that if change of beliefs does happen, it does not happen easily or quickly. "Beliefs are formed early and tend to self-perpetuate, persevering even against contradictions caused by reason, time, schooling or experience.... The process of accommodating new information and developing beliefs is thus gradual, one of taking initial steps, accepting and rejecting certain ideas, modifying existing belief systems, and finally adopting new beliefs" (Pajares, 1993, p. 46). It has been suggested that beliefs strengthen with time. "The earlier a belief is incorporated into the belief structure, the more difficult it is to alter. Newly acquired beliefs are most vulnerable to change" (Pajares, 1992, p. 318). Presumably, time provides additional experiences to reinforce existing beliefs. Continual confirmation strengthens beliefs. Durability is determined not only by how long a belief has been held, but also by the type of belief it is. Richardson (1996) used the label 'central' to refer to those beliefs that are personal, that directly affect the individual. These "central beliefs are difficult to change" (p. 103). Another factor making some beliefs more difficult to 67 change is what Pajares (1993) referred to as those belonging to 'insiders'. Familiarity with a setting or a circumstance and a commitment to an entity by insiders will make them more protective of their related beliefs. "The process of belief change is difficult and threatening for insiders, for they have made commitments to prior beliefs and see little reason to adjust them. Accommodating new information and adjusting existing beliefs under these familiar circumstance can be nearly impossible" (p. 46). If beliefs are going to change, certain conditions must be met. Pajares (1992) provided two very basic and obvious conditions. "People are unable to change beliefs they are unaware they possess, and they are unwilling to change those they are aware of unless they see good reason to do so" (p. 47). Nespor (1987) confirmed the need to become aware of existing beliefs, and further explained other required conditions if beliefs are to change. Helping teachers and prospective teachers become reflexive and self-conscious of their beliefs, and to be presented with objective data on the adequacy or validity of these beliefs. However, this can result in transformation of teachers' beliefs and practices only if alternative or new beliefs are available to replace the old. (p. 326) Much of what Nespor explained is similar to conceptual change theory (Posner, Strike, Hewson & Gertzog, 1982) which also dealt with the need to replace an existing concept with a new one. Essentially, not only must the old belief be considered unacceptable for some reason, but also the new belief must be considered plausible or a preferred replacement. The authors listed five conditions of the plausibility of a new belief in order to lead to a change in belief. 68 1. One finds it consistent with one's current metaphysical beliefs, and fundamental assumptions. 2. One finds the conception to be consistent with other theories or knowledge. 3. One finds the conception to be consistent with past experience. 4. One finds or can create images for the conception, which match one's sense of what the world is or could be like. 5. One finds the new conception capable of solving problems of which one is aware, (p. 218) As has been verified by these authors, it is possible to change established beliefs, but given the personal nature of beliefs and their strength and durability, such changes will take place only when certain conditions are in place. Connections Between Beliefs and Teaching Practice One of the most important questions about teachers' beliefs that needs to be answered by research, important because of the possible implications for education, is if and how beliefs affect teaching practice. It would seem, based on the definitive tone of some of the following statements, that researchers are confident about the conclusion that there is a connection between beliefs and actions. Not only is Nespor's (1987) statement very clear in relation to this question, he referred to 17 studies to back up his conclusion. Few would argue that the beliefs teachers hold influence their perceptions and judgments, which in turn, affect their behaviour in the classroom, or, that understanding the belief structures of teachers and teacher candidates is essential to improving their professional preparation and teaching practices.... It has become an accepted idea that teachers' ways of thinking and understanding are vital components of their practice, (p. 307, 317) 69 Further confirming the connection between beliefs and practice, Mahlios and Maxon (1995) referred to "root beliefs" as those "beliefs that influence and shape one's actions and ideas" (p. 192). Pajares (1992) left no doubt when he confirmed the connection between beliefs and practice. "Individual's beliefs strongly affect their behaviour" (p. 319). "Convincing research suggests that beliefs are the best predictors of individual behaviour... that teachers' beliefs influence teachers' perceptions and judgments, which, in turn, affect classroom performance" (Pajares, 1993, pp. 45-46). Brown and Wendel (1993) focused their study on lesson planning, but they also found the connection between beliefs and practice. "The findings from this study strongly imply that established beliefs about planning clearly influence the teacher's behavior. The strengths of these beliefs in the minds and teaching behaviors of beginning teachers is significant. Many of these attitudes are unfounded assumptions that can dramatically affect instruction and learning" (p. 70). Several reasons have been given to explain the connection between beliefs and actions, including the notion that they are intrinsic to motivation (Holt-Reynolds, 1992) and that they "frame" or define the task at hand. In fact, "The affective and emotional components of beliefs can influence the ways events and elements in memory are indexed and retrieved and how they are reconstructed during recall. Emotion and affect thus have important implications for how teachers learn and use what they learn" (Nespor, 1987, p. 324). Referring to the debate about beliefs and knowledge, Pajares (1992) compared the power of beliefs and knowledge in influencing practice and concluded that "beliefs are far more influential than knowledge in determining how individuals organize and define tasks and problems and are stronger predictors of behaviour" (p. 311). Pajares (1992) provided additional 70 explanation of the cognitive processes which are affected by beliefs, and therefore explain why there is such a strong connection to actions. "Beliefs are instrumental in defining tasks, and selecting the cognitive tools with which to interpret, plan, and make decisions regarding such tasks, hence, they play a critical role in defining behaviour and organizing knowledge and information" (p. 318). Although it has been determined that beliefs affect action, it has also been found that the relationship between beliefs and actions is reciprocal. "In most current conceptions, the perceived relationship between beliefs and actions is interactive. Beliefs are thought to drive actions, however, experiences and reflection on action may lead to changes in and/or additions to beliefs" (Richardson, 1996, p. 104). This circuitous relationship provides an explanation of how beliefs can be changed. Given the certainty of these statements about how teachers' beliefs affect teaching practice, teachers' beliefs is a construct that should be considered carefully by education researchers. The Preparation of Art Teachers The preparation of elementary generalist teachers is challenging. "Training primary classroom student-teachers is not an easy task, yet it is one that has been seriously overlooked" (Galbraith, 1991, p. 341). One factor which is specific to generalist teachers and which makes their preparation so challenging is the fact that generalist teachers have the responsibility to teach all prescribed subject areas, including art. It follows then that teacher education programs must somehow provide foundational subject and pedagogical knowledge in all these subject areas (Grauer, 1995). This expectation is not always met. In some incidences, there are no mandatory art education courses in elementary teacher education programs (Jeffers, 1993). 71 Some programs do require a mandatory course, but often the number of hours or the length of the module is limited, making it difficult to achieve a significant development in the students' understandings and skills in art education. Novice teachers may then have to resort to recalling their experiences as students for ideas of how to teach art, which in some cases, could mean recalling negative attitudes about art (Smith-Shank, 1992), and could mean the perpetuation of a poor art program. "Memories of how we have been taught serve as powerful models influencing the manner in which we teach" (Hausman, 1991, p. 4). Grauer (1997) also found that "for teachers, much of their understanding of art education is a result of their own school experience" (p. 75). What the preservice teachers believe about art, about their ability to create art, and about art education will depend on their previous experiences with and knowledge of art. The experiences within the teacher education program may alter or change those initial beliefs about art education which will guide novice teachers' decisions about their teaching of art. Or will they? The novice teacher must make the transition from the preparation provided by the teacher education program with its particular emphasis, knowledge, and idealism, to the reality of school life. Will beginning teachers' practices be influenced by the various administrative directives, resource availability, and colleague suggestions, or will their practice stem from their personal beliefs? Or will their practice evolve from a collaboration of all these factors? With so little time within teacher education programs to cover the curriculum area of art, the dilemma becomes what should be included in a course when it is not possible to cover everything that one would need in order to teach art. Day (1986) suggested that a studio component, or art production component is essential. 72 Art teachers must continue to develop strong abilities for the production of art in their preservice college or university professional programs. They will experience in their own work the richness of concept idea and expression manifested by intimate knowledge of the best works of other artists, and they will note the same phenomenon in the creative art work of their students regardless of age level. (Day, 1993, p. 132) Also confirming the need for art teachers to be prepared in art making, Wolfe (1997) made the statement that "artistic competence and the ability to share that capability with students is important to art teacher effectiveness" (p. 233). He offered several other characteristics of a good teacher, including "valuing art education, organizational skills, and awareness of students' developmental and social needs" (p. 243). Day (1986) took the issue of art making by teachers a little further and considered the debate of whether or not an art teacher needs to also be an artist. He argued that this dual role is not a requirement, and in fact suggested it might be better for art teachers to not be artists, citing "incompatibilities between the artist's agenda and the teacher's responsibilities to pupils. The aims and purposes, contexts and modes of working and ultimate commitments are different for artists and teachers" (p. 39). Little (1993) concluded, as Day did, that the artist-teacher model is not ideal, stating instead "that one could not be an accomplished artist and effective teacher at the same time" (p. 17). Although Little's (1993) comments refer to secondary art teachers rather than elementary teachers as targeted in my study, he did emphasize the importance of studio work, suggesting that "art education at the secondary level does require a teacher with sophisticated experience in the productive domain... that sophisticated productive skills must be accompanied by equally sophisticated pedagogical skills if effective teaching is to occur" (p. 24). 73 Because teachers do base teaching decisions on beliefs, "good teachers operate on the basis of their own refined beliefs about the values and purposes of art and art education, and the developmental needs of their students" (Richmond, 1993, p. 378), it is essential that beliefs be addressed at the teacher education level. To not address beliefs may result in a less than desired art teaching practices, as suggested by Grauer (1997): Teacher education in art should be more than the training of specific skills and knowledge. It is not enough for teachers to be capable of replicating their own education in art, or even of promoting the status quo in schools. Rather, teachers should be able to reflect on their own understanding in light of the values and theories that are part of the field of art education, (p. 73) Beginning Teachers' Images of Self as Art Teacher The connection between beginning generalist teachers' beliefs about their own ability to create art and their image of themselves as art teachers, is an important area of investigation for this study. Beginning teachers' images of themselves as teachers clearly set the foundation for their teaching practice. Carter (1996) succinctly stated, "This identity or image of self as teacher is carried into practice settings and influences in profound ways the coping and problem-solving decisions and actions of beginning teachers" (p. 127). The images of self as teacher are powerful in that they influence the way the beginning teachers teach (Bullough, 1991; Cole & Knowles, 1993; Knowles, 1994; McDiarmid, 1990; Nespor, 1987; Rust, 1994). If novice teachers' images of the teachers they aspire to serve as guiding visions for their efforts to become teachers, then gaining an understanding of those images, "the way teachers see themselves as teachers" (Kelchtermans & Vandenberghe, 1994, p. 74 47), how those images are formed, how they are changed, and how they direct actions, is essential for understanding the process of becoming a teacher. "Thus to understand teachers' professional behaviour adequately one needs a thorough analysis of the way teachers see themselves as teachers. The ways in which teachers achieve, maintain, and develop their identity, their sense of self, in and through a career, are of vital dictate" (p. 47). Clandinin (1989) stated that the image is powerful because it is a connecting rod between present, past and future. Image draws both from the present and future in a personally meaningful nexus of experience focused on the immediate situation that called it forth. It reaches into the past, gathering up experiential threads meaningfully connected to the present and it reaches intentionally into the future and creates new meaningfully connected threads as situations are experienced and new situations are anticipated from the perspective of the image. Image is the glue that melds together a person's diverse experiences, both personal and professional, (p 139-140) Not only do "preservice teachers use their own experiences as reliable data for generating beliefs about 'good' teaching" (Knowles & Holt-Reynolds, 1991, p. 93), but these resulting images appear to be durable. The initial images of self as teacher are vitally important because the teaching practices established during the first year of teaching lay the foundation for future years (Knowles, 1994). What seems obvious in hearing what these researchers have said about beliefs and images, both their formation and their connection to teaching practice, is that beliefs are closely aligned with images. Athough they are not precisely synonymous or interchangeable, they are clearly related. An image of self as teacher is built from a series of beliefs about how to best teach, the 75 kind of teacher one should be, the way students should be handled, what is important within subjects, etc. This group of related beliefs about teaching meld to form the image of self as teacher. Images About Teaching Art In the same way that past experiences strongly influence images of teaching, past art experiences influence one's images about teaching art. Smith-Shank (1992) explicitly described how one's past art experiences influence current ideas about teaching art. By making a place for autobiographical stories in education, teachers and students can contextualize the ways that people know what they know about themselves, and what they know about art. Both teachers and students remember significant episodes in their pasts, and memories of these experiences become the foundation for attitudes, beliefs, actions, wishes and anticipations. Autobiographical stories highlight episodes and events which have metaphorically pushed and manipulated their tellers to develop into the people they are and shape who they will become. As each of their art education contexts are sifted like handfuls of sand from various places through a common strainer, they combine to make up a new and more coherent whole than the individual stories could possibly be, in and of themselves, (p 150) Smith-Shank's conclusions came from a study conducted with elementary generalist teachers which examined the connection between their early experiences with art and their resulting ideas about teaching art. "These future teachers defined art according to their own experiences. If their experiences were positive, they anticipated using the types of art lessons they had encountered when they were in elementary school in their own practice" (Smith-Shank, 1992, p. 131). The preservice teachers in her study were able to 76 "remember episodes from their own experiences involving problem areas which they believed to be important precursors to their own attitudes and beliefs about art... Stories, based upon early memories of encounters with art, have selectively cued critical experiences and contexts" (p. 102, 152). Smith-Shank's study revealed the perhaps surprisingly strong influence of schooling on ideas about art. Her study results indicated that generally, homes were positive and supportive of art (276 out of 277 respondents). She also found that having a family member who was an artist was another influential contributor to positive attitudes about art; however, the most persuasive influences on preservice teachers' ideas about art come from their school experiences. A similar conclusion was made by Myers (1992) from her study with elementary generalist art teachers. "When preservice students think of teaching a school subject, they are responding to more than their personal ideas about the subject. They are also responding to their elementary school-enculturated form of the subject" (p. 16). Unfortunately, that school-enculturated form of the subject is often less than desirable when it comes to the subject of art. "Disturbing memories of experiences with art in elementary school were repeated time after time as I read through other students' autobiographical self-reflections" (Smith-Shank, 1992, p. 22). The stories from the preservice teachers in Smith-Shank's study presented an intimidating conclusion. "Although many positive sanctions came from outside the school, the dubious honor of bestowing negative sanctions always fell on a school teacher in these reflections" (p. 43). For each preservice teacher who had a negative image of art and teaching art, it was possible to trace memories back to a specific teacher or event with a teacher. "It was only after they encountered formal art education or art within the school curriculum that their enjoyment of art began to deteriorate. These 77 early disappointments seemed to be a central feature in these students' negative attitudes toward art as adults" (p. 32). This conclusion reinforces the notion of the undeniably powerful influence of teachers upon students. A cycle has been established with experiences in school forming a beginning teacher's image of teaching, which in turn determines teaching practice and, therefore, the school experiences provided for the next group of students in the cycle. Beliefs About Ability to Create Art Affects Images of Self as Art Teacher The belief in one's ability to create art plays an enormous role in the belief that one can successfully teach art, as Grauer (1995) found in her study. For the preservice teachers in this study, their own sense of competence with both art and art education appear to have been strong factors in shaping their beliefs. The preservice teachers equated these experiences as indicators of their personal artistic abilities and with the possibilities for their own success as teachers of art. (p. 136) Roland (1995) also made a clear connection between image of self as teacher and the teaching of art. "What preservice art teachers think of art, of teaching, and of themselves as teachers lays the foundation for what they will say and do as art teachers" (p. 125). As has already been mentioned, preservice teachers base their conceptions about a particular subject on their own experiences with that subject from their years as students. "They already possess quantities of experience-based information on virtually every topic or concept we plan to teach" (Holt-Reynolds, 1992, p. 327). Preconceived ideas about a subject will have an impact on the way in which preservice teachers deal with their methodology courses in this area, and will affect future 78 instruction as well. "Teaching art is very much determined by the values and beliefs of the individual teacher.... The beliefs of preservice teachers toward art education as they are developed through their teacher education programs are of paramount importance to what will eventually be the curriculum in schools" (Grauer, 1995, p. 157). Preservice elementary generalist teachers "have difficulty with the idea of being responsible for teaching art as a separate subject. They do not feel that they have enough experience to teach art. Use it, yes; teach it, no" (Smith-Shank, 1992, p 137). The concerns about having to teach art seem to be related to "demonstrating art techniques, teaching art concepts, and evaluating art work by students" (p. 114), as well as having to make decisions related to "values about the place of art in education and what model of art education to adopt" (Grauer, 1995, p. 137). The beginning teachers from these cited studies clearly had concerns about their ability to create art and to teach art. It is highly unlikely that anyone who feels incompetent in a particular area would feel confident to teach it. These novice teachers were able to trace the source of their incompetence. "They blamed their insecurity, in part, on the uneven foundations and backgrounds in art knowledge that they have brought to their adult lives" (Smith-Shank, 1992, p. 114). Summary This literature review has provided a picture of typical elementary generalist teachers who have minimal experience and knowledge about art and probably less confidence about making art or teaching art. An awareness of some of the challenges facing beginning teachers provides additional information about the group of teachers targeted for this study. Given the 79 vital role played by the classroom teacher in the learning experiences of the students, an understanding of the nature of beginning teachers is significant for research within art education. The information about how teachers' beliefs are formed, how strong and resistant to change they are, and in particular, how they affect teaching practice, is fundamental to this investigation. As the specific focus of this inquiry is beliefs about ability to create art, the research findings about art making processes, art talent, and concerns and challenges related to making art are essential for any endeavour to know and understand elementary generalists' beliefs about art making and their art teaching practice. 80 C H A P T E R 4 M E T H O D O L O G Y Study Design and Methodology This qualitative research is a descriptive case study (Merriam, 1988; McMillan & Schumacher, 1997; Stake, 1995). The specific concepts being investigated in this study were beginning generalist teachers' beliefs about their ability to create art, the formation of those beliefs, and the relationship of those beliefs to teaching art in elementary classrooms. Case study methodology allowed for an investigation of these concepts and for a presentation of the resulting data as rich descriptions. This study consisted of two phases, the first being an investigation of eight beginning generalist teachers' beliefs about their ability to create art and their background experiences through a series of interviews. The second phase was conducted with three teachers selected from the beginning sample of eight, and consisted of a number of observations of their art teaching during the fall term of school. In addition to the classroom observations, interviews took place after each teaching session in order to extend my understanding of the teachers' ideas and actions. The issues and problems of this study are best examined through case study research because of its descriptive nature (Merriam, 1988). There are many factors contributing to the complexity of beginning teachers' practice. Case study "can illustrate the complexities of a situation" (Merriam, 1988, p. 14). Also, case study allowed "the class to function in a relatively normal way" (Emery, 1989, p. 238). My presence in the three teachers' classrooms in Phase Two was unobtrusive in that the study did not require any alteration of what might have happened in that classroom had the study not taken place. 81 The changes which did take place as an outcome of the participants being involved in the study are reported in Chapter 6. Case study, as a form of qualitative research, was chosen in order to adequately gain information and understanding about the concept of beliefs about ability to create art. A survey or questionnaire would not have allowed for the uniqueness of each teacher's circumstances to be fully explored. Beliefs are often not easily stated, and are sometimes revealed within a conversation around an issue or demonstrated through conduct (Kagan, 1992). The interviews probed the participants' ideas, reasons, experiences and responses in order to determine their beliefs. "Qualitative case study is highly personal research" (Stake, 1995, p. 135). An inquiry that investigates beliefs must get personal. Rather than working with a single site, that is a single teacher, I worked with eight teachers in phase one and three teachers in phase two. Therefore, this study is a collective case study (Stake, 1995). Although the obligation of case study research is "to understand this one case" (Stakes, 1995, p. 4), a sample of a few rather than one does increase the potential representation to other cases and does provide an opportunity for observing differences and commonalities. This comparison can in fact extend the learning about the case and lead to greater understanding of a single case. My own experience and background as related to the topics of this research was significant because I would need to perceive and interpret what was being said or observed. "We recognize that case study is subjective, relying heavily on our previous experience and our sense of worth of thing" (Stake, 1995, p. 134). My previous experience both as a school district consultant working to coach and support elementary art teachers, as well as a teacher educator working to prepare preservice teachers, have lead me to become acutely aware of the dilemma of elementary generalist teachers and 82 teaching art. At the same time, I am increasingly aware of the vital role that art at the elementary level plays in the broader discipline of art education, and how important it is for elementary generalists to be able to provide good quality art programs. A study which provides insight into the beliefs about art making held by the generalist teachers would increase the potential to support elementary art education. The specific focus on beliefs about the ability to create art became an important piece of the puzzle as I observed the students in my art methodology course dealing with the threatening expectation of creating their own art works. This study is further defined as an instrumental case study (Stake, 1995) because it allowed me to gain a greater understanding about a specific concept, rather than an intrinsic case study, in which a particular program or institution would be examined. Through this research, I came to more fully understand the concept of beliefs about the ability to create art and about generalists' art teaching practices. The Participants The participants of this study consisted of eight beginning teachers for phase one, then three of those eight for phase two. The specific target group of participants for this study was teachers in their second year of teaching. This particular stage of becoming a teacher was selected for a number of reasons. I am particularly interested in the process of becoming a teacher of art, that is in the evolution of beliefs about art that develop initially from one's background, through the experiences and learning in a teacher education program, and from actual teaching. Efforts to support and improve art education in general can be enhanced with knowledge and understanding of that evolution. Working with teachers in their second year of teaching provided the opportunity to explore the links between the various 83 developmental stages of becoming a teacher in order to determine the influences from background experiences, the teacher education program and finally the manifestation of these influences on the actual teaching of art. The second year of teaching was specifically chosen in order to work with teachers who were clearly still in the beginning stage of becoming a teacher. This allowed for a view of teaching practice and ideas that originated with the individual teacher rather than imposed by others. Time spent in a school setting results in socialization of the new teacher (Kuzmic, 1993; Zeichner & Gore, 1990), a process that offers many varied influencing factors on the teachers' ideas, beliefs and practice. Although it may be argued that the first year of teaching would be the actual beginning of a teaching career, that stage was avoided in this study for a number of reasons. In most jurisdictions, the most common route to secure employment as a teacher is to spend some time as a 'teacher on call'. Contract hiring policies dictate that generally a continuing position is secured only after a set number of months of teaching have been accumulated. Much of this initial teaching experience, including the first full year of teaching, is usually an accumulation of several long term substitute teaching positions. Therefore, the first year of teaching