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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Aesthetic learning experiences within the urban environment Andrews, Jeanette Louise


This thesis is an extension of a research project begun by the investigator in 1974, and attempts to advance the establishment of an environmentally-based aesthetic education program as an alternative learning approach in urban secondary schools. The goals in the investigator's curriculum design were devoted to: 1. heightening visual perception and awareness to aesthetic and social phenomena within the urban environment, 2. increasing the degree of discrimination of aesthetic qualities perceived, and 3. stimulating the development and understanding of creative abilities through the experience of acquiring information and visual imagery gathered from the local, urban environment and using that material in the creation of art work within a studio setting. As a classroom art teacher this investigator's concerns have been to bridge the gap between educational theory and practice. In an endeavour to adapt better the curriculum design to classroom implementation, the investigator has taken a related learning task and self-tested it as a preliminary step essential to conducting a similar learning task with her student group. It was the investigator's belief that a teacher who has prior knowledge and experience of a given learning task should be more understanding, empathic, and better able to guide the learner13 progress through the various learning stages of the task. To undertake this research project the writer assumed an investigator-artist role. The focus of urban playgrounds was the subject for the artist's attention. As investigator, the writer recorded her observations, working strategies, and reactions throughout all stages of the learning process. A series of seven watercolour paintings resulted from the project. The reported analysis was "projective" in nature and endeavoured to examine both the objective and subjective components highlighted in the learning experience. Findings and recommendations for instruction were organized along an assumed natural learning continuum in order that teachers interested in implementing a similar learning program would have a consistent overview of the process stages through which they would guide the students. A product analysis of the art work is also supplied to confirm earlier investigator assumptions concerning the characteristics of the work fostered by such a program. The report is presented in a verbal-visual form graphically to support the written statements of the "process" and "product" analyses. As a consequence of this study the investigator-teacher's future action will reflect insights useful in conducting similar teaching and testing procedures and projective analysis when introducing the original curriculum proposal, the feasibility of which has now been determined.

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