Art Student Teaching Seminar: Negotiating Meaning Through Inquiry
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis study aims to explore how the art student teaching seminar can serve as a space for inquiry and reflection, and how student teachers process their experiences, negotiate personal meanings, and understand teaching complexities through inquiry based methods. The overarching question in this research study asked: How might participation in an inquiry based seminar impact the meaning student teachers make from their practicum experiences? In order to address this main question, I employed three sub-questions: How do art student teachers perceive and describe their teaching field experiences in a seminar space? What kinds of inquiry activities can facilitate reflection with art student teachers? How do art teachers relate to and value inquiry based methods of reflection?I approached these questions through a constructivist framework that supports the idea that individuals actively construct and reconstruct their own understandings, meanings, and ultimately knowledge of the world through experience and reflection upon these experiences. Utilizing a case study methodology I designed a multi-case qualitative study that aimed to interpret the student teacher seminar through the experiences of four art student teacher participants. I was the facilitator of the student teaching seminar course at a large, public university in the Southwestern United States and the art student teachers and I met roughly every two weeks, over the course of a 16 week semester, on the university campus. I implemented a scaffolded, inquiry based curriculum which offered a variety of methods aimed to encourage inquiry and promote reflection amongst student teachers. Research data consisted of seminar audio recordings, participants' written journal entries, participants' artworks, and my reflective researcher notes. Employing narrative data analysis I constructed a case for each participant using the assignments as both chronological organization and categorical scaffolding for the arrangement and presentation of the data. I then compared the individual cases to identify similarities and differences within the whole. My analysis of research findings indicated the following: First, student teachers identified personal concerns related to affective awareness, vulnerability from uncertainty, desire for efficacy, and identity confusion during their student teaching experiences. Second, written forms of inquiry produced evidence of open-mindedness and responsibility amongst student teacher participants, while artistic forms of inquiry yielded evidence of wholeheartedness and self-knowledge amongst student teacher participants. Third, the data indicated that although benefits could be located in written inquiry, participants attached little value or meaning to this method; whereas, artistic inquiry was perceived as an especially impactful and meaningful method of inquiry by student teacher participants. Overall, the student teaching seminar served as a space where student teacher participants shared stories, described contexts, identified issues, navigated tensions, and exhibited personal and insightful developments that demonstrated reflective learning connected to self-understanding and personal growth. Implications for the research suggest that facilitators of such a course should have a concentrated awareness of the constraints of the seminar structure; approach problem exploring rather than problem solving techniques with teacher candidates; and that there is an acute need for supportive and safe spaces for student teachers to process their experiences through multiple methods. This study generated detailed insight into art student teachers' unequivocally unique, yet fundamentally shared journeys, in processing, negotiating, and ultimately understanding their practicum experiences. Keywords: student teacher, seminar, inquiry, reflection, artmaking, art education
Degree ProgramGraduate College