may be done in a number of different schools and classrooms, and may consist of having to follow, to some extent, another teacher's plans. Many first year teachers have not yet had their 'own class' in which to plan an entire year's program and to implement their own ideas about teaching. Additionally, the first year of teaching, even if it is done entirely in one classroom, is often a tremendously busy and stressful year with an extremely steep learning curve. The ultimate goal for many first year teachers is to survive the year through whatever means possible. During the first teaching experience "teachers are initially concerned about their own survival as educators, including controlling the class and receiving positive evaluations 84 from supervisors" (Kowalchuk, 1999a, p. 73). This assessment was also supported by Kagan (1992) who stated that the novice teachers' concerns in this beginning teaching experience focuses on the technical elements of teaching, including classroom management and instructional routines rather than on the content-related dimensions of teaching. During the first year of teaching, novice teachers move through phases of applying teacher education program ideas and strategies, of gleaning survival strategies from the experienced teachers in the school, and of forming their own responses after encountering the realities of teaching in an elementary school. Even though the process of learning to teach takes place over several years (Berliner, 1993), the second year of teaching will have moved past the initial stage of trying to get one's feet on the ground and having to sort out which ground to stand on. Second year teachers would be planning activities, responding to situations, and making decisions according to their own ideas to a greater extent than they do in their first year of teaching and therefore would provide a more suitable context for exploring their beliefs and practices about art education. Selection of Participants After securing university ethics review clearance, at UBC and at Okanagan University College, the institution at which I am employed as a teacher educator, approval for the study was obtained from the Superintendents of two School Districts in the Okanagan Valley in the southern interior of British Columbia. These Superintendents then provided the names of potential participants. If there were any thoughts about specific teachers being more or less suitable to be involved in my study for whatever reasons, I was not part of that deliberation. The only specifications I made to the Superintendents were that the teachers should be in their second year of 85 teaching, that they had an elementary classroom, and that they were generalists rather than art specialists. I contacted the names provided to me. The first eight contacts out of a total list of 16 potential contacts responded to my request positively and therefore became my sample of eight. Reflecting the typical ratio of male and female teachers at the elementary level, seven participants were female and one was male. All teachers had moved through one or more years of long and short term substitute teaching assignments and were entering their second full year of teaching. All teachers had their own classrooms. The participants were in two adjacent school districts of medium to large size. The grades being taught by these teachers covered the range from K - 6. Although a fact not known at the time of selection, these eight teachers represented four different teacher education programs, all in British Columbia. Al l participants were in their twenties. Six of the participants were single, the other two were married and had a single child, in each case a young daughter. Four of the eight participants had received their Bachelor of Education Degrees from Okanagan University College, and three of those had been my students in an art methodology course. Purposeful Sample for Phase Two The purposeful sample (McMillan & Schumacher, 1997) was selected when the interviewing of phase one was completed. During the initial contact with the eight participants, I explained the two phases of the study and clarified that participation in phase one would not automatically require participation in phase two, but that they would be given the choice to continue after phase one was completed. All participants agreed to participate in phase two; however, one teacher was unable to participate because his sports coaching responsibility would not allow time for post observation interviews and discussions. The process of selecting three teachers to form 86 the purposeful sample involved consideration of several factors. I examined the grades being taught, seeking a range of grades; the location, seeking involvement in more than one school district, and lastly, the teacher education program experience, seeking only those teachers who had not been my students. Three participants in phase one of the study were my past students, but I decided against conducting the more involved and interactive phase of the research, the classroom observations, with them. Even though I recognized the potential benefits of having already developed a working rapport with them, and the opportunity to evaluate my own professional practice, it seemed wiser to not conduct the study "in my own backyard" (Glesne & Peshkin, 1992, p. 21). The last consideration used for selecting the participants for phase two of the study was their general comfort and willingness to share personal ideas, thereby using my "knowledge of the population, and making a judgment about which subjects should be selected to provide the best information to address the purpose of the research" (McMillan & Schumacher, 1997, p. 171). The Setting For phase one of the study, the eight participants were located in two adjacent school districts, four in each district. For phase two of the study, two participants taught in one school district while the third participant taught in the second district. All these teachers were generalists who taught their own art programs. The three classes in which the observations of phase two took place were grade 1/2, grade 2 and grade 4/5. After the three participants of phase two were selected, permission to conduct the study was then obtained from the principals, who were, in all cases, supportive of the teachers being 87 involved in the study. In fact, being a participant in the study was viewed by the principals as a professional development opportunity. There was very little variation among the three schools. Al l were 'typical' schools when considering size, student body, age of building, location, and resources. All schools were inner city schools, although the cities in which they are located are relatively small. The teachers did refer to the students as being somewhat 'needy'. Data Collection Data collection took place somewhat differently during each of the two phases of this study. As phase one was primarily an investigation into the past art experiences of beginning teachers and their beliefs about ability to create art, interviewing was the chosen data collection method. Two semi- structured interviews (McMillan & Schumacher, 1997) took place with each participant. Appendix A gives the list of questions that were used for the first interview. This list of questions served only as a guide to conduct the interview; additional questions were asked as a result of the participants' responses. The flexibility offered by a semi-structured interview allowed the pursuit of topics introduced by the participant, the clarification of comments through further probing, and the delving more deeply into a topic with additional questions. "Initial research questions may be modified or even replaced in mid-study by the case researcher... If early questions are not working, if new issues become apparent, the design is changed" (Stake, 1995, p. 9). In order to facilitate the participants' ease of articulating their beliefs, I occasionally used a number of scenarios or hypothetical situations. The conversation in each interview covered the same basic topics, but, as is to be expected, did move into a variety of directions with each participant. "In collective case study, an early commitment to common topics facilitates later 88 cross-site analysis" (Stake 1995, p. 25). Permission was obtained from the participant at the beginning of the session to do an audio recording of the interview. All participants were forthcoming with their ideas about the topics and willingly shared personal experiences. As participant comfort was essential for such an interview, each participant was asked to suggest a meeting place at the time the first interview was scheduled. The interviews took place in a variety of locations including coffee shops, schools, and their homes. In order to allow verification of the content of the interviews, a typed transcription of the first interview was given to the participants at the second meeting, and the transcription of the second interview was given to them shortly after it had taken place. The participants were asked to read the interview transcriptions and to contact me with any changes they felt appropriate. A minimum of two weeks spanned the two interviews conducted with each participant. The format of the second interview was similar to that of the first interview. Typically, the first interview was one and one-half hour long, while the duration of the second interview was slightly less. A list of questions also guided the second interview (see Appendix B). The second interview started with an opportunity for the participant to add anything to the content of the first conversation. Several teachers had given more thought to some of the topics covered and offered further comments on some issues or provided additional information about experiences recalled from their past. Wanting to refresh their memories, several participants contacted their parents with certain questions before adding information at the second interview. The data collection for phase two of the study was multi-method, (McMillan & Schumacher, 1997) consisting of observations, interviews and 89 document examination. I made five visits to each of the three classrooms to observe the teachers instruct their art lessons. All visits were arranged with the teachers in advance according to their requests and schedules. With several exceptions, the visits took place once a week on a consecutive basis which allowed me to observe the follow-up of each art lesson, and to observe the developmental, sequential aspect of each art program. A pre-observation conversation took place in most instances enabling the teacher to inform me of the general plan of the art lesson; to let me know about interruptions or other school events that were going to happen during my visit; or to discuss specific circumstances regarding certain students. In order to make the students comfortable with my presence, I introduced myself to them, explaining the reason for visiting their classroom, and the number of visits that I would be making. The month of September was avoided for observation visits given the juggling and rearranging of classroom populations and assignments as principals and teachers respond to last minute registration changes. Also, I wanted the teachers to have the first month to establish a rapport with their students and to establish classroom routines and behaviour expectations prior to having another educator observe their teaching. Several observations took place in October, but because of holidays and non-instructional days during that month, most of the observations took place in November and December. Being able to observe the art program leading into the Christmas season enabled me to determine the various ways in which the beginning teachers handled art activities related to this holiday. During each visit, I generally located myself in one position in the room as provided, but also moved around the room occasionally to better see what the students were doing. I did not become involved in the teaching in any way. When several students in the lower grades came to me for 90 assistance with their projects, I offered suggestions on two occasions, generally- prompting the students to continue with their own work. During the observation sessions, I made field notes on a prepared form (Appendix C) recording conversations as was possible and relevant, and documenting all aspects of the lesson, such as teacher instruction, student responses, final products, displays and evaluation. I also took notice of the inclusion of visual art in the classroom, the display boards, displays in the hallways, and the resources made available for the students. The field notes also included a notation of the time when events took place or comments were made. Occasionally, I observed portions of lessons in other subject areas, which allowed me to see the transition from another subject area into the art lessons. Al l the art lessons were scheduled at the end of the school day, allowing a post observation discussion to happen after the students were dismissed. It was usually necessary to allow a few minutes for the teachers to catch their breath after a busy day, or to deal with various details involving students, colleagues or parents. When all end of day details had been taken care of, I conducted an interview with the teacher that allowed reflection on the art lesson that had just occurred and to pursue some topics that stemmed from that reflection. I used several questions to serve as a guideline for the post observation interview (Appendix D). These interviews generally lasted one-half to one hour. During this post teaching time, reference was made to some of the documents related to the lesson, resource materials, evaluation forms, or examples of products. Each post observation interview was transcribed and given to the teacher at the next visit, providing the opportunity to verify the ideas captured by the interview. Following the last observation in each classroom and the post observation discussion that related to the art lesson, I conducted a final interview in order to refer to several aspects of art teaching in a general rather 91 than lesson specific way. Appendix E gives the questions that served as a guide for this interview. The final extended interview also provided the opportunity to revisit several topics that had been discussed in the interviews during phase one. During the five or more weeks of observations, there were many opportunities to have conversations and thereby build a rapport with the participants. As a result, some topics in the final interview were more fully discussed by the teachers compared to the way they had only lightly touched on them in the first two interviews. A transcription of this final interview was delivered to the teachers shortly after it took place for their review, thereby ensuring the accuracy of the transcription. In order to gain an accurate picture of the school setting, including the materials, equipment, supplies, resources, professional development opportunities and related school-wide events available to the beginning teachers, I briefly interviewed the principal of each school, chatted with the teacher-librarian, and scanned the resources in the library. I was also interested in learning about the support from the school district in terms of directives, curriculum implementation plans, events, or mentorship programs. Timelines The superintendents of the school districts were contacted in June 1999 for approval to conduct the study and to obtain the list of names of second year elementary generalist teachers. Contact was made with these teachers in July, permission for participation was granted and approval forms were signed. The 16 interviews of phase one took place during August and September. The selection of the three teachers who would participate in phase two took place in October, at the completion of the phase one interviews. The observations and interviews of phase two took place in the 92 months of October to December. The transcriptions of interviews were given to each teacher throughout the data collection phase, the last transcriptions given to the three teachers in phase two at the beginning of the new term in January, 2000. The Role of the Researcher The terms "insider" and "outsider" (McMillan & Schumacher, 1997) have been used to refer to the role of a researcher in qualitative research. My role in this study was not distinctly either of these roles. I was not an "outsider" in that I was not totally unknown to the sites or the participants, nor was I unfamiliar with the context of an elementary classroom and of art education. I was also not an "insider" in that I was not a full participant in the phenomenon of this study. I did not become involved in the class dynamics or in the teaching of the art lessons, and had no formal or long term commitment to the culture of each school site. Tilley (1998) used the term "someone familiar" to describe her identity in the context of her study as someone who was not 'one of them' but at the same time, was not a stranger to the context. This term 'someone familiar' was suitable for my role of an educator studying other educators in relation to the discipline of art education. My involvement in this study was that of an observer (McMillan & Schumacher, 1997). As the researcher, I "remained primarily an observer, but had some interaction with study participants" (Glesne & Peshkin, 1992, p. 40). I was not a participant in the context of the study in that I did not teach in the classroom; however, I did need to interact with the beginning teachers in order to build trust and a rapport so that they would be comfortable with my presence in their classroom. In the case of the participants who were involved in only phase one of the study, it was also necessary to have built a 93 relationship of trust in order for them to feel comfortable disclosing their personal thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and past experiences. Qualifications to Fulfill Researcher Role My background experiences and qualifications related to this inquiry have prepared me for the role of observing beginning art teaching and conducting the follow-up data analysis and interpretations. In addition to seven years of classroom teaching in elementary schools, I worked for three years as a District Fine Arts Consultant with the primary responsibility to guide curriculum implementation, to support arts programming, and to coach art teaching in schools. This was followed by eleven years in a teacher education program with both instructional and administrative responsibilities. Teaching preservice teachers in a mandatory art methodology course has provided me with the opportunity to work with a great number of beginning teachers. Observing and evaluating student teachers on practicum has also been part of my work in the teacher education program. "Qualitative researchers also frequently cite personal or professional experiences that enable them to empathize with the participants, — that is, they recognize more readily the observed processes and subtle participant meanings than those lacking such experiences" (McMillan & Schumacher, 1997, p. 413). Several occasions during this study when my past experiences allowed me to support the participants included sensing the need for encouraging or confirming comments about efforts to draw on the blackboard as part of a lesson; detecting teacher or student comments that pertain specifically to the image development process; and making notation of areas that might benefit from some assistance in the post-study support. 94 Developing Trust with the Participants The teachers who were interviewed in phase one of this study were asked to share their personal feelings, thoughts and beliefs. In a sense, the questions probed a personal territory. "Most educational case data gathering involves at least a small invasion of personal privacy" (Stake, 1995, p. 57). The teachers in phase two encountered an additional invasion by also having their teaching observed. I was aware of the need to be sensitive to the sense of invasion felt by these beginning teachers because of the expectations of the study. The participants knew that I had been working in the discipline of art education for many years, and might therefore attach the label 'expert', along with which comes an apprehension that they would need to measure up to an expert in the field. There could also be the concern that the study 'invaded' their private thoughts and experiences for a short period of time, then disappeared. The gain was for the study. What was the gain for the teachers? With these possible concerns in mind, I thought carefully about my role with these beginning teachers. The term which I eventually gave myself as a guideline was 'respectful sojourner'. Respectful is defined as "treating someone in a manner that shows respect, which consists of polite behaviour, consideration or care for someone, and avoiding interference with or harming someone" (Crowther, 1995, p. 999). A sojourner is "someone who stays temporarily in someone else's place" (p. 1029). I was mindful throughout this study of what the participants were offering me, and how I needed to respect them, and not be exploitive in any way. Throughout this study, I tried to be "mindful and protective" (Lawrence-Lightfoot & Davis, 1997, p. 172). I had no direct role with these teachers in that I was not a colleague or a supervisor. Although I had taught three of the participants in a course during their teacher education program, I was no longer their professor as 95 they had graduated from university several years earlier. As a result, it was easier for the teachers to disclose their thoughts and beliefs. During phase two, I repeatedly reassured the beginning teachers that I was not evaluating them, but was observing them only to gain awareness and understanding of their art teaching. Researcher Influence A challenge I faced was the need to be sufficiently responsive to the participants in order to build trust, but at the same time, to respond in a manner that would minimize researcher influence. The challenge was to build trust and still follow the guidelines as offered by Stake (1995). "For all their intrusion into habitats and personal affairs, qualitative researchers are noninterventionists. They try to see what would have happened had they not been there. During fieldwork, they try not to draw attention to themselves or their work" (p. 44). Decisions had to be made about "how much to participate personally in the activity of the case? How much to pose as expert, how much comprehension to reveal? Whether to be neutral observer or evaluative, critical analyst?" (p. 103). Given the nature of this case study, it was not possible as a researcher to remain completely detached or neutral. There was a possibility that the participants would be influenced to respond in a particular way to the interview questions, that they might say what they thought I would want them to say. "Research participants over identify with the researchers. In doing so, they may begin to act in ways that they perceive the researchers want them to act or in ways that impress them" (Glesne & Peshkin, 1992, p. 99). I realized the need to be reassuring, encouraging and confirming in my responses during the interviews, such as an active listener would be, but I was careful to not judge or evaluate ideas, nor to give my views on the topics 96 being discussed. There was also the possibility of influencing the teaching practice of the three beginning teachers in phase two. It would have been logical for the teachers to give additional time to planning and preparing their art lessons because they knew they were going to be observed. As a result, the data would not be an accurate picture of what would have been had I not been present and had the study not been conducted. Researcher influence is acknowledged, and is reported in the conclusions of this study. As this dilemma affects all qualitative research, "data obtained from informants are valid even though they may represent a particular view or have been influenced by the researcher" (McMillan & Schumacher, 1997, p. 409). The resulting data which offered a picture of these beginning generalists' art teaching practice is valid and valuable even though that practice might have been slightly different had this study not taken place. The greatest potential for researcher influence was during phase two of the study when the teachers wanted to hear my response to the lesson they had taught, wanted answers to their questions, or wanted feedback on ideas they had about future art lessons. In order to minimize my influence, I refrained from providing some of the coaching and guidance that was asked for and explained to the teachers that my lack of assistance was intentional and necessary for the validity of the study. As Clandinin and Connelly (1988) found themselves wrestling with this challenge, they found a path to take: "We do not judge other practitioners' work nor do we attempt to implement particular curricular reforms" (p. 271). However, because the requested support and coaching would have been logical reciprocity for involvement in this study, I reassured the teachers that I would provide that help at the conclusion of the study. 97 Data Analysis Data collected in this study consisted of interview transcriptions, field notes from the classroom observations, my research journal, and notes made about a number of document sources. A preliminary data analysis took place following each interview, resulting in the data collection and interim analysis running parallel (McMillan & Schumacher, 1997). This process provided some information for the questions used in the second, follow-up interview. The same was true for the classroom observation, an initial examination of my field notes and the interview transcription sometimes leading to specific questions or foci for following visits. The analysis strategies used were those usually recommended for qualitative research, including "the inductive process of organizing the data into categories and identifying patterns (relationships) among the categories" (McMillan & Schumacher, 1997, p. 501). Upon completing the interview transcriptions, data analysis began in earnest. I re-read all the interview data, selected comments that related to the research questions, then wrote a summary statement (Kowalchuk, 1999a) or noted them on the data sheets. During the readings and the selection of the relevant comments, a number of themes emerged. Sub-topics also emerged and were categorized according to the these themes. A total of 36 sub-topics were identified as a result of the review of the statements in the data. In an effort to manage the data, I used a colour coding strategy to identify and place the sub-topics. Several re-readings and re-checkings were done throughout the formation of the categories. The next step of analysis was to re-group the sub-topics by colour and by number in order to create a profile of each of the eight participants organized by the three major themes, "the categories are grouped for synthesis and interpretation" (McMillan & Schumacher, 1997, p. 98 509). It was from these profiles that the vignettes were written and the summarized, individual teaching profiles created. Reporting the Data The individual participants and the different phases of this study, specifically the classroom visits of phase two, led to data that were rich in contextuality and distinctiveness. The research questions probed the sometimes elusive concept of beliefs about the ability to create art, as well as investigated three different art teaching practices. In order to honour the individuality of the contexts and personal data, and at the same time, to report the significance of the research findings, I chose to present the findings through a combination of vignettes, and direct thematic reporting. Thematic reporting was used to present the data from phase one. The initial step of data analysis involved creating profiles of each participant by selecting from and summarizing the raw data. These profiles were then analyzed for emerging themes, which are then reported in Chapter 5. The themes reflect the first three research questions, background experiences related to art, beliefs about ability to create art, and ideas about children's ability to create art. Reporting the data analysis of Phase Two of the study was done through the presentation of a vignette and a teaching profile for each of the three participants. The teaching profiles were created by organizing the analyzed data from the five observations, follow-up interviews and final extended interview. Once again, various themes and sub-topics emerged from the data analysis, and served as a framework for reporting the teaching profiles. There was a great deal of complexity in the ideas, backgrounds, contexts, and dispositions of the beginning teachers in this study. "The case 99 study needs to present people as complex creatures" (Stake, 1995, p. 97). I chose to create vignettes in the form of a typical day as a means to present a portrayal of the participants without "interpreting events as more patterned and congruent than they really are, lopping off the many loose ends of which social life is made" (Lawrence-Lightfoot & Davis, 1997, p. 246). The use of vignettes was a more engaging and authentic means by which to capture and present the reality of these individuals. Eisner (1998) stated that "what narrative provides is believability or "truth-likeness"... it is context sensitive and applies to local or particular situations" (p. 11). Copies of the vignettes were given to each participant to ensure accuracy of details and nuances in the portrait. Ultimately, my goal in using the vignette form was to meet these objectives as stated by Lawrence-Lightfoot and Davis (1997): The portraitist hopes to develop a rich portrayal that will have resonance with three audiences: with the actors who will see themselves reflected in the story, with the readers who will see no reason to disbelieve it, and with the portraitist herself, whose deep knowledge of the setting and self-critical stance allow her to see the 'truth value' in her work. (p. 247) I chose to use vignettes (Stake, 1995) in order to present a picture of each participant that might give the reader a chance to get to know this person, in contrast to much research which uses various devices such as blind analysis in order to eliminate bias. While still protecting anonymity, the vignettes more closely maintain the individuality of each participant. In order to create a vignette or a portrait of the three beginning teachers, I chose to pull the data together and report it as if I were tracking each teacher through a single day, even though the information was obtained from them through five observation sessions, and seven interviews. Glesne 100 and Peshkin (1992) refer to this process