Date of Award
Curriculum and Instruction
P. Bruce Uhrmacher, Ph.D.
Arts-based, Educational research, School reform, Arts in education, Educational connoisseurship, Criticism, Teacher artistry
Despite a current climate that often undervalues the arts in education, arts-centered schools and school reform continue to proliferate. This study describes, interprets and evaluates arts-centered school reform which is defined within this study as the comprehensive and intentional restructuring and re-culturing of schools using the theories and practices of the arts and arts-learning as the primary basis for educational change decisions to uncover its aims, practices and significance.
Four research questions guided this study: 1) What are the aims of arts-centered school reformers in the two schools studied? 2) What does arts-centered school reform look like in practice? 3) What is the educational significance of arts-centered school reform as it is represented in the two schools studied? 4) What educational import do these examples of arts-centered school reform have for American public school reform in general? Educational connoisseurship and criticism is the methodology used to investigate arts-centered school reform. Educational criticism is composed of four dimensions, description, interpretation, evaluation, and thematics.
Findings suggest that arts-centered school reformers have two basic aims: 1) to offer students a balanced experience in school by embracing a holistic vision of learning and childhood; and 2) to create a collaborative culture in the classroom that supports arts-learning and arts-centered school reform. The practices of arts-centered school reformers are explained in terms of five types of arts-embedded situations found in arts-centered classrooms and schools. These five arts-embedded situations include situations of: arts-mindedness, artistry, home, growth and caring, and expressiveness.
The author explores the significance of arts-centered school reform as a meaning-making enterprise by examining five realms of meaning within the curriculum: the cognitive realm, imaginative realm, the democratic realm, the community realm, and the personal realm. The author surmises that these five realms support arts-centered school reform as spaces for students to locate their own meanings in education.
Six conclusions are drawn from these examples of arts-centered school reform. 1) Arts-centered school reformers internalize arts-centered school reform as a state of mind; 2) Arts-centered school reform cannot only be internalized as a state of mind but requires vision, structure, and action; 3) Arts-centered school reform demonstrates a shared aesthetic; 4) Arts-centered school reform is best implemented as a set of relational and personal ideals expressed through teacher created experiences, encounters, and arts-embedded situations; 5) Arts-centered school reform requires a public presence in the community to thrive; and 6) Arts-centered school reformers offer an ethic of arts-engagement that is vital to our sense of cultural democracy. Finally, the educational import of arts-centered school reform for American public education is discussed and suggestions for further research are also offered.
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Trousas, Cassandra Andres, "Teacher Artistry and the Not-So-Still Life of Arts-Centered School Reform" (2009). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 658.
Received from ProQuest
Cassandra Andres Trousas
Curriculum development, Art education, Elementary education