ERG SES C 11, Arts and Education
The aims of the present paper are to outline some aspects of the nature of teaching art though interdisciplinary integration and to explore the possibilities of implementing such multidisciplinary approach to teaching art in after-school art classes of 6-10 year-old students. The paper also explores teaching methods for establishing connections between the different school subjects covered in the curriculum as well as between the various aspects of knowledge, experiences and impressions a child gains during the after-school. By drawing on practical examples for the implementation of such methods within the after-school teaching-learning environment, the study presents a project-based approach to teaching art and explores the effects of the teaching/planning process form the point of view of the teacher as well as from the point of view of the expected results of the students’ learning.
To achieve its goals the research is based on the theory of “guided construction of knowledge” (Karppinen, et al, 2013, Edwards, 2009, Sawyer, K, 2004). This theory suggests that all knowledge we gain, even though structured by topics and domains, is interrelated and this realization gains further importance in the technological environment we inhabit. The nature of our fast-changing surroundings requires us to understand form an early age that knowledge is a “social entity, not just an individual possession” (Karppinen, et al:149), or as Mercer (1995) also states knowledge is a socially shared experience. In this respect, even though information, often seemingly random, and provided through various unrelated channels, in different forms and in great amounts, it is, in fact part of a meaningful whole which holds together and shapes the entire human knowledge as an entity. In view of this, it is of utmost importance in this present-day postmodern environment to equip students with learning tools and approaches for seeing and discovering all this interrelatedness and to guide them into making “associations beyond the different subjects” (Karppinen, et al, 2013) as well as beyond school-gained knowledge in general. The paper suggests that postmodernism’s natural permissiveness and the freedom for experimentation it promotes in art (Deuze 2005, Lyotard 1999) allows educators, especially those in the after-school who are not restricted by the curriculum and who by definition organize a more free and relaxed type of informal education, to easily implement approaches to teaching art and to teaching through art. In the long run, this interdisciplinary approach is expected to exert a beneficial effect on the students’ holistic learning process by preparing them to face the challenges of dealing with the overflow of information so as to make sense of their colourful, postmodern environment.
Based on the results from several long-term projects carried out during the after-school art classes in an international school in the Helsinki region, with the participation of children form various European countries, the following research questions will be addressed:
- What are the basic principles of the multidisciplinary approach to teaching visual arts to primary students?
- What are the methods to teach art which can be used to reveal the relationship between the different spheres of knowledge gained in school and the students’ individual experiences, and how this information can be applied in the after-school visual art classes?
- How does the project-based approach to teaching art reflect on this relationship as well as on the planning-teaching-learning process in general?
Cohen L., and Manion, L., Research Methods in Education, Routlege, 1989 Deuze, M. (2005). Participation, Remediation, Bricolage: Considering Principal Components of Digital Culture, Routlege Finnish National Board of Education ,2004, Finnish National Core Curricula for Basic Education, Finland Finnish National Board of Education , 2011, National Framework for Before- and After-School Activities in Basic Education, Finland Karppinen, S., Kallunki, V., Kairavuori, S., Komulainen, K., Sintonen, S. (2013), Interdisciplinary Integration in Teacher Education. In K. Tirri & E. Kuusisto (Eds.) Interaction in Educational Domains. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers Lyotard, J-F., 1999, "Introduction to The Postmodern condition", Art in Theory: An Anthology of Changing Ideas 1900-1990, Harrison, C., Wood, P., Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishers Inc. Mercer, N. 1995. The guided construction of knowledge: Talk amongst teachers and learners. Clevedon: Multilingual matters. Neperud R. ed., 1995, Context, Content and Community in Art Education Beyond Postmodernism, Teachers College Sawyer, K. 2006, Educating for innovation, Thinking skills and Creativity, 1, 41-48 Sawyer, K. 2004, Creative teaching: Collaborative discussions disciplined improvisation, Educational researcher, 33(2), 12-20
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