as "amalgamation of the observed activities into a typical day for each participant" (p. 164). In keeping with the theoretical framework guiding this study, constructivism, the use of vignettes also encourages readers to form their own interpretation of each beginning teacher using the data offered by the vignettes. Stake (1995) supported this purpose: The aim of research is not to discover reality, for that is impossible, but to construct a clearer reality... A constructivist view encourages providing readers with good raw material for their own generalizing. The emphasis is on description of things that readers ordinarily pay attention to, particularly places, events, and people, not only commonplace descriptions, but 'thick description', (p. 101, 102) Considering the use of 'vignette' in visual arts, this term is appropriate because a vignette presents a picture that does not include the entire background. A narrative allows the researcher to provide for the reader a vicarious experience "so that naturalistic generalization is facilitated" (Stake, 1995, p. 126). Limitations of the Study This study is limited in its generalizability. The participants in my study were few in number, eight and three respectively for the two phases of the study. As is to be expected, the data are specific to these eight individuals. However, Stake (1995) stated that "the case is one among others" (p. 2) and that we study them "for both their uniqueness and commonality" (p.l). Although qualitative study often does not aim to generalize its findings to everyone within a population, case study has been criticized for its limited 101 generalizability to other sites (Sturman, 1997). However, there is a degree of transferability of the study results. Sturman (1997) explained that using multisite case study increases the means of transfer to other settings. The findings of the observations of the three teachers in phase two revealed both some differences and some commonalities. There is a degree to which these commonalities can be transferred to other elementary generalist art teachers given the similarity of their circumstances. Case study research "can examine a specific instance but illuminate a general problem" (Merriam, 1988, p. 139). In spite of the desire of much research to provide findings that can be applied to other settings or individuals beyond the sample of a specific study, Stake (1995) has reminded us that we do not study a case primarily to understand other cases. Our first obligation is to understand one case: The real business of case study is particularization, not generalization. We take a particular case and come to know it well, not primarily as to how it is different from others but what it is, what it does. There is emphasis on uniqueness, and that implies knowledge of others that the case is different from. (Stake, 1995, p. 8) Because case study seeks to "understand the processes that go on in a situation and the beliefs and perceptions of those in it" (Firestone, 1993, p. 22), comparison from one case to another case is possible and is referred to as "naturalistic generalization" by Stake (1995) and as "case-to-case- transfer" by Firestone (1993). As he explained, "Case to case transfer occurs whenever a person in one setting considers adopting a program or idea from another one" (p. 17). Providing rich, 'thick' description from a case study increases the possibility of consideration of the findings to other cases. A case study can provide information on which to base comparisons. "It can explain the reasons for a problem, the background of a situation, what happened and 102 why, can discuss alternatives not chosen, can evaluate, summarize and conclude, this increasing its potential applicability" (Merriam, 1988, p. 14). Therefore, even though this case study focused on the concept of beliefs about ability to create art, and presents a detailed picture of three individual generalist teachers dealing with art education, readers may find useful information through the similarities or differences applicable to other situations and individuals. Transferability is left to the reader, but the researcher has the responsibility of presenting the data in an complete and accurate account that facilitates such transfer. "While transfer of findings from one case study to another is done by the reader, the researcher has an obligation to provide a rich, detailed, thick description of the case" (Firestone, 1993, p. 18). The reliability of this study was ensured by careful design and methods. As explained in the section on researcher role, observer bias was minimized by the fact that the participants were not in a position of subservience. I was not an instructor, supervisor, evaluator, colleague, or in any authoritarian role that would have prejudiced or inhibited their responses to the questions. Even though I might have been recognized as an informed or experienced person within the discipline of art education, I was careful to not present myself in a way that might be perceived as a threat, but rather as a possible benefit for post study support. If my presence affected the teaching practice that was observed in phase two, that influence is specified during the data reporting. The reliability of this study was also increased by the use of multi- methods for data collection. Semi-structured interviews were used in phase one, whereas observation, interviews and documentation were used for phase two data collection. The observations attempted to ensure broad attention to the teaching practice including instructional strategies, use of 103 resources and visuals when teaching, stages of lesson development, comments made to students, responses to students' conduct or comments, means of dealing with problems such as external interruptions or student behaviour, evidence of art within the physical space of the classroom, art displays, art outside of the classroom, participation in school or district events, art related field trips, communication with parents, students' art works, and evaluation strategies. The interviews which took place both pre and post observations provided opportunities for discussion of the sequential learning of the students, as well as opportunities for the teachers to reflect and comment on the art lesson just taught, and to respond to other related questions. Interviews with the school principals and teacher librarians were additional sources of information for the data collection regarding support for the beginning teachers in terms of availability of resources and supplies in the school, professional development, district curriculum implementation, special events, and general support of art education. The concern about observer bias was minimized by member checking throughout the study. Verification of data by the participants followed each interview as all interview transcriptions were given to the beginning teachers and other school personnel to verify that what they had said in the interview was accurately represented. Audio taping of all interviews guaranteed accuracy when capturing the participants' comments. Although there are some limitations to this study, as have been acknowledged, the measures taken throughout this study ensured reliability and validity of this research. As a result, this descriptive case study has provided substantial information from eight participants about their past art related experiences and their beliefs about their ability to create art. The second phase of this study has provided a valuable picture of three 104 beginning teachers' art teaching practice, with connections made to their experiences and beliefs. 105 Chapter 5 PRESENTING THE DATA: Phase One Introduction Phase One of this study used semi-structured interviews conducted with eight elementary generalist teachers in their second year of teaching and aimed to investigate their background experiences related to art and their current beliefs about ability to create art, their own and that of their students. These three themes form the three sections of this chapter and reflect the first three research questions. The sub-categories used in this chapter emerged from an analysis of the data. The statements presented in this chapter reflect the participants' ideas and recollections as offered during the interviews, some as direct quotes and others as paraphrased or consolidated comments. The omission of comments from or reference to a participant within a sub-category is an indication that no information was provided related to that topic. These statements are not my interpretations or conclusions, but a reporting of what the participants offered in their conversations. The direct quotes are referenced with a notation such as (P-2-16), which indicates the participant, the interview, and finally the page number from the interview transcriptions. The direct quotes have not been altered and therefore are typical of oral speech. 106 Past Art Experiences The participants shared their memories of experiences with art in a number of different contexts including the home, elementary school, secondary school, and teacher education programs. Although other contexts might have been relevant, such as art experiences gained from community camps or clubs, from art galleries or museums, from friends, from adult recreational classes, etc., these are not included because they were not mentioned by the participants, indicating that such experiences were non- existent. Art Experiences in the Home The art experiences which were recalled from the home seemed to pertain primarily to pre-school and elementary years. There was little reference to art related experiences which took place during the teenage years. Trish liked doing art as a young child, but she did not have strong encouragement or influence toward art from home. There was no art in her childhood home, only some religious art. Her parents did not encourage her or direct her in any way toward making art, but at the same time, there was no resistance to the idea of doing art. She was never taken to an art gallery. She had only colouring books at home. No one in her family did any kind of art work. Her parents had no experiences with art when they were young; they had only four years of schooling which consisted of strictly reading and writing. "They didn't experience art as children so they didn't follow art as adults" (T-l-9). They were poor people and did not think that money should be spent on art. They even resisted hanging a painting in their home that they had received as a gift. Trish explained that even though the exposure to art from her childhood home was minimal, she now has a different attitude 107 about art than her parents modeled for her, she appreciates it and would like to have art in her home some day. Sherri remembered doing colouring, cutting and pasting activities at home where there were always plenty of art supplies. Even though her parents did not do art and did not take her to art shows or other art events, they did encourage her in whichever areas she showed interest. They framed and displayed one of the paintings she did at age eleven. No one in her family makes art, although her mother tried to make dolls at one point, but discontinued because she was not happy with the end results. Sherri did draw and do other art making activities at home, but struggled to 'get it right'. She acknowledged that she got the high expectations of herself, her perfectionist traits, from her mother. Rita generally received an encouraging reaction about making art from her mother, but an indifferent reaction from her father. Her parents were very frugal and so would not spend money on art supplies; however she did receive some art supplies as gifts. Rita's parents never suggested or prompted her to do any art making activities, but she would sometimes decide herself to do art projects at home. She was never taken to art shows or art galleries. No one in her family is an artist or makes art. Gary did not care for art when he was young and never chose to do any art in his spare time. His parents did not ever direct him to art activities, and did not give any attention or emphasis to art when he showed them his report card. There was no art in his home and he was never taken to art galleries. No family members do any art, although his sister enjoys photography. There were always colouring books and glue around Beth's house so she did the typical kinds of art activities most young children do. She drew a great deal before she went to school. She would watch a television show then 108 draw pictures from it. But this drawing seemed to drop off when she started school and reading became her passion. Her parents were always positive about any art that she did at home or at school. Her exposure to art as a youngster was minimal. Her mother would talk about the pictures in story books, but she was never taken to art galleries or shows. Beth's grandfather did some drawings, but she didn't think that was a significant influence on her because she did not see his works until she was older, and because she is adopted, she would not have inherited his creative genes. Doreen had a potential influence from her home that none of the other participants had, a parent who created art. Her father, although not formally trained in art or professionally exhibiting his work, does create wood carved signs and drawings. Doreen thought her father's work is amazingly good. Her only sibling, a brother, seems to have followed the father's interest and also creates his own art works, but the same is not true for Doreen. She has accepted that her talent lies in music, which mirrors her mother's interests. Doreen remembers drawing at home, but her frustrations with having to continually erase her work in an effort to get it right is also a distinct memory. Doreen used a number of crutches to deal with her lack of satisfaction with her art works. She would use tracing paper in order to make her pictures look right, or she would get her friends or her father to do some of her drawings for her. Although Doreen was not taken to art shows or art galleries, she was sent to a summer art camp where she did printmaking and some art processes that were never part of her school art programs. Patti's favourite art activity from her childhood was colouring. She liked being precise and neat as she filled her colouring books. "I used to love to colour when I was a child. I used to colour and colour and colour, and I had to be very precise at it" (P-l-3). The messy projects were avoided at home, but she was provided with materials for the usual drawing and colouring, 109 making doll clothes, and working with a weaving set. There were no strong influences toward art from Patti's home; she was never taken to art shows, nor did any of her family members create art. There was plenty of support for art in Nora's home. Her mother encouraged her to work on art activities, and even gave her suggestions or instructions occasionally. Art supplies were always available. She did not remember ever being taken to art galleries, but does remember that there were many art works in her home. Nora enjoyed drawing as a youngster and spent a great deal of time making art. She would look at pictures and try to draw them, and she created her own cartoons. Nora enjoyed making art and would do it together with her twin sister. Art Experiences in Elementary School Trish choose to draw whenever she had free time in school, and she loved to draw at that time. She particularly liked making title pages and doing lettering. Doing art in school seemed to be easy for her, and she felt she was above average in her drawing. In grade four, she wrote and illustrated three little novels in her free time. Her teacher was quite impressed with the first little book, so Trish went ahead and made two more. Trish felt that her teachers could have done a better job of teaching art in her elementary grades. There was more she could have learned. She cannot recall any specific projects that were memorable, only a great deal of colouring. My only recollection of art was title pages. So yes, I was very competent when it came to title pages and I always did very well on them. I have no recollection of other art projects. And a lot of activities were only crafty, we were not creating ourselves. (T-2-2) 110 She does not remember getting any art instruction; much of what they did in elementary school was crafty, so she did not have a chance to use the ability she had. Trish made the comment that elementary students do not have an opportunity to learn how to draw if they do only crafts. Sherri enjoyed drawing and other art in elementary school, although she remembered doing only pre-planned projects for the holidays or models for social studies. The occasion when she was told that she could no longer draw a house was the only negative experience that Sherri can remember from her elementary grades. She did not receive any art skill instruction in school, only did the "crafty stuff". Rita was reasonably enthusiastic about art in her early elementary grades, but by the intermediate grades, art did not matter to her. She recalls that in school if you didn't have a special skill in making art, someone would let you know that early on. She remembered teachers telling students to start again with art projects because they had not done them correctly. Gary does not remember much about art in elementary school; no particular experiences or teachers stand out. Art in elementary school consisted of doing projects based on the holidays. The holiday art was important for him because it brought out the meaning and the feeling of the occasion. Gary stated that the elementary art he had was not well taught, that there was much more he could have learned. There was no coverage of any art concepts or anything specific, only the holiday projects. Beth has very few memories about art in elementary grades, but she does recall doing models for social studies. As she explained, "Nothing really stands out. I always liked things that had to do with working with the hands, like clay, but I don't really remember anything that we did" (B-l-6). Painting was a particularly frustrating activity for Beth because she couldn't erase her mistakes. I l l Doreen does not remember anything special about her art experiences in elementary school. She recalled that art consisted of typical kinds of projects that are done for holidays. Even though Doreen could not remember anything significant about her elementary art program, she felt it was generally positive because she recalled that she had liked making the projects. Nora enjoyed all the art that she did in elementary school, which mainly consisted of drawing pictures to go along with writing, and making pre-planned projects. The painting center was the only creative art activity that she remembered. I seem to remember something about a bowl of fruit and finding the shading in it, but other than that, I don't remember anything but really structured projects, you know, pre-planned, cut and paste, everybody's looked the same. Except for the painting, I remember we had a little more free range with the paintings. (N-l-5) Nora recalled a little instruction being provided in upper intermediate grades, especially on perspective and shading, but other than that, had no art instruction in her elementary grades. She particularly enjoyed helping her teachers put up bulletin board displays and other decorations. Nora thought that she was good at the art activities she did in school. She identified herself as an artist, as did her classmates. Patti has only vague memories from her elementary grades, mainly making seasonal and holiday projects. She felt that she does not remember much from elementary art because it was not significant to her in any way. She does have memories of other experiences from elementary school, but nothing from art. She recalled drawing ladies during her free time during one phase of elementary days. 112 Art Experiences in Secondary School Trish remembered doing some sketching and clay work in grade eight. It was in this grade eight art class that Trish formed the belief that she was not creative because she saw other students who were so much more creative. Her feelings of inadequacy in art prompted her to drop art after grade eight, and she did not ever take it again. Sherri took art in all grades throughout high school, where she encountered more creative art activities than she had in elementary school. She clearly remembered many tears flowing in her high school classes because she was not able to create something unique. Describing a typical situation of doing an art assignment, it is obvious that her perfectionism continued to be a challenge for her. "I did put an effort into it, but I wasn't happy with the product, it wasn't something that I was willing to accept. It was not what I wanted it to look like" (S-l-12). She did well only with those art projects where she knew what the final art work was supposed to look like. Rita took art in grades eight through ten in high school, but was a slacker and did not work very hard in her art courses. She got an "F" in one term because she did not hand in any of her assigned work. She did not show her art works to anyone, not even her parents, because she thought they were not good. She threw out most of her art works because they did not turn out the way she had pictured that they should. The expectations of the art teacher were too high. Rita remembered having to explain her art and how it represented her, which was too abstract for her to deal with. Rita dropped art after grade ten because art became more serious after that, and she became more academic. Everyone took art in grade eight and nine, but after that, only those who were serious about pursuing a career in art carried on. 113 Gary did not choose to take art in secondary school except for a grade ten art course which he took because it was mandatory to have a fine arts credit for graduation requirements. During that course, he learned how to add shading to his drawings, and found that very satisfying. Grade eight was as far as Beth went with art in high school. She had learned how to make some cartoon drawings and used them for all her assignments; as a result, she did not do very well in art. She remembered being extremely frustrated with a portrait assignment because she could not do it. Beth was very upset with her mark in art that year. She felt her teacher was marking on art ability and she did not have a natural ability in art. I was quite upset. Well, how do you do "A" work in art? I can't do "A" work, I don't have the natural art ability to get an "A" in art. I felt that he was basing it on whether or not you have that, he probably wasn't, but I just felt like he was grading us on if you had that natural ability and I didn't so I didn't think that I had a hope. (B-2-8) Doreen did not take art in secondary school at all, choosing instead to take drama courses. Nora's experience with art in secondary school was significant. She carried her identity of being an artist from her elementary schooling into her grade eight art course, where she encountered an art teacher who was demanding of her, but did not offer the encouraging approach she was used to. In retrospect, Nora realized that his efforts were aimed at stretching and extending her art making; however, at the time, she interpreted his approach as an indication that her art work was not acceptable. In high school, I had a teacher who was really tough. Looking back I realize that he was just trying to help me out and use different 114 perspectives and different looks. I think sometimes when you are okay at drawing, you keep doing the same thing and people say, "Oh, you are a wonderful artist, a great drawer." Then when someone else says, "Why don't you try this for a different perspective?" well, in some cases it is kind of ego deflating. But, in hind site, he was only trying to make me a better artist. (N-l-2) Adding to her growing sense of inadequacy with art making was seeing other classmates' art works and realizing that they were stronger in art than she was. It is not easy not being the best anymore. And that is sometimes what happens when you come out of a small school and you are recognized as being a good artist, as being very creative, and then getting into high school where there are new perspectives, different ideas, and different ways of doing things. It was hard on me. I was more hard on me, it was probably my own criticism because that had been my identity. (N-l-2) As a result of those experiences and the conclusions Nora attached to them, she changed her ideas about being good at art making. "Which really made a difference as far as my ideas and my opinions of me being artistic, of my creativity" (N-l-2). That ended the image she had of herself as an artist and ended her art making involvement for many years. Rather than take any more art courses, she chose to take drama and physical education courses for the remainder of high school. Patti did not take art in secondary school because when she reached that stage of schooling when she could chose her electives, she opted for something she thought she was able to do. She did not think she was good at art so it was logical to choose a different area of study. 115 Art Experiences in the Teacher Education Program Trish took a mandatory art methodology course as part of her Bachelor of Education Program. She felt disappointed in the fact that she could not do quality art work in this course. The evaluation of the assignments hindered her creativity. She started the course feeling comfortable about doing art, but that changed. She would do an art project at home and think that it was good, then when she took it to class and compared it to other students' work, she decided that hers was no good. She felt only mediocre about her ability to create art by the end of the course. Of the eight participants in this study, Sherri had taken the greatest amount of coursework in art. Before entering the teacher education program, Sherri filled her elective choices with art history courses. Therefore, her art methodology course was not Sherri's first experience with art since elementary school. However, she imposed high expectations on her work and even though she did well in the course, she still felt that she could not produce creative works. She continued her interest in art by taking art education courses to fulfill a fifth year specialization in her Bachelor of Education Degree. Rita thought the art methodology course in her teacher education program was a good course and covered the basic theory and processes of art, although she did not receive any instruction in how to draw. It was very important that she did the hands-on projects in this course because she remembers them and now adapts them for her own art teaching. Rita felt it was a mistake for the art methodology course to be placed in first or second year of the degree because at that stage, the preservice teachers are not yet focused and therefore won't remember the content of the course. There was a required art methodology course in Gary's teacher education program. His assessment of the course was that there was too 116 much theory and not enough provision of tools for how to teach those concepts. I was excited about the course. I was under the impression that I was going to be learning some stuff and I would be able to bring out my art program and teach it. This is the mind set that I was going in with, but came out quite disappointed... It is one thing to teach me different things on line or contrast or shadowing, those are the things we focused on, now show me a few different projects for each one and how to bring those out. It wasn't important to show me how to appreciate art or learn about art, but rather how I teach the kids how to learn about art. (G-l-6) Even though the course included experimenting with various art processes, it did not work on developing personal art making skills or on the students' identity as an artist. As a result, Gary's image of himself as a non-artist remained unchanged. Beth took a required art methodology course and found it helpful and still uses the materials and information from it. "That course was the first time I ever remember even learning any specifics about art" (B-l-3). The required studio work in the course caused Beth some anxiety. I remember being really scared about the first thing we had to do. I remember we had to draw a still life and I was really worried about that because I am not very good at shading or making things look realistic. I got really worried about that. But as the course moved on, I realized that there were a lot of people like me who were not artists, they were where I was at, so I got more comfortable. And I got better at doing the art. I looked at my sketch book awhile ago and I could notice the improvement. (B-l-8) 117 There were no requirements for any art courses within Doreen's teacher education program^ so her last and only experiences with art or art courses of any kind were in elementary school. Nora's experiences in the required art methodology course were mixed. She felt disappointment in not gaining the tools she had hoped would assist her in teaching art. However, the positive aspect of the course was that it re- introduced her to art making. That was interesting because it brought me back to art. It was the first time, I had very little experience during that time period as far as art goes, it just seemed to be lacking in my life. I could still see it within the world and still appreciate it, but I didn't do it myself until I got into the Education Program, only then did I start being more artistic again. (N-l-8) Patti explained that her art methodology course provided her with some information to use for teaching art. The course focused on art processes and principles of art and design. The resource books she produced on those two aspects of art education still serve as references for her now as she teaches art. However, the course was not a positive experience for her regarding her own art making, which affected her sense of confidence when teaching art. I didn't feel that I came out of the course feeling that I could teach art because I didn't know what I was doing. I came out of there feeling that I worked hard and I learned a lot, but my mark did not reflect what I thought I learned and how well I thought I did things. It was a good course, but I did not come out of it feeling really successful myself so it is hard for me to come into a classroom and say, "Guess what this is that we are going to do today." I sort of second guess myself. I didn't do that great in my course so should I be the one to teach this to kids? (P-l-11) 118 Beliefs About Ability to Create Art The following five sub-categories of this theme were discussed most frequently as the participants talked about the ability to create art. In addition to sharing their beliefs about their own art making practice and ability and their reasons for not making art, they also offered their thoughts about art talent, and beliefs about art making by others. The reporting of this discussion starts with the participants revealing their art making practices. The Participants' Art Creating Practices Trish does not create her own art works. The mandatory art methodology course within her teacher education program was the first time she created her own art work as an adult. She likes to add visuals to the bulletin boards in her classroom, and to make samples of the art projects in preparation for teaching, but that is the extent of her art making. She has no hesitation making chalk drawings on the blackboard for teaching purposes. Rita does not create her own art. She used to doodle for hours in high school and would make large, complex patterns. Now, she does not do any art. Sherri is not currently making her own art; however, she has done a considerable amount as an adult, mainly to complete assignments in the many art courses she has taken. She enjoys making art but only if it is free of stress and if she does not have to show it to anyone. She puts a great deal of work and effort into her art, but is often dissatisfied with the outcomes. She does not make art now because full time teaching and a young daughter leave her no free time. Accompanying the students when going through a directed drawing exercise is the extent of Beth's art making. 