Date of Award

1997

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Education

School

School of Education

Faculty

Faculty of Education

First Advisor

Anthony Monk

Abstract

During the 1980s, research in the arts by Project Zero and Arts Propel revealed that in American schooling the areas of artistic intelligence and artistic education had been neglected. Gardner (1989) proposed a theory of multiple intelligences, suggesting that in addition to the linguistic and logical-mathematical forms, there are a number of distinct forms of intelligence that each individual may possess in varying degrees. The concept of multiple intelligences as opposed to "talent" in an art form offers the opportunity to view arts education in a new light. The original purpose of Arts Propel was to assess artistic potential in the same way that IQ or SAT instruments are designed to test scholastic potential. What began as an assessment endeavour, became a curricular undertaking and as a result, a number of educational institutions developed integrated arts approaches to arts learning, claiming that where the arts were integrated within the curriculum, higher achievement was recorded. The National Curriculum's statement on The Arts for Australian Schools (1993) included the five arts forms of dance, drama, media, music and visual arts as "Arts" components and justified this stance by clearly stating that the common statements and profiles accommodated a wide range of approaches. However, the strands of arts experience and learning - Creating, Making and Presenting, Arts Criticism and Aesthetics, and Past and Present Contexts - have the potential to provide a common framework for integration of the various forms. During the course of this research the strands have already been subject to change and are now known as Expressing, Responding and Reflecting. During the trialling phase of The Arts' Student Outcome Statements, divisions between the arts forms became apparent. Some of the issues included: attempts by arts teachers to maintain the status quo, strong boundaries between the arts, unequal representation of arts forms in schools and application of Student Outcome Statements Strands to all the arts forms. At the commencement of this research the divisions between the arts forms remained as strong as ever, yet a truly integrative approach has the potential to strengthen the place of arts in schools. This research documented ten secondary arts teachers' perceptions of integrated arts. The teachers all taught in government schools and each art form was represented by two teachers. The purpose of the research was to record arts teachers' perceptions of integrated arts at a time of rapid curriculum change. Qualitative methodology using the instrument of semi-structured scheduled interviews was the data gathering process. The interviews were audio-taped and once the data was compiled it was sent to the participants for their approval. This study found that arts teachers' perceptions of integrated arts were, on the whole, positive. Most teachers believed that an integrated arts approach would give students a deeper understanding of the arts and promote bonding between arts teachers. Teachers felt that the combination of the five arts forms into one learning area (The Arts), provided long overdue recognition of the arts as a significant learning area. Other perceived benefits included the building of strength and support, and the overcoming of isolation that characterised the arts in schools in the past. It is recommended, as a result of this study, that where possible, the physical location of the arts departments in schools should be considered during the planning stage so that arts areas are not isolated. It is also recommended that media and dance should adopt the changes, so that The Arts area of learning will not be fragmented. This can be achieved through document support which will show dance and media teachers how they can work effectively within an Arts framework. Integrated Arts programs, such as those offered by some of the schools in this study, will provide strong guidelines for future arts consolidation and enrichment in schools.

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Art Education Commons

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