Artist-in-Residence: A Catalyst to Deeper Learning in Middle Phase Schooling
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The study sought to investigate the nature of learning that occurs in two different approaches (integrated and non-integrated) to an artist-in-residency program. The program was conducted in middle phase schooling, and adopted the principles of authentic learning. Two year five classes and their teachers participated in the study. The residency provided learning experiences that connected to the curriculum unit theme for one year five class (integrated), but not for the other year five class (non-integrated). These experiences were designed to relate to the learner's lived experiences and promote higher-order thinking processes. The study sought to explore the potential for visual arts residencies to foster more 'authentic' modes of learning. The study examined children's ability to transfer knowledge, gained through the visual and verbal analysis of images, by manipulating and integrating diverse information and ideas. Grounded Theory was deemed to be an appropriate research methodology for this study as it involves gathering data in field settings and applying inductive methods to analyze this data. Diverse data collection strategies were implemented including: teacher stories, interviews, student reflection, researcher observations and student artworks. LeximancerTM software was selected as an instrument for analyzing data. This software was considered appropriate as it fosters a descriptive and interpretive approach to analysis. The findings of the study indicated that children who participated in the integrated artist-in-school's curriculum program demonstrated more evidence of higher-order thinking processes than children who participated in the non-integrated program. The participants undertaking the integrated approach were able to establish relatively complex relationships between the central residency concepts, demonstrating an ability to use visual and verbal codes of communication to articulate their ideas, knowledge and experiences. A further important finding identified positive student behavioural outcomes, where the integrated residency approach appeared to connect group members as small supportive learning communities. The study also identified a transition in the teacher's perspectives on teaching and learning after participating in the integrated approach. This research project has significance both nationally and internationally by investigating current practices in artist-in-schools programs that both enhance and hinder educational outcomes. The study has significance to the broader educational community in terms of its focus on the role of visual arts specialist adjuncts in maximising learning outcomes. The findings of this study could provide insight into the interrelationship between visual arts and other curriculum areas to heighten student learning outcomes. The findings of the study illustrate how particular approaches to visual art in education can enhance children's learning and development. These insights can assist artists undertaking residencies in schools, and the teachers involved, to provide richer learning experiences. The findings provide ifirther evidence to support an approach that involves close collaboration between resident artists and educators. It is recommended that the residency learning experiences are connected to the children's lived experiences and that there is social support from teachers, parents and peers. It is also argued that for a residency to be considered 'authentic', the approach requires a number of essential and valuable attributes. These essential and valuable attributes have two tiers of application which coalesce to contribute to the efficacy of a school art residency.
Master of Philosophy (MPhil)
School of Vocational, Technology and Arts Education
Item Access Status
primary school learning