119 Gary does not make his own art work; he does not even doodle. He has never made art. Doreen does not make art of any kind, except a little doodling occasionally when talking on the telephone. However, Doreen enjoys photography and even though she has not pursued it as an art form, does use photography to record her travel experiences and would like to enlarge some of the pictures she has taken for display in her home. Nora's experiences in making her own art have taken a sporadic pattern. She did art activities while in elementary grades, stopped making her own art after the negative experience of grade eight, did not make art for the remaining years of high school and university, produced her own work again within her teacher education program, does not make art currently but has intentions of getting back into it. Nora is on the verge of getting back into making art as a result of being forced to produce art works in the art methodology course. Toward this goal, she explained that she had purchased some new art making supplies, had considered evening courses that were offered by the local art gallery, and had talked to her mother about doing some art activities together. Although Nora admitted that she currently did not create her own art, she was optimistic about changing that in the near future. Patti confirmed that although she has completed a number of craft projects, she does not believe she created art, particularly as one would typically conceive of an artist creating art. As examples, she described craft projects made to give as gifts including collaged flower pots and dried flower wreaths. She always makes a sample of each project that she then presents to her students as the project they will make in art lessons. In addition, she makes computer generated greeting cards. However, she doesn't consider these activities as making real art. During grades 11 and 12, Patti was 120 motivated to spent some of her free time sketching still-life arrangements because she had several friends who were very good at making art and encouraged her to try. I had a friend at the time who was an incredible artist, she could draw anything and did beautiful art. She had given me a couple of pieces and I thought, gee, this is kind of neat, I think I could it that. So I just played with it a bit and that is all I did. (P-l-1) This did not turn out to be a long term interest or sustained art making effort for Patti. The Participants' Beliefs About Their Ability to Create Art Trish believes that she does not have the ability to make art now, but she thinks she could learn to make art. She would need to take lessons in order to be able to draw. She might consider 'how-to' books and might explore art making on her own. If she were to receive instruction in art making, it would have to be on a one-to-one basis so that she could avoid making comparisons to others' work. Trish thought that it is possible for everyone to learn to draw, but it is not possible for everyone to learn to draw realistically and accurately. She might be able to draw realistically only if someone trained her. Even though there are degrees of drawing abilities and degrees of creativity, anyone can develop skills that would improve their art. She wishes she could make art the way she sees others creating it, and to be able to paint the way she has watched it being done on television. Rita believes that she can do art on some level, but not very well right now. She is able to come up with pictures in her mind, but cannot put them down the way she can see them. 121 Sherri stated that she can draw quite well, but that she needs to look at something in order to create an image. She can do a straightforward drawing from an observed subject, but if she had to vary the subject in some way, she would not be able to create a picture. She needs something specific to follow in order to make her art. Even though Sherri is able to draw well, she was not satisfied with that ability because she feels she was not creative. I am able to draw and I can draw quite well, but I am not a creative drawer. I need to look at something and then I can do it, like reproducing something. But I don't find myself a creative person. I have always wanted to be a creative person, where I don't have to look at something, where I could just sit down and do it. (S-l-3) In spite of her drawing ability, Sherri still does not consider herself to be an artist. Beth has carried with her for some time the impression that she is not artistic. I have always had the impression that I am not artistic. I'm not. I don't find that I am creative in that way or that I can draw. I'm not sure what it is, I don't remember anybody ever telling me I can't draw, I just haven't ever been able to do it. (B-l-2) Beth believes she could learn to draw, but if she did get into doing art, she would make only flowers or landscapes because she could not do anything else. She would also like to work with clay because mistakes would not matter as much as they do with drawing. Beth explained that she had not had any actual instruction in how to make art until her art methodology course, and she found that her drawing ability improved during that course, so her 122 discomfort with making art lessened somewhat. She has always had the impression that she is not artistic. Gary has never made art because he can't. He believes he might be able to make art, but right now he does not have the skills to be good at art. He would like to have the ability to make a picture in his mind and then be able to put it down, but he doesn't have that ability. He is inhibited about art making. He believes he could learn to make art, but it would take a great deal of work and concentration. He would have to take instruction of some kind in order to develop the skills required to be able to put down on paper what is in his mind. Doreen is quite convinced that she does not have the ability to create art. She would like to be able to draw, but knows that she cannot. She has reached this conclusion because of her dissatisfaction with her drawing efforts when she was young. Her pictures never looked right. This dissatisfaction with her drawing efforts continued into adulthood and contributed to her self image as non-artistic. "My people look like stick people, they don't look like real people, and it makes me think I would never amount to much as an artist" (D-l-10). She does not even consider doing any forms of artwork now, stating, "Drawing, pottery, for myself, no, no! I am not an artsy person" (D-l- 2). In fact, she considers making art an intimidating prospect. Even though Nora talked about wanting to get back into making art after not having done it for some time, she hinted that she would also need to re-build her confidence in her ability to create art. Referring to the experience of making art again within her art methodology course, Nora explained the difficulty in dealing with her negative feelings about her art making abilities and with comparing her work to others. 123 It was more intimidating that I didn't view myself as artistic any more, or creative. So it was difficult. It was intimidating because it brought me back to that experience, maybe I am not the greatest artist in the world, and I had to get past that and look at in. a difference perspective and say, well, this is my chance to learn something different and something new and it took me awhile to get used to that and to not have those negative feelings about myself, about my artistic self... But then it also brought back, during that class setting in the education course, there were some incredible artists! So it was a little ego deflating in that respect because in a class setting, I was always best, and here I was in the middle of the road. So it was a little tough to swallow. (N-l-9,10) When Patti talked about her ability to make art, she made the distinction between drawing things that she looked at and making creative art, stating that she is able to do one but not the other. She explained that the only way that she is able to draw is when she has something to look at. I can draw most things if I have the picture in front of me, and I can change them from a small picture to a large picture. But I do need something to draw from, I can't just come up with something. I certainly could not do cartoon characters or other pictures without looking at one, but I can match quite well. (P-l-3) Reasons Given for Not Being Able to Create Art Trish began to feel that she was not creative when in grade eight she saw many other students who were more creative than she was. She felt discouraged when she saw that she could not draw. She could draw, but just not as realistically as others could. She would do a drawing at home and think that it was good, but after taking it to class and comparing it to what others had done, she would conclude that her drawing was not good. Every assignment in art stressed her because she did not know if it was going to 124 measure up. She was apprehensive about doing art because she thought her ideas were stupid and she knew that she had no skills in art. Being a perfectionist does not help. Myself, it is because when I think about art, there is a lot of work, and because I want things too perfect. I want to be more creative and I put a lot of pressure on myself and then I get frustrated. Sometimes it is the frustration level, too. Maybe it is even anticipated failure that can shut a person down. (T-2-11) However, Trish is not afraid to make samples of art projects for her teaching because she does not have to compare them to those made by other adults. The evaluation of her art in the art methodology course in her teacher education program was perceived by Trish as an added pressure which then hindered her creativity. Without evaluation she might have explored various art making options to a greater extent, but with evaluation, she thought "this might be wrong." She felt intimidated because she was being evaluated by someone who was an 'expert' in art. Trish talked about how a lack of exposure to art when she was young has resulted in her having a very simplistic way of representing her ideas. Without experiences in art, she does not have multiple options or possible variations to consider. She is not imaginative. Rita explained that she is not able to do art because her creative side has never been explored. As such, she is not good at making art. She would have an idea in her head of something and how it should look, but her drawings never turned out that way. She also may not have the fine motor skills for coordination that is required to create art. She feels intimidated about drawing because she does not want to do anything wrong. Rita does not have the dedication to learn art making; she is interested in music instead. She 125 wanted to be able to draw, but when she could not get it right, she decided that she was not able to draw and settled for that conclusion. After that, she was not inspired to even try anymore. Sherri explained that she is not a risk taker and therefore struggles to make art. She finds it a challenge to form images in her mind. If she had to create an abstract image, she would just stare at the paper because nothing would come to mind. She recalled getting very frustrated as a child because she could not draw the subject exactly as she saw it. An incident from grade one was still clear in her memory. I can remember an experience in grade school very vividly. I was in a grade one class and everyday we had to write in our journals and everyday I drew a house. Every day I would draw the same house, I was trying to perfect the house. And the teacher said you are not allowed to draw that house again. I remember becoming very emotional because that is what I wanted to draw, I needed to get it right. I think that what she wanted me to do was be creative, do something different, but I wasn't willing to take that risk. So somewhere between when I was two and when I was six years old, I lost that ability to take a risk. (S-l-7) Beth explained that she is not comfortable with making art. She remembered being very frustrated whenever she tried to do a painting because she could not erase mistakes, and she could not get the details correct. In elementary school, Beth was not good in the academic subjects, and so was scared to do art because it would be just one more thing that she was not good at. She 'had it in her head' that drawings should be exact. She felt that she was not able to draw as well as her friend could; therefore, she concluded that art must be her friend's niche and she must have a different niche. When she had to do art as an assignment in her methodology course, she was scared 126 about the expectation of having to make her own art works, afraid because she could not draw or do shading or make things look realistic. Gary does not make his own art works primarily because he has no interest in making art. He is into sports 'big time'. Gary thought that he would not like either painting or drawing. He does like photography and thinks he would like working with clay because he likes working with his hands. Doreen had no hesitation in providing the explanation for her inability to create art: "I don't get it. I don't have the right perspective. My brain does not function that way" (D-l-1). She said she was not able to transfer what she sees around her onto a piece of paper, "it just doesn't transfer for my eyes" (D- 1-2). As a result, photography became her preferred means of making pictures because "I can see it and it is not me having to reproduce it, I can do it in an artistic way with the camera" (D-l-2). The fact that Doreen's father and brother are both able to create art and she is not has convinced her that the ability to make art is a talent that you either do or do not have. Another reason Doreen offered to explain her inability to create art was simply that she is too interested in other things to work on art and as a result, art fell by the way-side. Her observations lead her to believe that one needed to be gifted in art before art would be given a high priority. Nora repeatedly returned to her negative experiences with her grade eight art course as the reason that she is not able to make art. However, her more recent experience with making art has caused her to reconsider the conclusion that she was not an artist. As an adult, she is going through a reassessment of that conclusion, but has not yet delved into art making sufficiently to be convinced that she is able to make art and to completely restore her identity as an artist. 127 Patti thought there were several reasons that she was not able to make her own art. The first reason was embedded in her perception that duplicating a picture or an observed subject was not making real art. Making real art was being able to create the image in your mind first then being able to put it down on paper or canvas. Therefore, her ability to draw something that she is looking at does not qualify as making real art. " I mean, I can draw, but I can't see a vision in my mind and then draw it so I never really thought of myself as an artist. I was just a kid fooling around who was tracing without actually tracing" (P-l-10). Patti also thought that a lack of opportunities to develop the skills of art making explained her inability to make art. Maybe, I just never, I was never given the experiences to find out whether or not I could, so that I could take a look at someone else's work and think I wish I could do that too, and then maybe I could do that... We do it once or twice and it doesn't work out and we decide well, that's not for me. (P-2-4) An additional reason Patti gave for not being able to make her own art was a lack of time for and interest in pursuing art. Her interests lie in sports and dance and so she chooses to pursue these activities in any free time she might have, time which is always scarce. "I am thinking about my list of things to do, and my mind is too preoccupied with other things to even take the time to just relax and even doodle" (P-2-8). The Participants' Beliefs About Art Talent Trish believed that some people have a natural talent in art, so when they draw something it looks realistic. She thought that there is a difference between being talented in art and being able to draw, but there is no difference between being talented and being artistic in art. Creativity is subjective. 128 Original art is something that has not been created by anyone before. It is unique and catches the viewer's eye. Original art should come from your mind. According to Trish, this is the measure of being talented in art. Rita believed that a good drawing is one that looks like what it is supposed to be. Everyone could learn to make art to some extent, but not everyone would be able to learn to make realistic art. Rita thought that talent is the technical ability to make art, whereas creativity is the interesting idea behind the art. Sherri believed that artists who produce representational work must have the ability to put down what they see in their mind, whereas abstract artists work differently. After explaining that original art is not reproduced and is something that is created unlike anything that has been created before, Sherri went on to say that she is not able to produce original art work because she can make pictures only by looking at a subject. As the discussion continued and Sherri sorted out the difference between reproducing another's art work versus producing a picture of an observed subject, she said, "In that way, I would actually be creative!" (S-l-6). Sherri said that there are two kinds of talent; one is being able to draw accurately, which is the kind of talent she has, and the other is being creative, which is the talent she does not have. Sherri explained that when the term 'being talented in art' is used in the school setting, it generally refers to those students who make their art works look the way they are supposed to look. , Beth believed that creativity is something more than the technical ability of drawing correctly; it is that thing that leads one to being an artist. Talent lets you see differently, and that reflects in your artwork. Beth thought that having drawing skills would lead to greater creativity because drawing ability allows one to produce what is in your mind thereby eliminating the frustration that comes from not being able to make a picture. 129 Sometimes that talent does make a difference in how you look at things. Some people have an eye for things, you know, and I think if they have an eye to really appreciate the beauty around them, or perceive things in a different way, and that reflects in their artwork and has quite an impact. (B-l-16) Having an ability to draw will facilitate creativity because then you are able to produce what is in your mind and that way it is not so frustrating. But not everyone has that talent in art. "Not everyone can do everything. People have different areas of life that they focus on" (B-l-8). Doreen's family situation convinced her that the ability to create art is a talent that you do or do not have. The fact that her brother is able to make art in the same way that her father is able to, and the fact that she is able to sing in the same way that her mother is able to, led Doreen to believe that these are special talents inherited discriminately. She stated that everyone is born with a talent but not everyone has a talent in art. Nora offered what seemed like contradictory opinions about art talent. On the one hand she stated that some people have an innate ability to create art, but another time, Nora explained that most people need to learn to make art by going through developmental steps of acquiring art skills and by practicing those skills. In spite of the relatively broad view that Patti held of what constituted art, she was more narrow in her acceptance of what constituted being an artist. For example, she was accepting of the various styles of art, valuing abstract art equally to representational art. She also thought that the judgment of good art was determined by personal preference. However, being an artist was having the ability to create images in the mind then 130 transferring that image to paper. She thought that only some people had the talent to do that. The Participants' Beliefs About Art Making by Others During the discussions about art making, the participants often shared explanations and opinions that they related to the general population. They offered reasons for people not being able to make art, or choosing to avoid art in their lives. As I listened to the participants' comments that were intended to apply to the general population rather than specifically to themselves, I was not always convinced that that was the case. At times, it seemed to me that some of the explanations that were intended to apply to 'other people' might also apply to themselves. This particular aspect of the topic of art making is significant because of the possible connections between what the participants believed about art making in general and the application of those beliefs to their students. Trish stated that sometimes a specific experience from the past will result in adults not wanting to do art. An example of such an experience might be not receiving a positive response to some art work that was thought to be good. As a result, one could be discouraged and shy away from making art again because they then believe they are not capable of making art. It is easier to distance oneself from art than to risk making a mistake or making poor art. There is always a fear of not being good. The need to have art done perfectly and successfully can result in a great deal of self-imposed pressure attached to making art. Anticipated failure can shut a person down. Trish also explained that there is a reluctance to go through the time and work necessary to develop art making skills to the point where art making is successful and enjoyable. The factors which will determine whether or not someone is willing to put in that amount of work include having a love of 131 art, having a dream to succeed in art, or looking to a role model who makes art. Rita stated that most people don't draw or make art because they think they can't, in fact they know they can't and so they don't bother to try. Some people are uncomfortable with making art, a feeling which comes from a lack of ability and a lack of confidence in their ability. This is an inner feeling that comes from previous experiences and that can have a lasting effect. "I think that art has a lot to do with self-esteem. Every subject has a lot to do with self esteem but with art, like music, if you are not encouraged and you don't feel good about it then you are not going to do it or enjoy it" (R-l-7). That inner feeling keeps people from wanting to ever try again. Rita thought that it might be possible to reverse those inner feelings, but only through new experiences, openness, self-reflection, and a great deal of effort. It would take a strong, positive experience to undo the effects of an earlier negative experience. Often when people get blocked, such as believing that they can't draw, they get stuck and then do not want to change because it is easier not to. Rita also thought that the nature of art making, having to be reflective, did not suit many people. I think it might be the same reason that most people don't journal, or something like that. It is kind of a quiet time with yourself and you have to be creative and reflective to do it I think. For me, I would imagine drawing is like therapy, and I don't think a lot of people are ready to be that introspective. (R-l-10) Sherri explained that many people are reluctant to make art because they grow up thinking that what they produce in art has to look like what they see, and that is an expectation from which it is very hard to be free. To be satisfied with your work, you have to be confident and pretty sure of yourself. 132 The expectation of having drawings look real gets worse as we get older because we lose our ability to take risks, which happens because of a fear of failure. People also have a very high expectation that creative works must come out of nowhere, which is why they get very anxious about their inability to create an image. Sherri's recommendation would be to 'just draw'. "I think that if you make it something technical, that is maybe when people lose interest. And I think that when you talk about skill, people would get very anxious about not having them, and then just not be willing to try" (S-3-20). Sherri thought that not everyone has the patience to learn to make art. You have to have an interest in art in order to have a disposition to do it. What triggers an interest in art is experience with it, an enjoyment for it, and an exposure to it when young. Beth believed that it is possible to learn to draw, especially some of the technical aspects of drawing, such as face proportions. She believed that fine motor skills have something to do with being able to draw, as well as good perception ~ a good eye. It is best to start gradually with art making, such as doing it as a hobby, getting comfortable with it then building on that start. The more you do it, the better you will feel about it. She also believed that you can develop 'the eye', the ability to see things a certain way and to know what looks good. In order to develop a disposition to make art, creativity must be encouraged and there must be exposure to many different forms of art. Too narrow an experience with art may result in finding that you don't like it or are not good at it. Beth stated that one is more likely to have a disposition to make art if you grew up with art. Gary stated that some people are naturally talented in art and others are not, so some people will make art and others will not. Some people put a great deal of time and practice into their art making. He thinks that some people may have a disposition to make art because they get joy from doing it. 133 He was not able to provide an explanation as to why some people feel that joy from doing art but others do not, only that enjoyment in making art comes from inside. Doreen explained that not only is it necessary to have exposure to art and opportunities to work with it if people are likely to pursue art, but also that they must feel successful in their early experiences with art making. People will put up guards about their ability to create art and decide in advance that they can not do it if they are not successful initially. That being the case, Doreen felt that elementary school is the key time to provide those opportunities to embrace art because it is the time when art is mandatory for all children. There are fewer opportunities to offer art to all students later in schooling. It is important to have successful experiences in art when one is young because it is much harder to break down the barriers adults often form related to their ability to make art. Doreen also explained that some people are reluctant to take up drawing as adults because they do not want to return to a stage where their drawing looks basic and primary-like. Limited time forces people to make choices, and art does not always get chosen. Also, she thought that people would need to see that making art was beneficial to them in some way before they would give it any amount of time. Nora explained that many adults do not make their own art because they decide in advance that they cannot do it, then do not bother putting much effort into those occasions when they are involved in making something. The outcome only confirms their idea that they cannot make art. Patti provided a number of reasons to explain why some people do not make art. The inability to break down a subject into smaller pieces to work on makes the task of drawing much more difficult. The inability to see certain aspects of the subject, such as overlap, prevents the final drawing from looking correct. Without successes in these drawing efforts, people will not 134 continue with making art. Patti emphasized that the need for prolonged experiences with art and the need to feel good about their final art works are important. I think they need to feel successful about the work they are doing, they need to feel good about it. They need encouragement. And I guess they need the experience to keep working at it and to keep developing it. If you just let them do it once in a blue moon, they would just lose it. You may never lose it but they won't take it to the next step. They will just end up plateauing and just always, you know. So I think it is giving them the experience to improve and to develop it further and giving them that ability to show it off and to be proud of the work they do and be excited about it. (P-2-12) Beliefs About Children's Ability to Create Art The participants offered some information about their beliefs about their students' abilities to make art. Trish believes that all the students in her class could learn to draw. In order for that to happen, they would need guidance, a great deal of practice, a variety of art activities, and exposure to the same concept or skill from a number of different approaches. If all elementary children had these experiences every year, they would develop art making skills. Al l children can learn to draw, but there will be some differences in their abilities. Only a few of her grade six students have said, "I can't draw" and if someone does say that, she responds with the comment, "There is no such thing as I can't, only that something needs to be learned" (T-2-6). Rita was able to determine early in the new school year which of her students were creative and which were not creative. She thinks that not all her students could be creative, and that some just cannot do art because they are too rigid and are not confident with self expression. 