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UBC Theses and Dissertations

But I’m not an artist : beginning elementary generalist teachers constructing art teaching practices from beliefs about ability to create art McCoubrey, L. Sharon


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.

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