UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Education through art : curriculum materials for use in elementary and secondary schools and in teacher education programmes Steggles, George Henry


This thesis represents the writer's belief that art possesses unique qualities which make it indispensable in general education. In the attempt to show that this view of art as a vital agent for learning is not new, he points to historical example. He claims that organized society has since antiquity given art a primary role in education, and that this concept is supported by the pronouncements of some of the greatest philosophers and educators in the history of mankind. In arguing the case for a re-appraisal of the aims of art education, the point is made that, in spite of its great potential as a dynamic force in our school curricula, art is barely tolerated as a "fringe" subject by today's administrators. Believing that the choice for art educators lies between the two conflicting positions of "integration or isolation," the writer declares his support for the principle of integration. He claims that important gains have been made in the past by those art educators who have, by interpreting the writings of Sir Herbert Read, followed a policy of education through art. In calling for a vigorous exposition of this policy, the view is advanced that the present-day ills which beset art education will need drastic treatment if art is to realize its full potential as a major component in education. Generalists, as well as specialist art teachers, will have to be convinced of the strong catalystic value of art in the learning process. One way in which teachers might be helped to educate through art, the writer suggests, would be through curriculum materials designed for that purpose and developed for use in teacher education programmes and school classrooms generally. With this central thesis of education through art in mind, the writer describes the development of a proto-type curriculum kit, "The Mask." Data is gathered through field-work in the public school system and in teacher education programmes, with the researcher directly involved as a participant/observer. Consisting of slides, taped music and teaching notes, the kit is aimed at an integrated approach to learning through art. Although the theme has the needs of elementary school social studies in view, the researcher stresses the flexibility of purpose which he intends for the materials. Despite the necessarily limited number of opinions he was able to gather, the encouraging response from student-teachers, art teachers, and teacher educators leads the researcher to the conclusion that there is a need for curriculum materials that will help teachers to educate through art. Ha further concludes that the need exists, not only at elementary level, but in secondary schools, as well as in teacher education programmes. In terms of future action, the main implication is that an attempt should be made to satisfy that need. This will involve the development of a series of curriculum packages, diverse of theme, but united in their underlying purpose of education through art.

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