135 I hate to say that some kids will never be creative. I also have a few kids who are very rigid and who cannot seem to express themselves in creative ways. Those are the kids who need to know exactly how to do it step by step, so it will be a while until those kids can, there needs to be some major letting go and risk taking for those kids to feel that they can express themselves. (R-2-14) Rita found that these students are perfectionists and continually seek reassurance from their teachers. She has noticed that by grade seven, students are no longer willing to take risks with their art making. Girls seem to deal with a peer pressure when it comes to making art, they want all their work to be the same. It is best for teachers to try various strategies to help students learn to draw while they are young and are still willing to try. If students are going to learn to draw, they would need to be given a nurturing environment, to have some social changes in their lives, to be taught actual drawing techniques, to gain a pride in their work, and to be convinced to try to do their best. Sherri has found that some of her Kindergarten students are reluctant to make their own art and struggle to do some creative art projects, so she needs to help them by breaking down the tasks into smaller steps. Many of these children have not had art making experiences at home, and so find it difficult to come up with something from their imagination. Some of the students draw at home and bring their pictures to show her. Sherri explained the dilemma she sees with having Kindergarten students do creative art projects. When teachers require the students to complete a project in a certain way, the students learn that there is always a particular way that their projects are supposed to look, and therefore, become reluctant to ever do anything on their own. Sherri believed that all of her students could learn to 136 draw if they were given the appropriate opportunities and encouragement. She believed that some of her students are fine arts people, that is just the way they are, and it is sad that there is not more time spent encouraging art in school. Beth used the directed drawing program quite extensively with her grade one students because she finds that many of them just scribble. The directed drawing program gives them some technical skills and the confidence that they can draw. However, Beth acknowledged that this program downplays their creativity. She ensured that her students enjoy making art by giving them all a drawing book, giving them opportunities to do their own drawings, and by giving them positive responses to their efforts. She does not want her students to think that they can not draw. She knows that all the students in her class could learn to draw, but that some will be better than the others because they have a natural ability in art. Gary has noticed that young children enjoy doing art. He would provide encouragement to any students who thought that they could not draw, and would not allow negative comments. He feels it is important that everyone produce something in art. Doreen believed that all the students in her class could learn to draw, but that they need to feel good about what they have done if they are to continue to make art. Because she works with young children, Doreen finds that they are generally quite satisfied with what they do in art and therefore, she does not often hear the students say "I can't draw." Nora has already heard "I can't draw" comments from her grade four and five students. She has observed that part of their identity is already that they cannot draw and are not artists. Nora has empathy for these students, acknowledges their feelings, and tries to work together with them. It was 1 3 7 important to Nora to prevent the students from feeling any inadequacy or negativity toward art. Patti believes that likely only half of her class will be interested in continuing with art, that some will focus on art and love it while other will not be interested in art at all. Patti thought that even though all of her students could learn to draw, it was unlikely that they would. Also, the extent to which they gained drawing skills would vary. Many students need reassurance that their work is acceptable. Some of her students are regularly not happy with their art work and ask other students to do it for them. In such cases, Patti encouraged the students to continue trying until they are able to achieve the results they are after. Some students, in particular the boys in her grade 1/2 class, struggle to complete art projects because they have not yet developed the fine motor skills required to manipulate materials. Summary Statement The preceding extractions from the participants' interview comments provide insight into what their art experiences have been, and what they believe about ability to create art. Even though some uniqueness of experiences or beliefs was evident, there was significant commonality of experiences with art and beliefs about ability to create art within the data from the eight participants. The question then remains, "How do these beliefs affect their art teaching practice?" The second phase of this study attempted to gain insight into that research question. Three of the eight participants interviewed in phase one became the participants in phase two. The selection of these participants was based on a desire to include a range of grades, to involve more than one school district, to avoid those teachers who had been my students, and to select the participants who were most willing to share their ideas and thoughts. 138 Chapter 6 PRESENTING THE DATA: Phase Two Phase two of this study consisted of an investigation of the art teaching practice of three teachers, Doreen, Nora, and Patti, who had been participants in phase one. The information about their art programs, their teaching, and their ideas about art education were obtained by observations of their teaching of art, attention to the classrooms, examination of some planning documents, and interviews with the participants before and after each observation. At the conclusion of the five observation sessions with each teacher, a final, more extensive interview was conducted. In order to obtain additional information about the school and about the school district's policies and support of art education, an interview was also conducted with each of the three school principals. Whereas the source of information from phase one was the participants' words given during the interviews, the source of information for phase two was multifaceted, including the participant's words and my interpretations of what was observed in the classrooms. The analysis of the data from phase two has been presented in this chapter in two formats. For each participant, there is a vignette followed by a teaching profile. The vignettes were used as a means to more accurately present a portrait of each of these beginning generalist teachers. Through the thoughts and the dialogue contained in each vignette, the beliefs, ideas, and to some extent, the personalities of the participants are presented. The fact that I spent a greater amount of time with these three participants compared to the other five teachers allowed me to get to know them better, and therefore enabled me to use the vignette format to represent their past experiences and their beliefs. The vignettes were created through a certain degree of 139 fictionalization; however, they are based on the real-life situation of each participant and incorporate actual comments offered by the participants. Each teaching profile presents a picture of a teaching practice by commenting on several key aspects of teaching, as indicated by the headings. As much as possible, these teaching profiles represent the participants' own words by using the actual phrases and terms they offered in the interviews and during their teaching in order to more accurately represent their identity and actual teaching practice. Narrative # 1: Doreen's Story The 6:00 a.m. alarm jolted Doreen from her sound sleep. It took her only a few minutes to wake up and get her bearings about the day ahead. Sometimes, such as this morning, she wished she could roll over arid sleep longer, but it was her choice to arrive at school early and to have that preparation time before the school day started. After a big stretch, Doreen went through her exercise routine, something she did faithfully so that she could keep up with her cycling and hiking friends, then moved on to the shower. Looking in the mirror while brushing her hair, her thoughts returned to the conversation of yesterday. Is she an artist? No, she thought, she was definitely not an artist. She was a teacher, and a singer, and even a bit of an athlete, but she was not an artist. She had not given much thought to art in the last few years until the researcher's questions prompted her to think about it. Me an artist! She smirked mockingly at her reflection in the mirror. She knew she couldn't produce anything more than stick figures, which was a little bit surprising considering how well her Dad could draw, and her brother for that matter. Doreen wondered about that at times. Even with her father's coaching, she had never learned how to draw. Watching her father 140 draw did not seem to transfer the 'how-to-do-it' skill to her. She recalled having lots of art materials around the house when she was young, and she remembers trying to draw, but she also clearly remembered being very frustrated with her drawings because they didn't look right. She remembered erasing endlessly. Try as she might, her art never looked the way she wanted it to. She chuckled, remembering the times she would use tracing paper, or would ask someone else to do her art work for her in school, sometimes a friend, and sometimes her Dad. Her brain just didn't work the way it needed to in order to make her drawings look real. Doreen turned her car from her driveway onto the ski hill road to begin her descent down the hill to her school. Fortunately, it was still early in the morning and she had the road almost entirely to herself. She still believed that the explanation she gave yesterday was true; some people are talented in art and some are not. If you have a gift in art, you can take what you see, or what you feel for that matter, and be able to put it down on paper or on a canvas. She was gifted with a talent for singing, but not for drawing. The fact that she was not able to make art in spite of having such a talented father is proof that you have to be given the ability to make art, which she wasn't. But, she thought consolingly, not everyone can do everything. Maneuvering one of the many sharp corners in this alpine road which took her beyond the imposing mountain, Doreen caught sight of the scene that suddenly appeared below her. "Wow!" she exclaimed aloud to herself, "That is beautiful!" The early morning light had just broken through the clouds to cast a soft light on the rooftops of the still sleepy town in the valley bottom. The sun's rays bounced off the distant lake turning it into a shimmering mirror. The few remaining coloured leaves on the popular trees were turned to golden brilliance as the sun intensified their colour. "If only I had my camera!" exclaimed Doreen, "that would make a beautiful shot!" She 141 loved taking pictures of scenery and this was a shot not to be missed. Oh well, she would have to hope for the same light conditions tomorrow morning, she thought, taking note of the time. Photography, now that was her art form, Doreen thought, returning to the idea of being able to make art. She may not be able to draw but she could take great pictures! She envisioned the wall in her bedroom with its growing number of enlarged photographs from her various travels. Doreen mockingly cautioned herself, better stick to your camera! Her efforts to draw her own pictures were not very successful, actually, they were down right awful, she thought with a chuckle. It had been difficult to explain why she couldn't draw. She just couldn't! Her brain did not function the way it needed to in order to draw something. She could not look at something and put it down on paper. It was the task of transferring a three dimensional world to a two dimensional paper that was impossible for her. Now, she prefers to avoid trying to make art at all because it is easier than having to deal with something so hard and frustrating. The red light ahead of her interrupted her thoughts. She turned left and left again into the school parking lot. The school was still empty, except for Randy, her principal, who also liked to arrive early at school each day and take advantage of the quiet working time. "Morning, Doreen, " he greeted her with a smile. "How did your interview go yesterday?" "Well, it certainly made me think about some things that I haven't given much thought to before. For example, what do you think about this question: Is it possible for adults to learn to draw if they have never done so before?" 142 Randy thought for a moment, then chuckled as he replied, "Well, even if it is possible, I doubt that this adult could learn to draw." He dismissed the improbable notion with a wave of his hand as he walked into his office. Doreen continued down the long hall to her classroom at the far end. She was pretty sure that it was possible to learn to draw. She knew from experience that non-singers could learn to sing, so she thought that non- artists could learn to draw in much the same way. In fact, she saw it happen one time in her class. When the gallery educator did a project with her kids, she first taught them all about patterns and how to make patterns before they made those huge cats all filled with different patterns. They were amazing! Even with that little bit of instruction, those kids created some great stuff! Yes, given the opportunities and instruction, people could learn to draw. No matter how hard she tried to imagine herself learning to draw, she found it impossible to believe that she would ever draw well. Perhaps she should qualify her conclusion a little to say that it was true only to a certain degree. She knew she would never be as good at art as the person from the gallery, or as her father for that matter, but she certainly could hopefully progress from where she was now, which was pretty much rock bottom on the drawing-skill scale. After unpacking her briefcase, scanning several notices, and returning the marked exercise books to the out box, Doreen settled at her desk and opened her daybook. Before even looking at the two page spread in front of her, she gazed out the window as her mind was still on the idea of learning to draw. She knew it would not be a simple task for her, or for any adult for that matter, to pick up something as difficult as drawing after not having worked with it since being a youngster. Not many people would feel comfortable going back to square one and being faced with the same caliber of work as they did when they were in grade four or five. My guess is, she thought, that not 143 many adults would want to be put through the process of learning to draw. Randy, her principal was quick to dismiss the idea. Any lessons or drawing instruction for adults would have to be very respectful of how they felt about it. Placing a bundle of worksheets on her desk, Doreen spotted the book she had just purchased. Her mother had heard about it at a McCracken workshop and had recommended it to her. It was pretty handy having a mother who was also a teacher! Reading this book, Drawing with Children, A Creative Method for Beginning Adults, Too, was her professional development plan for art for this year. Hopefully, she would be able to learn to draw herself as well as get some good ideas for helping her students. She believed her drawing could improve with instruction; she just needed to be taught how to do it. Her father had tried to teach her when she was younger, but it didn't seem to click for her then. Maybe things would be different now that she was an adult. She sure hoped so. After all, this book was geared for adults who were beginners. That must mean they would know how to work with someone like me, no talent and afraid to try. The trouble is, life is so busy, she probably wouldn't get around to reading the book until the Christmas holidays. Even so, the prospect of learning to draw excited her. She really did want to be able to draw. A busy life was an understatement, she thought sitting down in her chair feeling fatigued just thinking about all that was coming up in the next few weeks. She was responsible for the school's Christmas event, a visiting musical group appearing at a carol sing, crafts, and a hot chocolate night that was open to all students and parents. Then there were all her community and church commitments as well, plus all the special events to attend at this time of the year. But, she reasoned, she needed to keep a balance by having some non-school things happening in her life. Besides, she loved doing 144 those other things. She loved singing and knew she would never give up her choir! Now there was an area in which she was naturally talented! It is funny how things turned out, she thought. Her father is so good at art and her mother is so good at music. Her brother followed in her father's footsteps and she followed her mother's love of music. No, she would never give up her music. For that matter, she couldn't imagine giving up her cycling, hiking or traveling. She had so many good friends who did all these things with her and they were important for keeping a balance in her life. There were just too many interesting things to do! Rather than giving up any of her other activities, she would try to squeeze in" one more thing, learning to draw. Doreen stood the last of the science books from the library along the top of the shelving unit that separated the desks from the carpet area in her classroom. The worksheets were sitting on the counter next to her chair, and the instructions for the poetry writing activity were neatly printed on the board. Yes, it looked as if she had everything ready to begin the day. There were a few more minutes left before the students would be allowed to enter the building, so she sat at her desk and scanned her day book. She liked to be at least a day ahead in her planning. What would she do for Tuesday afternoon's art lesson? Normally, she would go down the hall to visit Doris or Pat and pick their brains; they always seemed to have good ideas for art projects. But she had another option for a change. She picked up the teachers' manual of the new art series that someone had told her about. Fortunately, there had been a copy of both the teacher's manual and a single copy of a student text available at the resource center when she had called about it, but two weeks was not very long for a lending period. Doreen had to admit to herself that she probably would not have bothered with this book, but there was a chance that her art teaching might be observed, so she thought 145 she had better do something good in her classes. Flipping through the book quickly, she could see many good ideas for lessons and decided that she would have to photocopy them before returning the books. While continuing to scan the pages, her attention was caught by a bold abstract painting. Her fingers stopped the pages so that she could get a better look at the picture. It wasn't of anything in particular, but she liked it. She imagined a large framed version of this abstract painting hanging in her living room. Hmm, she thought, if she ever did make art, she would do abstract paintings. That way, she wouldn't have to worry about the pictures looking real or not, and she wouldn't have to figure out how to make the three dimensional world look real on a two dimensional page. There might even be a chance that she would be successful at making abstract pictures. She thought abstract was just as valuable as realistic art, well, maybe not as skilled, but it was as creative. Yes, she thought, she would try abstract painting sometime, whenever that sometime would be. Doreen's thoughts were interrupted by the first bell. She left her desk and sprang into action, greeting her noisy grade two students in the hallway, ensuring that all coats and boots were properly removed and stored. The students moved into the classroom carrying many items for her to see and many questions for her to answer. Another busy day of teaching had begun. Shoulder checking briefly at each student's desk later that morning, Doreen slowly walked down each row as the children worked on their daily journal writing. She paused at Todd's desk a moment to have a second look at the drawing he was doing to accompany his writing. Not surprisingly, he was drawing another Poke'mon character. She knew Todd also had a scrap book filled with Poke'mon pictures. This craze was still going strong in this school even though the principal had enforced a ban of the cards in school. Many of the students chose to spend their recess time exchanging pictures 146 they had drawn themselves, and teaching each other how to draw certain characters. In some ways, this latest craze has enticed some children to draw more than they would have otherwise. And because Todd was pretty good at drawing these characters, everyone wanted one of his pictures or to have him teach them how to draw their favourite characters. Several of the girls in her class seemed to be pretty good at drawing as well, Cynthia and Julie for example, but they didn't get caught up with the Poke'mon stuff to the same extent. Doreen lifted her head and surveyed her group of students. They were only seven years old, but already it was obvious which ones could draw well and which ones could not. The nice thing about this age is that most of the students are satisfied with whatever they do in art, well, everyone that is except Derrick, but then he is unhappy about everything all the time. Poor kid. But generally, she has rarely heard any of her students say, "I can't draw." They are all pretty enthusiastic about art period, whenever she manages to fit one in. Could they all learn to draw? Hmm, she is pretty sure that they could. Of course, she knew they would need to feel successful and to feel good about their art work if they were going to continue with it. That is where she came in, she reminded herself. Doreen let out a big sigh at the thought of her responsibility to teach art. Now that is the trouble, she thought, having to teaching art! She definitely found it frustrating because she knew she could not give her students the real art they deserved. Fortunately, she is always enthusiastic about art, which seems to rub off onto her students. Her class is always happy to have art. Some giggling behind her caught Doreen's attention. Obviously, these students had completed their journals; time to move on to math. Later that morning, Doreen stood for a moment at the window watching the students on the playground making the most of their short 147 recess. Fortunately, the field was still dry and hopefully the mud and snow stage was still awhile off. She caught sight of some of her own students. There was Todd typically huddled with a small group of other boys on the sidewalk; another group of students were playing hard at their mixed age soccer game, and as usual, Derrick was standing by himself. They are a needy group, Doreen thought. Many of her students were from homes with challenges of various kinds. The school tried hard to provide for their needs, but often there wasn't much support from home. She knew, for example, that only a few of the students in her class were encouraged to make art or were given art supplies or were taken to art galleries. That was all the more reason for her to ensure they had some experiences with art at school, especially those students who were gifted in art and would likely carry on with it as a special interest. She would hate to think that their time in her class might destroy their talent in art. As Doreen considered this further, she realized that art should be for all the students in her class, not only for those who could already draw well. She knew that doing art makes your brain work in a particular way and also provides amazing ways of re-seeing the world. That is when her sense of guilt was most obvious to her. She knew art was important for these children, but she really wondered what kind of a job she was doing. She had to admit that she had not opened the Art Curriculum IRP and was unfamiliar with its contents. Unfortunately, she had no opportunity to become familiar with the IRP in her teacher education program. In fact, she had no opportunity to learn anything about art because she went through her Bachelor of Education program without a single course in art. Maybe she shouldn't be too hard on herself; after all, that was a gap in her preparation that she had not yet had the time to fill. As the remainder of the morning passed, Doreen began to get hungry. Eating breakfast so early always made it a challenge to get through the 148 morning without being famished. Then she remembered with pleasure that it was Monday and she was meeting Wendy and Jagit, two other beginning teachers from another school, for their weekly lunch together. They faithfully met once a week at the Woodfire Bakery for the best soup in town and a good visit. They always had so much talk about because they were all in the same boat, trying to survive the challenges of teaching. "Do you ever go to the local public art gallery, either of you?" Doreen directed her question to both Wendy and Jagit. "I don't even know where it is." answered Wendy. "Me either," said Jagit, "why do you ask?" "Oh, I was just surprised when it was brought to my attention that I visit art galleries all the time on my travels but never at home. Do either of you make your own art?" Doreen continued the questioning. "Not me." volunteered Jagit, "no one in my family is talented in art. But, I think that is true for most people. I'd bet that the percentage of the general population that creates art is quite small." "I'm sure you're right, but why do you suppose that is?" asked Wendy. "I think some people have nothing to do with art when they are adults because they were never exposed to it when they were young," responded Doreen. "The experiences you have when you are young are essential for your future dispositions." "Well, I think it is just that some people are talented in art and the others aren't" was Jagit's opinion. "I agree with you," said Doreen, "And I also think that there is an expectation that the art that we do has to be realistic. So how many of us could draw something and make it look real? That is something that totally, totally hinders some people." 149 "Well, isn't that what you try to do when you draw something, make it look like the subject?" asked Wendy. "Isn't that what good art is?" "For some kinds of art, yes. That is why so many people decide that they can't do art; they are not able to make their drawings look real. And having decided that they can't draw, their minds are made up, then all future decisions about doing art are guided by that conclusion. Because they have put up barriers, if opportunities to learn to draw come along, they won't even try because they have already decided that they can't" "I think it would be very hard for an adult who is not an artist to learn to draw, don't you?" asked Wendy. "You're right, Wendy, it would be tough. They would have to go back to square one and start from scratch." "So that is why you were saying that the exposure and success when you are young is so important." "I think they are," answered Doreen. "It is so much harder to break down the barriers that an adult has, but if you work with young children, they haven't built any barriers yet." "That makes elementary school a pretty important time to have opportunities and successes with art." concluded Wendy. "Absolutely," responded Doreen, "elementary school is the key because art is mandatory for all students. There are fewer opportunities to do art later on." They quickly moved aside their purses as the steaming bowls of soup were brought to their table. Room was found for the hot buns, butter, and pots of peppermint tea. "If elementary art is so important, it makes me wonder about the kinds of experiences I had then. I can't really remember very much at all." said Jagit, picking up the conversation again. 150 "Nor can I," agreed Doreen, "I don't remember it being unpleasant or negative in any way, I just don't remember much about it. We did do lots of holiday projects, but that is all I remember." "What about secondary school? "I didn't take art when I got to grade eight. I took drama instead." "Well, that figures," said Jagit with a laugh, "that seems like a better match for you. I can just see you hamming it up at all the school productions." "It was great, I loved it. The only trouble is it didn't help me build any knowledge or confidence in art, which is a real problem now that I have to teach it." "I know just what you are saying. What about your university, though, didn't you have to take an art methodology course?" asked Wendy. "Nothing." answered, Doreen, "so that didn't help me either. I really feel quite frustrated about not being able to teach art. I think it is important, but I can't do it myself, so how can I teach it? Thank goodness I have a primary class right now. If I taught intermediate grades, the students would be able to draw better than I could and that would be really intimidating!" "Oh, I would never do any art in front of them, I would just get them to do projects." was Jagit's solution. "I guess I would too," said Doreen. "The trouble is, I don't think I am giving my students the kind of art lessons that really teach them something about art. I don't have the skills to help them through the creative process. Knowing art would allow a teacher to break down the process for the students into manageable steps. I just set the stage for them, but I cannot take them through the process the way someone who is skilled in art would." "Talk about skilled in art, you should see the stuff this teacher at our school gets her students to do." 151 "That's just what I mean," said Doreen, "I am envious of the art work that is produced in some other classes. The teachers who have a natural talent in art get much better art from their students." "Don't be too hard on yourself. That is just the way it works. Another year, the students will have someone for a teacher who is really strong in art." "That is what I am counting on. I just hope my inadequacies will not discourage those students who are good in art. I want them to keep on with their art. I just wish that I could produce art myself so that I had enough confidence that I could show them the joy of making art." "The enthusiasm of the teacher is very important," agreed Wendy. "I still think you don't have to be an artist in order to teach art to primary kids," said Jagit. "Besides, if it is such a great problem, especially in the intermediate grades, then just platoon with someone else. That is what I try to do." "That works well sometimes, but it is not always possible to platoon with someone in your school. Sometimes, I have another teacher do a few art lessons with my students, then I feel good that they are getting a better art opportunity." "Boy, this certainly has been a discouraging conversation." said Wendy, "I was pretty content with my art program until now!" "I am sorry if this has been discouraging. I don't want anyone else to feel guilty," said Doreen. "It is just that I want to be a good teacher, in all subject areas." "I would say that you are a good teacher." comforted Jagif. "Thank you, Jagit, I appreciate that. I think I am doing a pretty good job for a beginning teacher. I do try hard to make the students feel safe, I am pretty organized, I try to offer a variety of activities, and I work hard to make sure that the students feel good about their work." 152 "Exactly. And don't forget, we are just beginning teachers; we can't be expected to have everything perfect already." added Wendy. "That's right," said Doreen in a lighter tone. "We have many years yet to take some professional development in art." The drive home at the end of the day was always a little more difficult than going to school in the morning; Doreen was tired after a full day of teaching and her little car had to chug uphill. A sign on her left caught Doreen's attention, Castle on the Hill Bed and Breakfast, Art Supplies and Studio. She passed this sign everyday, but hadn't really paid it any attention before. Hmm, art supplies, should she stop by and see what they sell? She didn't really intend to start making art just because she had been talking about it recently. As she had explained, she does include art in her life in some ways. She loves the Monet print hanging in her living room. She makes certain to visit the art galleries whenever she is travelling. Funny how that works, she visits galleries in other towns but not her own. She has spent most of her life in this town and has never visited the art gallery. And then there is her photography. She does value art in her life; she just doesn't make it herself. She guessed it is true, she doesn't have a disposition to create art. But she knows she is not alone, she thinks that most people do not have a disposition to create art. It is a fast paced world and most people would rather be entertained than having to work at something that is difficult and frustrating. Really, one has to be gifted in art before it would be given a high priority. Doreen could feel the air becoming cooler as she continued to climb up the hill. Never say never, she thought. Who knows, maybe some day the right experience will prompt her to get into art. 153 Teaching Profile #1: Doreen's Art Teaching Practice Doreen taught a grade two/three combined class with seven grade three students and the remaining sixteen in grade two, for a total of twenty- three students, making an averaged sized primary class. The class was average or typical in other ways as well in that there was a range of abilities, with several students working with a Certified Educational Assistant. The following description of Doreen's teaching practice represents the manifestation of her ideas about art education. Lesson Design Various aspects of designing and delivering lessons will be examined in an attempt to create a picture of Doreen's teaching. Even though these lesson components comprise a typical single, specific lesson, they will be used here as a framework to describe Doreen's art teaching during all five art lessons that were observed. Sources of Ideas for Art Lessons The ideas for four of the five art lessons were obtained from other teachers. Doreen made the comment that as a beginning teacher, she has not accumulated many ideas yet, and therefore relies on other teachers' ideas. Doreen's mother is also a primary teacher, so she is a ready source of ideas. Doreen also searches other teachers' files for ideas that she then makes photocopies of and places in her own files. During one lesson, a student made the comment that he had already done this art project, indicating that the sharing of project ideas among teachers can lead to some repetition for the students. A team teaching project involving three other primary teachers resulted in Doreen searching their files for ideas for Christmas crafts from other countries for her portion of the project. 154 The idea for an art project, rather than an art concept that needed to be learned, was always Doreen's guiding question when thinking about upcoming art lessons. Student interest in drawing animals was Doreen's justification for using a set of commercially prepared charts that provided step-by-step drawings of various animals for one lesson. Integrating art with other subjects was sometimes the instigation of an art project. Doreen made the comment that she was concerned that the students did not know their geometric shapes, the current topic in their math, so chose an art project idea that involved working with geometric shapes. Doreen did not seem to be aware of the art teaching resources available in the school, but assumed that there were not many. She wished that there were more resources available, especially after seeing one, Art Connections, from the District Resource Center. She was not aware of the funding amount or buying processes used by the school for the acquisition of resources. The use of a commercial art series, in this case, Art Connections, was the source of one lesson idea. Doreen had heard about the series from her mother, and then placed a two week request for the resource from the District Resource Center. Developing a complete lesson from the starting idea of an art project was a challenge for Doreen. She did not write out lesson plans. Usually, the lesson development was simply thinking through the logistics of gathering required materials and sequencing the instructions. She commented that the one lesson taken from the Art Connections Series was the easiest lesson she had ever planned because everything was set out for her. Doreen did not have long term plans in art. The overviews that were required by the principal merely listed the topics of the themes for each term. 155 Identifying Learning Outcomes Designing a lesson around intended learning is at the very heart of teaching. There were no learning outcomes or objectives written in Doreen's day book for any of the five lessons, and there were no learning outcomes stated to the students during the lessons. When asked in the post observation interviews about the learning outcome of each lesson just taught, Doreen's comments typically made reference to a general outcome, such as the lesson providing a means for the students to express themselves. Implementing the Mandated Visual Arts Curriculum Doreen was not familiar with the mandated Visual Arts Curriculum, part of the newly issued 1998 Fine Arts Integrated Resource Package (IRP) from the BC Ministry of Education. The 1999-2000 school year was the official implementation year for this curriculum. Doreen mentioned that she should try and find a copy of the IRP somewhere within the school, which was not easily done, and have a look at it. When Doreen obtained an idea for an art project, there was never mention made of then going to the Art Curriculum to determine the learning outcome that might be met through this project. However, she did think that probably some of the Curriculum learning outcomes would have been met through the variety of projects they had done during the fall term. Creative Nature of the Art Lesson The art projects in the five lessons which Doreen taught during this observation period were mainly creative projects, but with several exceptions. Lesson one consisted of the students following the pre-dfawn charts to duplicate a line drawing of an animal onto their own paper. Adding their own background landscape and some additional details to the animals 156 provided some opportunity to be creative. An abstract image created by placing different marks within shapes produced when dividing the paper allowed for the students to decide on their own marks; however, the project was highly directed. A collage of cut coloured shapes was creative. Doreen explained her choice for a Christmas art project that was non-creative as being "one of those fun little crafty things you do at Christmas" (D-5-3). Doreen took her place in an annual team teaching project done by the primary teachers each Christmas. Being responsible for providing art projects for two countries, Doreen used the pre-planned crafts that had previously been selected. Other projects evident around the room were also a mix of creative and non-creative projects. Tissue paper was glued onto pre-cut apple shapes, photocopied pictures of pumpkins and Christmas trees were coloured. A large puzzle display was made up of self portraits drawn onto each puzzle piece, then assembled. A creative project related to a study of the human body and consisted of white straws forming the bones on skeletons. The Christmas theme stained glass pictures on the classroom windows were bold and striking, but were totally teacher drawn. The students merely painted in a shape. Doreen was aware of the distinction between creative and non-creative projects. Her explanation for the directed nature of the abstract image of patterning was that it would be too difficult for the students if she didn't include the specific directions. Although she was aware of the distinction, she did not make it a goal of her art program to ensure all projects were creative, nor did she try to adjust projects obtained from other teachers' files to convert them to creative projects. 157 Instructional Strategies There was little evidence of specific instruction of art concepts or art skills in Doreen's lessons. Several exceptions were noted when during a lesson on drawing animals Doreen used a student to provide an actual three dimensional example to demonstrate the concept of overlap, and when during a lesson on abstract drawings, she spent some time talking about shapes and identifying shapes to be found in the classroom. Several obvious opportunities to include specific instruction were overlooked, as noted in a lesson on using pattern to create abstract images. Doreen did not prompt a discussion or viewing that might have covered what patterns were, how they are formed, different types of patterns, or looking for patterns in the surrounding environment. In fact, Doreen incorrectly referred to pattern in one lesson, and incorrectly used design in another lesson, both occasions being an indication of a lack of knowledge of art vocabulary and concepts. The vocabulary of art was never emphasized or formally explained even though several lessons afforded the opportunity to teach various terms. An example of such a missed opportunity was a lesson in which Doreen introduced the idea of creating an abstract design without explaining or demonstrating the term abstract, or viewing examples of abstract imagery. When asked to talk about the art concepts or skills that were developed as a result of her art lessons, Doreen was unable to identify any. Doreen provided step-by-step guidance through the art projects, explaining what the students were to do at each stage. A directed drawing approach was used in one lesson to lead the students through a process of using shapes to produce an animal drawing. Most of the instruction provided by Doreen in her art lessons were directed at the process of using the materials, such as reminders to press hard with their wax crayons or to stroke 158 their brushes back and forth when applying the wash, or not leaving any white spaces when colouring. Several times, Doreen referred to a completed project when explaining the art activity to the students. Usually, this finished item was obtained from another teacher from whom the art project idea had originated. The only time Doreen held up or referred to a student's artwork as an example for the other children was when she had positive comments to make about the work and used it in a motivating and encouraging manner, rather than as an example of what should not be done. Doreen conscientiously worked with the students during the independent working stage of her art lessons, circulating among the students to provide assistance with their work on the project or to offer encouraging comments. There were several occasions when Doreen used commercially prepared resources in her teaching. The animal drawing lesson relied on each student referring to a commercially produced chart showing the step-by- step compiling of shapes to eventually form an animal. Considering the importance of a teacher's energy and enthusiasm as an instructional strategy, Doreen was notably expressive when explaining a project or when making comments to the students about their work. Her enthusiasm was a positive factor in her art teaching. Lack of Closure There was no closure in any of the five lessons observed. Generally the art lessons simply slid into clean up and because they were always situated at the end of the day, became mixed with homework details, reminders, and parents appearing at the door to collect their children. There was never a reference made to what was learned in the art lesson. There was also no 159 reminder or connection made between any new art lesson and previous art lessons. Evaluation Evaluation can be challenging for all teachers, especially for beginning teachers, and such was the case for Doreen. Self-evaluation was attempted in the animal drawing lesson. Doreen selected a form and criteria list from the Art IRP, then adapted it to suit her lesson. Doreen provided the list of criteria on the blackboard for discussion then gave each student the same list on a piece of paper. She later explained to me that this art lesson was her first attempt at using criteria referenced evaluation, and that her intent was to also use it as an instructional tool. By providing reminders or checkpoints for the students about their projects, she hoped to increase the standard of the work and the independence of the students. A space was included at the bottom of the form for teacher comments. Doreen planned to add the self-evaluation form with accompanying picture to the students' portfolios. There was no evidence of evaluation in any of the other art lessons observed. When asked in the post-observation interview about her plans for evaluation, Doreen admitted that she had not yet figured that out. Even the lesson which was obtained directly from the resource book was not evaluated. Doreen spoke about the difficulty in evaluating art and stated that she would need lists of possible criteria and also reference samples in order to be able to evaluate. She also stated that it was too difficult to determine an "A" quality work or a "C" quality work, that such judgments were much more easily made for her in Language Arts or Math. Therefore, she preferred to focus her evaluation on the students' comfort level when doing the project. 160 The Logistics of Teaching Art As used here, the term logistics refers to the management of materials, sequencing of instructions, clean-up, etc., that are part of any lesson in any subject area, but are particularly significant to the teaching of art. The challenges of managing the logistics of art lessons can affect a beginning teachers' decisions about teaching art and about art education in general. Supplies Management Certain aspects of art lessons were unwanted challenges for Doreen, such as the management of the materials that are part of making art. Even though she felt she was fairly well organized with material preparation for each lesson, there were often problems. Where to place the wet paintings to dry, how to monitor a wash station while still attending to the remainder of the class, and checking the excessive use of glue were some of the problems Doreen dealt with. Management of student behaviour is also an issue, but Doreen realized that student movement and talking in art class are different than in some other subjects and, therefore, tried to allow a moderate noise level. A constant dilemma for any teacher is how to deal with early and late finishers. Generally, Doreen provided a second sheet of paper to those students who finished their projects quickly. Doreen also incorporated a Friday catch-up period, but still had to contend with students being at various stages of a project within each lesson. The issue of early finishers was sometimes complicated when Doreen omitted instructions about where to put completed works and what to do after the work had been completed. Projects that could not be completed in one art period were problematic. The dilemma of dealing with half completed projects for a week, plus putting away then re-setting out the supplies a second time were 161 problems Doreen tried to avoid by always choosing art projects that could be completed in a single period. Clean-up was almost always disorderly, noisy, and something Doreen was glad to get through. A comment made by Doreen in a lesson clearly reveals her concerns about clean-up. "The most important thing about making snowflakes is not letting any of the pieces of paper fall onto the floor." (D-5-2). Tidiness became more important than the quality of the work. Clean up during Doreen's art lessons was complicated by the fact that it overlapped the end of the school day. Student behaviour generally changed during clean-up resulting in classroom management problems beyond getting the art materials put away. Instructional Strategies Clarity and completeness of instructions can help avoid problems in art lessons, but are not always easily accomplished. Occasionally, students were frustrated because they did not know what to do and had to receive additional explanations from the teacher. A lesson on animal drawing which consisted of doing two drawings, one practice drawing then the final drawing, confused and frustrated many of the students because Doreen did not explain the reason for the two drawings nor what the students were aiming to accomplish at each step. Management of Student Behaviour Adding to the logistical challenges of handling the materials and processes of art, Doreen found it particularly difficult to deal with some of her needy students. She did not know how to deal with students who were unhappy about their own work. She put a great deal of effort into helping one reluctant student who was unhappy with each and every outcome of his 162 work. Doreen explained that his personal problems were a barrier to his work in all subject areas. He needed reassurance at every step of each project, but sometimes needed more than only a comment such as "You are doing fine, just keep going." He sometimes needed specific assistance or a suggestion for an alternate approach. It was not possible for Doreen to provide this constant and immediate attention to this student and also provide the attention to all other students as well. On several occasions, Doreen asked me during the lesson if I had any suggestions for her about how to handle him. Student Reactions During the Art Lessons The actions and reactions of the students can offer information about their enjoyment of a lesson and about the effectiveness of teaching. The students in this class were enthusiastic about having art. As one student said when noticing that I had entered the room, "Oh yeah, art. Oh boy!" (D-4-1). However, Doreen had to deal with specific situations that were a little less happy, such as frustrated students who were unhappy with how their projects were progressing, usually because they did not know how to do the project and needed a second explanation. The need for reassurance that what they were doing was acceptable is a common need for primary students. Frequently, Doreen's students took their pictures to her for checking, and were always met with positive, reassuring comments. With one notable exception, the students were generally pleased with their resulting art works. Students regularly brought their pictures to me to 'show them off. After drawing a second picture in an art period, a student showed it to me as she made the comment, "I have so many ideas of what to do!" (D-2-5). Student to student reactions were fascinating to watch. At times, students were motivated to continue with their project after seeing the work 163 of another student. The students could also be heard giving compliments to classmates, such as "You did a really good job on the bird!" (D-l-5). On another occasion, a student changed his idea for an image after seeing what his classmate had done. Doreen's Response to the Students. Teachers' comments and responses to the students can be revealing indicators of their beliefs about the young children's ability to create art, and of their efforts to encourage art making skills. Doreen regularly and consistently made comments to the students that would make them feel good about their efforts. Among the positive, encouraging comments that she made during every lesson were: "This is absolutely wonderful!, Oh, these are looking good!, Wow, Matthew, this is impressive." Her positive comments seemed authentic because they were so varied; the students did not hear the same comments repeatedly. She made comments that were definitely intended to be confidence boosters, such as "Jordan, are you proud of this? I would be. This is wonderful!" (D-3-7). There were several specific strategies that Doreen used which supported the students' efforts to do their own art making. When a student chose to trace directly on top of the drawing on a guiding chart, Doreen acknowledged that this was not desirable, encouraged him to do his own drawing, and was pleased when the student chose to re-do his drawing and not trace. Upon seeing the second drawing, Doreen gave him enthusiastic positive feedback, and came to me to express her pleasure that he had changed his mind and completed his own drawing rather than tracing. Doreen's actions to encourage creative art making were not as obvious as her positive comments. During the abstract image lesson, Doreen made a point of stressing that each student would have to create unique and 164 individual patterns. However, even though that was the intent at the beginning of the lesson, Doreen then proceeded with step by step instructions. When two students did their pictures differently than she had instructed, they were given a second sheet of paper with which to start again. When several other students did more than the instructions given, they were asked to turn their papers over and start again. Doreen explained that the project had to be fairly structured and directive so that it would not be too difficult for the students. Doreen was obviously aware of and concerned about the possibility of the students feeling intimidated when asked to draw. During the introductory practice portion of a lesson, she had the students do their drawings on small blackboard slates because the ease of erasing would make the drawing less intimidating for them. Doreen referred to her own experiences as a youngster when explaining this empathy for her students. She readily consented to student requests to start over again because her first concern was for them to feel successful. Some of Doreen's comments gave the students the message that they were to create their own images. When students wondered if the expectation within a particular lesson was for them to make the same image as was shown in the book at the beginning of the lesson, Doreen's response was, "Gosh no, that was only an example, you can do anything you want" (D-4-5). When monitoring the students' in-progress projects, she commented that it was desirable to have them all turn out differently. Even though these observed strategies seemed to encourage the students to be creative, when asked, Doreen was not able to give any examples of her strategies which did so. It was as if she was being naturally encouraging, but not fully understanding of the creative process. 165 Doreen's approach to encouraging creative art making was inconsistent in that encouraging comments were intermingled with prescribed requirements to follow pre-planned projects. During the art lessons that consisted of directed, pre-planned projects, Doreen did not seem to be open to students taking an alternate approach to the projects, but required the students to follow the steps as they had been given. One example of this requirement was when Doreen stopped the students who had started to add crayon drawings to their cut paper collages, stating that the project was supposed to use only coloured paper. Evidence of Doreen's Beliefs About the Students' Ability to Create Art Planting the seeds for the students' beliefs that they are artists was something that Doreen did effectively through her comments and through her reference to the students as "artists." She made comments such as "Christine, you are a great artist, are you seeing any shapes?" (D-l-1), or "This will be uniquely yours, you are the artists" (D-3-1). "You are the artist, you decide" (D-l-2) is a comment that not only implies the student identity as artists, but also gives them the permission to make their own decisions about making their art. During one lesson, a student asked me if I were an artist, suggesting that the identity as an artist was something she was thinking about. In response to a comment from a student, "I can't do this", Doreen's response was "Sure you can, why can't you?" (D-l-2). To boost their confidence in their drawing efforts, Doreen made comments such as "Some of you are probably going to end up with a picture that is much better than mine" (D-l-2). 166 The Quality of Art Education An overall assessment about the quality of the art experiences in this classroom can be made based on the general expectations of the discipline of art education. The headings used here reflect the aims of art education as suggested by the mandated visual arts curriculum in BC and by the discipline of art education in general. Inclusion of Various Art Education Components Responding to art was almost totally absent in this classroom. There were no samples of artworks other than the students' work on display in the classroom. The lessons were always void of art works to look at, discuss, or learn about. The one exception was the lesson which was taken from a resource kit that included a coloured overhead transparency of an image. When asked about showing students samples of abstract art as part of the lesson on abstract images, Doreen mentioned that she had thought about finding a sample of abstract art, but had not gotten around to getting one, and thought that there probably weren't any in the library anyway. Even though Doreen created great looking displays of the students' works, she did not ever use the displays for viewing and responding activities. When Doreen was asked to speak about responding to art in the final interview, she was not able to explain what was meant by that term. Her comments indicated a definite lack of knowledge of the content of the IRP or other components of art education, such as aesthetics, art history, or art criticism. Image Development There was little evidence that Doreen planned for or provided instruction for the image development stage of art making. During one lesson, Doreen did require the students to complete a preliminary drawing of 167 an animal before completing their final drawing. This step might have been used to teach some aspect of image development, but the step was not explained in any way. After the animal was drawn, Doreen told the students to add a landscape background, but gave no assistance with what the possibilities might be or how they might do that. Some efforts to strengthen the students' images were made, such as suggestions to redo a portion of a picture so that it would look better or to layer some pieces of coloured paper. The one occasion when image development instruction was observable was during the collage project when Doreen reminded the students to refrain from using the glue until she had checked each picture. "You want to be able to move your pieces around and to change your picture if you want to" (D-4-7). She also made several comments that challenged the students to think about what they might add to make their pictures more interesting. The Quality of the Resulting Art Works The works the grade two/three students produced in these five lessons were rich and varied, and would be considered good quality work for this age group. There did not seem to be a great variations among the works, which could also be explained by the fact that the projects were quite directed. Student Learning of Art Concepts and Skills When asked to point out the things her students had learned in art during the fall, Doreen was not able to provide any suggestions other than that they learned how to do several different art processes. 168 Displaying Art Displaying the students' artworks and creating interesting bulletin boards were Doreen's strengths. Her comment about this was, "I can put things up nicely, I just can't draw!" (D-2-4). The student artwork was put up in a timely manner as well, either during the actual lesson as students completed their projects, or before the next art period. All students had their works included in the displays. The classroom began to look a great deal more interesting and richer with the addition of the art projects from the five lessons. Several parents commented on the appearance of the room. Doreen's Self Assessment of Her Art Teaching Doreen shared her thoughts about her teaching during the post observation interviews and especially during the final interview. When asked to give an assessment of how each lesson went, Doreen concluded that every one of the five lessons went well, that they achieved what she had hoped they would. She felt her organization was one of her strengths for art teaching. When asked what she would keep the same and what she would change if she re-taught the lesson, Doreen's comments often referred to the logistics of the activity, such as clarifying directions about pressing hard with the crayons, or doing something differently to prevent the students from getting restless, rather than on the degree of learning which took place. Doreen was pleased with the outcome of every lesson in terms of the students' resulting art projects. She is an expressive person, and was emphatic when she talked about the pleasure she felt with the students' artworks. She often said she was thrilled with what they made. In fact, Doreen said the very best thing about teaching art was seeing what the students would make. "Seeing what the kids create, I love it. It is just so neat!" (D-F-17). 169 In spite of being satisfied with how the lesson went and being pleased with the students' work, Doreen made many comments which indicated that she felt inadequate as an art teacher. Lack of skills was mentioned several times. I mean, I enjoy it. I just don't have the skills necessary so that I can impart them, so sometimes that is a struggle. I enjoy doing it with them, and I love seeing what they create, but sometimes, when you don't feel that you are skilled in that area, you think, ohhh, what skills can I teach them if I don't have them? (D-F-5) Doreen felt that she needed to learn more about how to be a better artist. When asked to assess her teaching in relation to several components of art education, such as image development or the four contexts of art, Doreen admitted that she did not know what they were. She had a vague idea of what the elements and principles of design referred to, but could not list or explain them. Doreen felt she did a good job of covering the various art processes. Doreen rated her teaching effectiveness and comfort to be lower in art than in any other subject. She felt comfortable with teaching other subjects such as language arts or math because she has always taken them, but that was not the case with art. Referring to the fact that she had no art courses in her teacher education program, Doreen talked about the huge gap that left; that she was left feeling bare. Doreen reported that she was pleasantly surprised to find that she could do more with teaching art than she thought she could prior to the study. Being involved in this study prompted her to plan and prepare to a greater extent than she would have otherwise, which then revealed to her that she could teach art. 170 Summary Statement Doreen is a beginning teacher who is eager to do a good job with her teaching, but feels inadequately prepared to do so in art. Her belief that she was not gifted with art making talent, combined with the fact that she did not do an art methodology course during her teacher education program led to her sense of inadequacy as an art teacher. Her naturally expressive presence and her sincere desire to do the best for her students resulted in her enthusiastic approach which made art a positive and enjoyable experience for her students. Doreen's concerns are that she is not able to assist her students with the creative process and is not able to ensure that they actually learn about art. Involvement in this study prompted Doreen to put extra effort into planning her art lessons. This resulted in the pleasant surprise that teaching art is something she may be able to do after all. Narrative #2: Nora's Story Nora reached across to her night table to turn off the alarm before it rang. She propped her pillows up, leaned back, pulled the covers to her chin and enjoyed the comfort of the warmth and the luxury of a little more time in bed before she had to get up. Fall had progressed enough that the nights were getting noticeably colder, which seemed to settle into her bedroom by morning. As always, Nora surveyed the day ahead in her mind, mentally checking off what was going to happen at school today, and noting what she had yet to take care of. Her thoughts wandered to the conversation she had had yesterday with the researcher. The questions about whether or not she made her own art or could make art really triggered a flood of memories. It had been an unhappy admission that she no longer makes her own art. She 171 had to admit that she was a has-been artist. There was a time when she would have quickly said that she was an artist, but now, well, that time of drawing pictures and making art seemed a long time ago and a long way off. But she does doodle a great deal. Her doodles sometimes ended up as pretty intricate abstract images, with which she was pleasantly surprised and pleased. Not that she did anything with the doodles when she was finished with them, she just liked making them. But she knew her doodles weren't the art making she really wanted to do. The smell of coffee caught Nora's attention and prompted her to bound out of bed and down the stairs to join her sister at the table. "Morning, Nadine," she said, "Is our little one still asleep?" "Surprisingly, yes, and with any luck, she will stay that way for about another half hour so that we can enjoy a leisurely cup of coffee or two." She reached across the table and filled a cup for Nora. "So, tell me, how did that interview go yesterday? Did you tell all your dark, hidden secrets?" Nora smiled at her twin sister, "I might have if I had any to tell. Actually, it was quite interesting, I was thinking about it again this morning. Do you remember how much I used to draw when I was young?" "Sure, you did it all the time at home and at school. We always had lots of paper, crayons, paints and that sort of stuff at home and remember how mom used to make things with us?" "Yes, I do. I think I drew and did art stuff more than the average kid. I remember drawing cartoons, and looking at pictures then trying to draw them. I remember drawing all the time when I had free time at school, and I loved helping the teachers with displays and things like that." "Well, don't forget, I could draw as well, you know" goaded Nadine. Nora looked up at her sister to acknowledge her. "Oh yes, of course you did, you are right. Remember how we used to work at making things 172 together, and we would share our ideas of things we could make or draw? But, you were not as good an artist as I was," she replied teasingly. The sisters laughed at each other. "You know, Nadine, I sometimes felt a little jealous when you would make something neat in art, after all, art was my thing. You had your own niche." "Oh, I couldn't ever really compete with you as an artist." "Thanks, Nadine. But it is true," said Nora more seriously, "I did think of myself as an artist in elementary school. I remember that I used to love drawing pictures all the time, or to make pictures to go with things we had to write about in language arts, Of course it was pretty easy to think of myself as an artist because of the way Mom and Dad were so supportive of what I was doing. Do you remember how Mom used to look at the art things we brought home and talk to us about them?" "Yes, I do," said Nadine, "Dad didn't have much to say about our art. Although, he was happy enough about the good marks you used to get in art on your report card, and always told you so." "When I think about it, we had a good deal of exposure to art at home when we were young. Mom would show us art and talk about it. We had lots of art in our house. Sometimes, Mom would even give me some suggestions about what to do with my art projects; that was neat. Plus I thought it was great when some of my friends chose to give me art supplies for birthday gifts." "But you know, Nora, when you think back to the art we did in elementary school, it wasn't real art. It was only little crafty projects that we did for the holidays and the seasons." "Well, that's true," said Nora, "but just the same, I thought it was fun to make those projects. The painting center was not crafty though; we got to 173 do our own thing there most of the time. I remember doing a few art projects where we had to be creative and come up with our own pictures. As I recall, they were a little more challenging. Do you remember anyone ever actually teaching us how to draw or how to do any specific art process?" "Such as..." "Well, such as perspective, or how to make things look three- dimensional, or how to make different types of patterns, those sorts of skills." "I sure don't remember any of that," answered Nadine. "No, me neither. I don't think we had any specific instruction even in grade seven. Mind you, I don't remember much about art in grade seven at all" "What! You mean you don't remember the Burger King project?" "Oh, yeah, how could I forget? That was such a great project. We were so proud when our group was chosen to paint the windows of the Burger King downtown. I remember being particularly proud when my group asked me to do the drawing part." "That's my sister, the artist!" "That really was my identity when I was young. Until grade eight, that is." Nora sighed and poured a third cup of coffee. "I know it was pretty rough on you. Me, I missed all that by not taking art in secondary school." "You know, Nadine, now that I look back on that year, it was partly my own fault too, I should have understood that Mr. B. was only trying to stretch me beyond the stage that I was at with my art; he was trying to push me along. But, he didn't have anything positive or encouraging to say to go along with his demands. I just wasn't used to hearing anything but good things about my art. Naturally, I began to doubt myself, to think that I couldn't draw or do art. I am sure there were things I could have learned that year, but I guess I 174 set up a mental block about art because of that conflict with Mr. B. It wasn't an easy year." "I know it wasn't. I remember the times you would come home and complain to us about how tough he was as a teacher," said Nadine supportively. "Well, my ego definitely got in the way. It also didn't help my self esteem that there were other students in the class who were better in art than I was. That is the trouble with coming from a small elementary school where it is easy to be the best among a few; it is harder to be the best among many." "You didn't take art in grade nine, did you?" asked Nadine. "Are you kidding! I didn't take art ever again. Grade eight really changed the way I thought about myself as an artist. My identity about being good at art or being creative completely changed. That was the end of art for me!" "Well, until recently, that is." "Yes," said Nora lifting her head and the tone of her voice. "I think I just might get back into it. Did I tell you that I bought a package of drawing pencils and a sketch book the other day?" "Hey, that's great! It was a lucky thing that you had to take that art course in your B.Ed, program." "You're right. It was a mandatory course so I had no choice but to get my hands back into the materials of art. Not that it was easy, not to begin with anyway. I clearly remembered my feelings about grade eight art, so I wasn't very confident. And there were some other people in that course who did great things with their art assignments." "That may be, but at least you did get back to it." "True, true. And I do want to pick it up again on my own, not just because it is part of a course. I have a lot of learning to do, though. I'm not 175 ready to say yet that I am an artist. After all, when I stopped making art, I was still pretty young. I now have to learn all the art making that I missed during all those years. "Sure, but you will. You may not be great at making art yet, but at least you want to do it again." Nadine stopped and listened, then left the table as she heard the sleepy cry of her two year old daughter. Nora smiled as she listened to the greetings they gave each other, and their conversation while Nadine dressed Julie. Her niece was very special to her. Hopefully, she will be able to help Julie enjoy making art as much as she had when she was young. It was something that she thought she might be able to offer Julie, positive experiences with art. Her sister tended to buy the clothes from The Gap, but Nora bought the crayons and paper. She still thought it would be a good idea to paint the entire wall in Julie's room, use the wall as one huge canvas and make a large picture of whatever Julie wanted. She would probably have to work on Nadine a little more about that idea. Nora got up to get dressed herself. The short walk to school was pleasant this morning. It was still warm, even though the nights were getting cold, and the row of maples along Cook Avenue had turned almost completely golden. Her school came into view as she turned onto the short street which accommodated only a few houses along with the school. She had been so lucky to get this full time job at this school this year. True, her students could be a little challenging, but overall, the grade four and five students were a good bunch to work with. And it was a good school. There certainly were some good programs for the arts, such as monthly concerts and the Artist of the Month program. Entering the large double front doors of the school, Nora could see that there were already teachers and students moving about the halls. She was 176 greeted by her principal, whose office was immediately next to the main entrance. A strategic location she thought. "Bev, have you worked in your visual journal recently?" Nora asked her principal as she entered her office. "I have. Would you like to have a quick look?" "Oh, please!" Nora was so impressed with Bev's visual journal, she enviously paged through to the new pages. "This is beautiful!" "Thanks," said Bev, "it was quite satisfying doing those last few pages. Remember how I talked to you before about trying to give up some of the text and focusing more on the visuals? Well, it is getting easier." "This is great. Bev. Some day I would like you to show me how to do this." "Sure," said Bev, "or maybe I'll do a session on visual journals with the entire staff as I have suggested before." "Well, count me in when you do." said Nora enthusiastically as she left the principal's office and made her way down the hall to her classroom. She was determined to start a visual journal herself. She thought she would like to have each student keep a visual journal as well. Not only would they get to work on something so creative and meaningful, but they would end up with a great record at the end of the year. She mentally added this idea to the list of things she wanted to do with her class this year. Nora spent a little time ensuring that everything in the classroom was ready for the start of the day. Most things were ready to go as she preferred to work after school each day until everything was pretty much organized and prepared. Sitting at her desk, Nora took a final look at her day book. "Morning, Nora," waved Kevin, her Certified Educational Assistant as he entered and made his way to the table at the back of the room that served as his desk and working area. Thank goodness for Kevin, thought Nora. He 177 worked with three of her students who really struggled with the regular work. "I have a couple of good ideas for you for art lessons, Nora," offered Kevin. "Oh yeah, you had your course last night, didn't you? Thank you very much. You know how much I appreciate it when you pick up extra copies of these lesson for me." Nora was thankful for each and every source of art lesson ideas. As a beginning teacher, her files were still pretty empty. She looked at the art lesson ideas and wondered if they might work for next week's lesson. Today's art class was going to be used to complete the Wanted Posters they had started last week. Nora has always found it challenging to come up with ideas for art lessons. It is difficult to plan for art because not everything works or interests the students. You have to keep ideas fresh. And, she found out that she has to choose carefully which art projects to do with her class to ensure she doesn't step on other teachers' toes. It is generally accepted that specific projects are always done by certain teachers. Then there is also the challenge of having to meet the expectations of the art curriculum. A twang of guilt hit Nora as she recalled the conversation about implementing the art curriculum, about which she has done nothing. She didn't even realize that this year was the official implementation year. She is generally familiar with the art curriculum, or the Integrated Resource Package (IRP) as this new one is being called, having covered it fairly recently in her art methodology course. However, it is not so easy to follow its expectations given the time and material restrictions. Also, as a new teacher, she doesn't have a pocket full of ideas. She is sure that she is not alone when she feels that the IRP is a little daunting. The learning outcomes deal with some concepts that are a little beyond her, and probably are for most elementary teachers. Although she has likely covered many of the learning outcomes 178 already with what she has done so far this year. It is just so time consuming to plan from the IRP. Perhaps the first step is to get a copy of it, thought Nora as she made her way to the library. A quick search through the teacher resource section produced nothing, as did a hunt through the staffroom. The bell sounded so Nora returned to her classroom empty handed. There must be some copies of the IRPs somewhere in the school. She will have to ask some of the other teachers for a copy. Her students were fairly quick to settle into the morning's routine and the independent work of her math lesson. Watching her students work, Nora's thoughts returned to the art program she has been able to provide for them so far this year. She thinks art is an important part of schooling, and tries to offer a variety of projects or processes to make sure that all interests are met. She aims to have the students learn some of the art concepts, such as patterns, and the vocabulary of art, and to look at art and think artistically. Integrating art with other subjects is something she manages to do with almost every art project. She has become aware already even at this early stage of the school year of the varying abilities in art, that not everyone in this group finds art easy, or would choose art as their preferred subject. That is why she tries hard to offer art projects that excite the students so that they will not be intimidated, bored, or frustrated, which wouldn't help her any because it would only lead to classroom management problems. She just wants all the students to do their best. Nora's thoughts were interrupted by the P.A. system asking a particular student to go to the office. Of course all heads turned and followed Craig as he walked out of the room, everyone wondering why he was called out. He returned soon, wearing a big smile on his face. "I was chosen for the Artists of the Month display!" he said, obviously very pleased about the news. 179 "That is great, Craig," said Nora, "Well done! Aren't you glad that you worked extra hard on that painting? Good for you, Craig. We'll look forward to seeing it on display in the hallway in a real frame." Turning to the whole class, Nora said encouragingly, "Hopefully you will all give serious efforts to other projects so that you might have your art selected as well." Just before dismissing the students for lunch, Nora called out a few names, asking for the homework that had been assigned the previous day but had not yet been handed in. Pulling a chair to the back table, Nora cross referenced the assignments with her list of names. She spread out the Wanted Posters which had been handed in. There is quite a difference between these, she thought, even with the range of two grades being taken into consideration. But, she knows that not everyone is at the same level in any subject area, including art. She considers again that question of whether or not all these students are able to draw or are able to learn to draw. She thinks they are, within certain limits. After her own experiences, she knows how important it is for them to believe that they can draw. Already, she had heard some students say, "I can't draw." That is already part of their identity; they think they can't draw. She has noticed that some students who can draw seem to have trouble working with abstract imagery, and vice versa. When some of her students say, "I can't draw" she tries to work with them to reduce the difficulty for them in some way. She can empathize with students who think they can't draw, so she acknowledges their feelings and does what she can to help them draw. It is so important to prevent those feelings of inadequacy or negativity. Quite often, her students would rather work with pre-planned projects that they did not have to think about very much and could just follow the given directions. She thinks that her grade four and five students prefer the pre-planned projects because that is what they had throughout their primary 180 grades, so when they are given the freedom to create their own images, they find it difficult and intimidating. But, Nora tries not to use very many of those structured projects. She knows how important it is for them to be creative and to believe that they can draw their own pictures, so she is intent on giving them opportunities to develop that skill. That is about all I can do, thought Nora, provide opportunities to practice and to build trust. Nora suddenly realized that she had only twenty minutes of her lunch hour left, so dashed off to the staff room to eat her lunch. Thank goodness for silent reading right after lunch to help settle the students for the last two hours of the day. Afternoons are always much more challenging. Finishing her portion of reading, she instructed the students to continue for a few more minutes while she put the finishing touches on the drawing of a balsam root plant on the blackboard for her science lesson. The grade four students were going to have to label the plant parts. It occurred to Nora at that moment, that yes, she does draw occasionally as part of her teaching. She finds that simple drawings often are helpful for explaining some concepts or vocabulary, especially for her challenged students. She tries to use visuals whenever she can for any subject. Fortunately, she does not feel intimidated about drawing on the board for the students. Sometimes her drawings aren't great, but the students don't seem to mind. The afternoon seemed to fly by, which always happens when there is so much to fit in. Most of the class needed more time to complete their science, both the grade fours with their diagram, and the grade fives with the end of unit quiz. As much as she knows she shouldn't push aside art, Nora made the decision to extend the science period, and have only those students who had completed their science move on to finishing the Wanted Poster art project. The others will have to take them home for homework. She felt she didn't have much choice because the science kit on electricity she had ordered 181 from the resource center had arrived already and she would have only two weeks before it had to be returned. Somehow, she would have to find time some day to make up for the shortened art lesson. Nora enjoyed the quiet after the last of the students had departed. She had to clean up the room a little, mark those quizzes, and complete her planning for tomorrow, but she decided to give herself just a few minutes of rest before beginning the tasks at hand. "Hi there!" said a cheery voice at the door as her colleague Jody, a grade four teacher from down the hall appeared at the door. "How did your day go?" "Oh, fine," replied Nora, "but as usual, there wasn't enough time to get everything done. And unfortunately, I had to cut art again this afternoon." "I know what you mean, there just isn't enough time to cover even the basics let alone the extras." "Art is an extra?" asked Nora. "Well, you know what I mean." "Jody, what do you think about making art? "Who me, or my students? "Well, both, but first you." "I can't draw to save my life. There is no way that I am an artist. But, I give art to my students anyway, I just make sure that I don't have to do it myself." "So how do you do that?" asked Nora. "Well, I choose projects that are tried and true, you know, that the steps are all clearly worked out. I have collected lots of projects like that for most of the themes that I cover in my class. I have a ton of ideas in my files. Let me know if you want to look through and copy any. I remember what it was like being a new teacher." 182 "Thank you," said Nora, "that is kind of you. I just might take you up on that some day." "I'm sure other teachers would be happy to share their files with you as well" noted Jody. "That's great. I would like more professional development in art, you know, workshops on the different areas of art. In fact, if I were to pick up another major, I think that I would do it in art." "Better you than me." said Jody with a smile. "You know the part about teaching art that I find the most difficult is having to evaluate the students' art. I'm not happy about this new requirement that we have to give an achievement grade in art rather than just an effort mark." "I know what you mean," Nora said reassuringly, "I try to deal with it by using a criteria list." "Now that is where you can help me; criterion referenced evaluation is all new to me." "Sure, anytime you want to, we can go over it and I'll show you some of the sheets I use." "Great, but not now, I have to go and get busy," said Jody as she made her way through the rows of desks to return to her own classroom. Nora returned to her own work so that she could get home before it got to be too late. It was going to be a rush tonight anyway; the District Volleyball league had games starting at 5:30. Nora felt good, but tired, after the volleyball game and enjoyed a relaxing drive home. She passed the new complex under construction several blocks from her home and looked at it carefully to see the progress they had made since she last looked at it. She liked the arched windows they had placed on either side of the front entrance, then noticed the same arches echoed in the gates that were spaced around the surrounding low wall. She 183 thought of how she would landscape the inner yard if she were responsible for that. She has always been interested in architecture and thought it was an important part of visual art, and of course, landscaping had become a real art in recent years. If she hadn't become a teacher, she probably would have gone into landscape architecture. When she thought about it that way, she realized that art was still an important part of her life in many ways. She loves to see the new paintings her friend has made, and often thinks about buying art when she needs a gift for someone, if she can afford it that is. She thinks mosaics are so neat and would love to learn how to make one. And, she hopes that some day she might have a chance to make the black and white photography display in her home. Nora passed the construction zone and turned onto the road leading to the duplex she rents with her sister. Enjoying the quiet of the empty house, Nora settled on the couch with a cup of hot tea after eating a late dinner. The ringing telephone kept her from getting very far into the magazine she had flipped open. That will probably be Mom, Nora thought, as her mother usually called for a quick chat each evening. "Hi Nora," said her mother, "how was your day at school?' That is a question mom has been asking me for many, many years, thought Nora. "Pretty good," answered Nora, "nothing unusual happened and I was able to keep the class to myself for the entire day without any interruptions, for a change. Say Mom, do you remember how you said you might like to take an art class with me at the Art Gallery, well, let's do it." "Sure, I am still interested. What made you think about it just now?" "Oh, I've been thinking about making art all day today after having had that interview about it yesterday. It has caused me to continue to wonder about some aspects of making art. What do you think, Mom, can anyone and everyone create their own artwork?" 184 "Well, I think some people have an innate ability to create art. They are the artists. Not everyone can be an artist. But most people could learn to do more than they can if they take lessons and practice a great deal." "So you think that it is possible to learn to draw even if you don't already know how to?" "Sure, anyone could learn some skills that would allow them to do a better job of their paintings or whatever they were doing? Would you agree, Nora?" "Yes, I agree, but I haven't quite sorted out yet if it is the skills that enable you make good art or if you have to have a creative personality to begin with. I don't think they are mutually dependent. You can be skilled at copying someone else' work, but not be very creative with your own ideas." "That may be true, Nora, but I still think that taking lessons and learning some art making skills would improve anyone's art work." "I agree with you, Mom. Unfortunately, it is not easy for some people to decide to take lessons or some kind of art instruction. Many people decide in advance that they can't make art and then they don't try very hard or give it a fair chance. It must be quite difficult and maybe even embarrassing for adults to have to go back to square one to learn how to draw." "I guess it would be, but we don't have to worry about that, do we Nora? We both used to make art a long time ago. We are just picking it up again after a long break." "You are right. It is not as if we would be spending our money on art supplies and our time on the lessons only to find out that we don't like it or can't do it. But I guess that is the risk some people have to take." "Sure, that is why so many people don't bother to give it a try." 185 "Well I'm glad we'll be going into this together, Mom. We can make sure we don't get discouraged by telling each other how good we are!" Nora joined in with her mother's laughter. Teaching Profile #2: Nora's Art Teaching Practice Nora taught a grade four/five combined class The class was average or typical in that it contained a wide range of abilities among the students, and had several students with behaviour problems. A Certified Educational Assistant was in the room at all times working with several boys. The following description of Nora's teaching practice represents the manifestation of her ideas about art education. Lesson Design Sources of Ideas for Art Lessons Other than one lesson idea which came from a book, Nora relied on other teachers in her school for art project ideas. Nora confirmed that for a beginning teacher, it can be difficult to find ideas for art projects, and so was constantly on the lookout for possibilities. She expressed a concern that some projects interested her, but the tradition that had evolved in her school was that certain art projects are reserved for the teachers in specific grades; for example, the grade five classes always made models. Some art project ideas are generated as Nora tries to integrate her art lessons with other subject areas, and therefore, starts with a language arts or science lesson, then tries to find a way to incorporate art. When choosing art projects, Nora tries to be sensitive to the students' enthusiasm toward the project. She will change the project or the approach if necessary. Nora also seeks advice from other teachers when she has general questions about art. 186 Identifying Learning Outcome A clear statement of a learning outcome, of the art concept or skill that was going to be learned, was not part of any of the lessons observed. Reference was made to several elements, including colour and line, but the reference was general and the students were not notified that that was the concept being emphasized in the lesson. Nora did make a comment at the start of a lesson that posters and advertising are forms of art; however, she did not provide examples or elaborate on this concept in any way that might have reinforced the idea for the students. Several lessons, including making wanted posters and brochures, were integrated with novel studies in language arts, but there was no distinction made between the language arts concepts and the art concepts that were within the activity. When asked about learning outcomes, Nora stated that it was necessary to have learning outcomes so that the students would know they had learned something specific; however, even with this verbal acknowledgment of the importance of learning outcomes, they did not seem to be part of her art teaching. When asked in the final interview about the learning offered by her art lessons, Nora referred to general rather than specific outcomes, such as creativity. The baker's clay Christmas symbol project was an example of an activity that had the potential for some specific learning outcomes identified, but Nora's introduction to the students was merely that they should have fun. In fact, it seemed that having fun and learning in art do not go together. "It is a constant battle to ensure that you hit all those objectives and still have some fun." (N-F-9) 187 Implementing the Mandated Visual Arts Curriculum Nora talked about the Visual Arts Curriculum (IRP) as if she was somewhat familiar with it, but at no time did she refer to it when discussing her planning, nor was there evidence of it being used in any way. Creative Nature of the Art Lesson Nora's lessons were creative in that the students created their own images rather than using any copying, tracing or other duplicating steps. The one project on display in the classroom was also creative. She did mention that usually 'creativity' is a criterion for evaluation purposes. Nora stated that one of her strengths in teaching art is her emphasis on having the students be creative. The two art projects on display in the hallway related to Remembrance Day and to Christmas, and both were less creative, simply teacher made shapes that were filled in by the students with mosaic pieces. Nora offered the explanation that there is an expectation, both by parents and students, that the holiday crafts must be done. As a result, a great deal of the available time for art is then used up by these craft projects. "I would love to do some bigger units on a bigger theme, but there are so many holidays and events that you have to stick to that it is very hard to have bigger units" (N-F- 4). It seems that Nora does not see the means of incorporating learning outcomes into the holiday art. Introduction of the Lessons Most art lessons were started with an explanation of the project and directions about how to proceed. The activity of making promotional brochures had a more involved introduction as the features of brochures which made them effective were discussed. Nora explained that even though she would like to include a more developed introduction and include more 1 8 8 instruction about art concepts, she is prevented from doing this because of the energy level and impatience of this class of students. When the students are directly engaged in their own work, the classroom management concerns are lessened. Instructional Strategies For some lessons, Nora provided a step-by-step demonstration of how the project was to be done. A completed example of the project was shown to the students at the beginning of the lesson. Each time, several students copied the model example. Nora mentioned that she was aware that students will copy the example and for that reason, tries not to use a completed example; however, she did use them for the majority of lessons observed. When Nora obtains a lesson idea from another teacher, it usually comes with a sample which is easy to use for demonstration. Some of the examples shown for one lesson had been done by students in the previous year. During independent working time, Nora spent her time helping individual students. She regularly circulated around the room providing feedback to some students to their work at that particular stage, giving positive comments, or making suggestions for image development. In an effort to make the art class an enjoyable experience for the students, Nora allowed the students to move their desks into groups, and she played background music while the students worked. Nora made the comment to the students that they were going to make symbols out of bakers' clay as a preparation for working with clay after Christmas. She inappropriately applied several techniques normally used with clay to the bakers' clay, then had to deal with resulting problems. This indicates a lack of knowledge about this material prior to using it in a lesson. 189 Closure There was no closure given for any of the lessons observed. Each lesson ended with clean up, but without any reference to the concepts that might have been learned, which of course is difficult to do if there had not been any identified at the start of the lesson. There was also no reference to what would happen to the finished and unfinished works, display of the projects, or other closing details to an art project. Art work assigned as homework was mentioned or added to the list. Evaluation Nora used criterion-referenced evaluation strategies for most of her lessons. She worked with the students at the beginning of the lessons to come up with the criteria, which were then listed on the blackboard. However, even though the evaluation criteria were established at the outset of most lessons, there was no evidence that anything more happened to them. There was no reference back to the criteria upon completion of the lesson; there was no evidence that Nora recorded a rating for each criteria for each student. She mentioned that she would like to use more self-evaluation strategies and thought that if she did so, the students would critique their art works in progress, which would result in an improvement in the quality of their work. The Logistics of Teaching Art As might be expected in any art class, the logistics of the activities were somewhat challenging for Nora. She had established good classroom management routines; therefore, the general unfolding of an art lesson took place quite smoothly. 190 Nora said that she had to be careful to keep the instructions to a minimum in order not to lose the students' attention. This concern prevented Nora from giving sufficient time at the beginning of a lesson to provide instruction or coverage of the related art concepts. Giving instructions about a project while the students already had the bakers' clay in their hands did cause some problems. During this same lesson, the paper towel container was empty just when most students needed to wash their hands, greatly complicating clean-up. Nora mentioned later that perhaps she should develop a monitor system that would improve the clean-up time. When a logistical dilemma such as this occurs, it tends to dominate her efforts, rather than the learning of the lesson. Availability of art materials seems to be another logistical concern. Nora thought the school was quite well stocked with art materials, but unfortunately, some teachers hoarded supplies rather than returning them to the school supply room. Additional supplies could be ordered, but Nora felt that as a beginning teacher, she did not want to be too aggressive about requesting supplies and depleting the budget. That left the option of purchasing some supplies herself, to which there was a limit. Time was a logistical issue that concerned Nora in several ways. A great deal of the available time in a day is 'robbed' by other school events, and by the other subjects, leaving it very difficult to give sufficient time to art. She thought of re-designing her timetable in order to better accommodate art. Planning Nora teaches from the notes in her day book rather than from written lessons plans. She admitted to not doing any long term planning for art. She stated that planning was the most difficult part of teaching art. The challenge was in trying to make sure her projects fit the curriculum. 191 Student Reactions During the Art Lessons The grade four and five students seemed quite willing to participate in all the art activities presented by Nora, and were in fact, quite eager to do each project. A common request made by Nora in most lessons for the students to share their ideas in front of the class or to draw or write ideas on the blackboard was always met with enthusiasm. Comments such as "I can't do this." or "I can't draw" were not common among these students. Some students had photocopied lettering samples to use as a reference when making their posters. During the project which related to their novel study, some students looked in the book while they did their drawings on their brochure, but most of the time, the students did their own images. As might be expected, students are influenced by other students. There seemed to be a good drawer in each group of students, whose drawing was then copied to some extent by the other students. Nora's Response to the Students Comments that were positive and therefore encouraging to the students' efforts were generously given by Nora. She looked at the students' works in progress and provided feedback at this stage, encouraging them to use their best effort. Nora's comments prompted the students to be creative. "It is up to you, you can do whatever you want, and I want you to be creative" (N-l-4). Being sensitive to the students' feelings about their work, she also ensured that there were no ridiculing comments from other students. Nora explained that she had some students who had low self-esteem in art, so she felt that she must watch them closely. As another attempt to ensure that the students felt good about their art works, Nora chose projects that were small 192 to ensure that the students had some success before moving on to larger projects. She hoped to spent more time teaching her students how to draw. The Quality of Art Education The following descriptions of Nora's art teaching practice are based on my observations of five of her art lessons. In gaining an awareness of the art teaching practice in this classroom and in determining the nature of the art program, the main principles or components of art education as stated in the mandated curriculum or established by the broader discipline of art education have been used. Inclusion of Art Education Components Responding to art was non-existent in Nora's art teaching. She did not use examples of artworks as part of any of her lessons. Nora said that she would like to show slides sometimes, but is reluctant to for fear that she would lose the students' attention. Nora implied that covering the Contexts of art meant integrating with other subjects. She felt she did a good job of covering the various art processes, which is important so that the interest of all students can be captured. She felt that her students' ability in art has increased because of having done a variety of art processes. Image Development Nora did provide some guidance for the image development stage of the art projects done in her class. In the lesson involving drawing faces, Nora spent some time talking about or demonstrating facial features and how to give expressions. There was never a suggestion that the students should work in a sketch book or on scrap paper initially to work out some image options; rather, Nora had them work directly on their final paper. One 193 student chose on her own to do three drawings of faces before starting her final picture. Some of the encouraging comments that Nora made while watching the students work made reference to a specific detail of the images, which would help them in the image development process. She also encouraged the students to use light pencil lines on their drawing so that if they chose to erase, it would be easily done. Nora explained to the students that making a picture is a process that might not be perfect the first time, that it is good to make changes if that leads to a better image. Addressing the image development stage of the art projects offered by Nora would have been helpful to the students. For example, when making the brochures, Nora's direction was to add pictures, but there was no discussion or other guidance about what the pictures might be of or how they could make them. The poster project had several criteria including using bold outlining and bright colours, but no preparation for drawing the actual images was provided. Other projects, such as the Christmas symbols, had no image development at all. When Nora was asked in the final interview to give examples of her image development strategies, Nora asked to have the term explained. Displaying Art Nora's classroom had a scant amount of artworks on display. One display consisted of an art project that had been done prior to Halloween, but little else was displayed around the room. None of the five projects that were observed went on display during the duration of this study. The final display of art works from each project never did appear in the classroom. Nora's explanation for this delay was that she had not yet found the time to mark the artworks. The hall bulletin board and the classroom door were filled with displays that related to Remembrance Day and to Christmas. Several displays 194 that were in place, the one art project and several from other subject areas, did not include works from all students. Nora stated that she would like to put up more art on display in her room. Nora's Self Assessment of Her Art Teaching Practice. Nora was always pleased with the results of each lesson. This same conclusion was made about the final art lesson which had students making tree ornaments which were Christmas symbols made from bakers' clay. The end products seemed very basic and uninteresting for this age level; however, Nora thought they were fine. Seeing the students' enthusiasm for the art activities and seeing the final artworks is the most important part of teaching art for Nora. Nora stated that art was her weakest subject because of the dynamics of the class. She felt she was doing a reasonable job of providing art for her students, especially in providing variety and supporting creativity, but said that art was the most intimidating subject for her to teach. This reference to intimidation was a reflection of the students' view of art making rather than her own. "Art is one of the most intimidating subjects for me to teach, because it is so subjective. Some kids will really just love something, then it is really difficult when they think it is the most tedious project in the world. It can be a really tough lesson" (N-F-6). Despite her comments about providing a creative art program for her students, Nora was not able to list the things that her students learned in art this fall. Summary Statement Given Nora's comments during the first two interviews about valuing art and about having been confident in her art making as a youngster, and 195 having recently made the decision to start making her own art once again, I thought she might feel quite confident about teaching art. However, she frequently made comments about the challenges of teaching art, in particular, about how the restlessness of her students prevented her from providing adequate instruction of art concepts or including some responding to art activities. She provided a good variety of art processes and activities that were creative in nature for her students; however, her art lessons dealt only minimally with any aspect of art beyond making the project. Any plans to seek art related resources, to enrich the visual environment of her classroom, or to include additional components thereby broadening her art program were all plans for the future. Being concerned that the students develop positive feelings about their art making, Nora generously provided encouraging comments and support. Narrative #3: Patti's Story Patti listened to the morning news report on the radio as she worked on the two tuna sandwiches she had spread out on the counter. Adding an orange and several cookies to each bag completed the lunches, which she secured by neatly making three even folds in the brown paper bags. Quickly setting the lunches on top of the brief cases which were already near the door, Patti mentally checked her list of things she had to gather or prepare for the day of teaching that lay ahead of her. Reassuring herself that she had taken care of everything last night, Patti moved on to fill the diaper bag. Neatly folding the extra clothes and placing them at the bottom of the bag, Patti rechecked what her sitter called her 'just-in-case' bag, those ointments, phone numbers, small toys, and other things she thought might be needed as part of her daughter's care. Patti smiled as she recalled the teasing she received from 196 her sitter about being too organized, but Patti didn't mind, she preferred to have everything carefully taken care of. As she took clean, still warm diapers from the dryer and folded them, Patti's thoughts wondered to a question that she had felt a little unsettled about when trying to answer it yesterday during the interview she had had with the researcher. Why didn't she do her own art work? She still thought it was important to accept that a person can't do everything. Besides, she just has never been all that interested in art, except that time in grade eleven and twelve when she used to make those sketches with her friend. She had liked doing those drawings, and was quite pleased with what she had done, but wasn't ever serious about carrying on with it or about doing more art. After all, she had been busy with her soccer teams, both the community team and the rep team. With her father coaching and her brother playing as well, soccer was pretty important in her family, but it was something she loved, so she happily went along with the demands of soccer. Then there was also her dance, which she had been doing with her brother from such a young age, she couldn't actually remember when she started. Memories of the highland dance sessions that her mother had been so keen on were often triggered by the pictures on her counter that showed the two of them in costume finery, struggling to keep the dance poise while her mother aimed the camera to take the picture. Then she had added jazz dance herself when she was in grade eight. Add to all of that the demands of high school, not to mention her social life with her friends. No, she just couldn't do everything. And now, with a young daughter and full time teaching, plus a home to care for and occasionally assisting her husband with the books for his company, she had less time than ever before for anything extra. She was pleased if she could successfully juggle all she already had on her plate. 197 It's not that Patti doesn't enjoy art. She quite liked making those sketches and she really liked making those collage covered flower pots for her family and friends' Christmas gifts a couple of years ago, if you call that art. She just found it so time consuming that the next year she went back to a single productive day of shopping at the mall. She does make all their own greeting cards and she made Arden's birth announcements, but making them by pushing buttons on the computer probably doesn't count as art either. Sounds from the hallway caught her attention. It always warmed her heart to hear the feeble attempts at a cry her daughter made when first wakening. Patti made her way down the hall to Arden's bedroom, wishing she had slept another fifteen minutes to allow her to complete the morning tasks, but at the same time, looking forward to a bit of time with her daughter before taking her to day care. Giving her daughter a last good-bye hug, Patti passed her into the arms of the sitter and turned to go. She paused, then asked the sitter, "Do you have paper and crayons for the kids to draw with, Pauline?" "Oh, sure, lots of them and colouring books, too. But your Arden is a little too young to be drawing pictures, don't you think?" "Well, maybe. Anyway, I was just wondering. Thanks. See you at five." Patti got into her car and made her way through the new subdivision in which they lived and on toward town. She had been thinking about whether or not Arden was being given a chance to make art, after all, everyone should be able to decide themselves which things they are going to spend their time doing, and not everyone likes the same things. Patti thought back to her own childhood and remembered doing some art as a youngster, or at least colouring pictures. She loved her colouring books and was very neat and precise when colouring. She remembered how satisfying it was to stay within the lines and to get all the crayon strokes going the same 198 way so that it looked neat. She also liked making those paper doll dresses. Oh yeah, she had that weaving set too, although she didn't do much with it. Some of the projects she did were a little messy for her mom's liking, who was a bit of a neat freak. But generally, she thinks her parents were pretty positive about her art; they just didn't push art the way they pushed dance and soccer. No one in her family was an artist. Although it would be fair to say that her mother was artistic in the work she did as an interior decorator and that she was always attentive to the appearance of things in their house. However, she couldn't have inherited that talent from her mother because they didn't have the same genes, she was adopted. Patti frowned as she tried to remember which decorating theme her mother had used when she was really young, but couldn't recall anything other than the geese theme that is throughout her mother's house now. Those questions about doing art in elementary days really challenged her memory! Patti had explained that she doesn't have a great memory, and elementary days seem a long time ago. But she still couldn't remember any more than she had yesterday, just making those projects for mother's day and for special holidays. That glass ball ornament was easy to remember because her mother hung it on the Christmas tree every year, still does. Other than those kinds of projects, she couldn't remember doing any art activities that were creative or that weren't projects that the teacher had already figured out and all they had to do was to make the item according to the directions. Then again, she doesn't remember very much about art in elementary school at all. It just was not very important to her, nothing significant happened. She does have other memories of events and things that happened in elementary school, but they were probably more important. And there isn't anything to remember about art in secondary school at all because she didn't take art then. 199 Starting in grade eight, you had to make choices about which electives to take, and she did not choose art. Patti turned into a rather bumpy, long driveway to make her way to the small house ahead where her friend lived. Zoee had asked for a ride into town this morning, and because it was on her way, Patti was happy to help her out and to have company on the drive into town. She watched Zoee climb into the car beside her. "Hi Patti!" Zoee said cheerfully, "I sure appreciate this ride. They are still waiting for the parts for my car, can you believe it?" "Oh, no problem, I'm happy for the chance to chat. Did your parents ever take you to art galleries when you were young?" "Pardon me?" "Well, you are an artist" "Ha, that's a matter of opinion." "You know what I mean, Zoee, you spend your time making art, it is what you want to do. And you are great at it! But I was wondering why you make art and I don't. Did your parents take you to art galleries when you were young?" "Sometimes, but not very often. What brought this topic on?" "I have been thinking about art, and why I don't make art and other people, like you, do. I don't remember my parents, or anyone else for that matter, ever taking me to an art gallery. I don't even go to galleries myself, even though I could. I don't even go to galleries when I travel." "You came to that art show I had at the restaurant last year." "That's true, but that was different. It was you and it was a restaurant. But why do you think it is that some people are able to draw and choose to make art and other people can't and don't?" 200 "You can draw, Patti. Remember those sketches you used to do when we were in high school. They are well done!" "I can draw only if I have something to look at, and then I am only duplicating what I see. And even then I can draw only some things. You should have seen my attempt at faces or people. On second thought, no, you shouldn't see them!" laughed Patti. "I could never draw something by just making it up. I remember always wishing I could draw like you and Roz could." "That's how you got started doing those sketches, wasn't it? You would sit with us when we were working on our art assignments and work away in your own sketch book." "That's right, I just did it. Maybe that's the problem, I should have taken some lessons or gotten some instruction rather than just doing it on my own." "Do you think that would have made a difference?" asked Zoee. "Oh sure, to some extent. But even lessons would not have made me into an artist. That is just not me. I can only copy things I look at. Real artists create images from their minds, things they imagine and then draw." "Are you serious? Is that what you think we artists do?" asked Zoee with surprise. "Well, don't you?" "Patti, you have got to be kidding! Of course I look at things to make my paintings. Most artists do. And think about all the great masters and their famous paintings. They are mainly of landscapes that the artists looked at to paint, or of people who posed for the artists. They all created their images by looking at something. Those pictures did not come only from their imagination!" "Oh, ya, I guess you are right." 201 "Now there are certain types of art that might be created more so from imagination, such as the abstract expressionism work and other types of abstract imagery." "Like yours?" "Yes, like mine, but even with my paintings, I don't start from nothing. I usually start with something, such as a portion of a picture from a magazine that interests me, then I change it and add parts, and layer paint until there is nothing recognizable from that beginning picture, but it still served as my starting point." "Really? Hmmm. I guess I have been wrong all along about how art is created. I always thought original art was that which had never been done or seen before." "Well, in a sense it is, that particular image is unique and has not been seen before, but certainly artists refer to things when they make their art. No wonder you always thought you could never be an artist. If I had to rely only on images I made up in my mind first, I would have a tough time as well. My paintings kind of evolve as I work on them." "I am going to have to look at them more closely next time and think about how you have created them. Anyway, they are great paintings." "Thanks, Patti, but remember, good art is in the eye of the beholder." "You are right, and many different eyes makes for many different opinions of what good art is." "Don't forget to turn in just up there," reminded Zoee. "Thanks so much for the ride, Patti. I am fine for getting home, Ross will work a little longer tonight and pick me up. Thanks, again," said Zoee as she closed the car door behind her and walked away with a final wave. Patti drove into her usual parking spot at the school and made her way inside with her briefcase and a second bag of supplies. Her eye caught the 202 school sign which colourfully displayed the school name. She passed it everyday, but often did not really look at it. Her attention was then drawn to the painted mural that completely covered the short wall leading to the front door. Just inside, no one could miss the bold mosaic of a dragon that immediately faced the door, wrapped around the corner and continued down the hall. Patti thought again about how great it was for the school that someone was here awhile ago who could create these things. They added so much to the school's appearance. There is no way she could ever have done these kinds of artworks. No, she certainly wasn't a creative artist; she only duplicated things she looked at, kind of like tracing but without using tracing paper. Before climbing the stairs to her classroom on the second floor, Patti decided to make a brief stop in the staff room. Picking up her mail from the office first, Patti helped herself to a cup of coffee and sat at the table with several other colleagues. Many teachers were already in their classrooms, busily preparing for the day ahead. "Boy that is a great mosaic!" said Patti. "What, haven't you seen it before?" asked Carol, another primary teacher. "Sure I have, its just that I paid more attention to it today than I usually do. I have been thinking about making art and why some people can do it and other can't" "Oh, that's easy to explain," suggested Carol. "Everyone has different abilities; some can make art and some can play basketball. We all have different talents." "I agree with you, Carol, but I think there are some people who are able to make art and who don't. I think it is important for people, especially young children who are just starting with art, to feel successful with what 203 they do in art so that they will want to do more. They have to feel comfortable with it. They need to feel that they are good at it" "And how do they do that?" asked Carol. "Well, they need encouragement, they need many opportunities to experience doing art, they need to do art frequently to keep going, not only occasionally because their skill development will just plateau. They need to practice, to have their art work displayed, they need the chance to show off their art work, to be proud of it and excited about it." "I guess you are right, but it seems to me that the hardest part of all that is the being successful with art; some people just can't draw." "I agree with you. Some people will not be great at art no matter how hard they try. Some people have it and some don't. But in some cases, a little assistance would make things easier." "Such as?" asked Carol. "Well, I think that seeing the entire subject of what someone is trying to draw can be very overwhelming. Some people can't draw because they can't see the subject piece by piece. They can't break it down to manageable bits. And some people don't see things