Fluid identities in multiple cultural practices: How practice changes becoming teachers’ perceptions of themselves
Journal of Artistic and Creative Education
Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne, Australia
School of Education
This Western Australian ‘Teacher as Practitioner’ (TAP) case study demonstrates how inter and intra art practices create opportunities to interrogate the shared experience and discourse of an artist-teacher culture as a community of practice. It is furthered by a discussion about what it means to be a beginning teacher in art education through a look into an initial teacher education (ITE) course at Edith Cowan University. This empirical study provides an opportunity to interrogate cultures and identities through artful inquiry within this cultural space, where becoming secondary (visual arts major) teachers develop as artist-teacher and mentor during a four-year undergraduate course. The integration of TAP as a conceptual and cultural framework was designed to combat the siloing of content in the undergraduate course, and to encourage becoming teachers to see themselves as artist-teachers and practitioners within their construction of a teacher identity. The shared experiences of becoming teachers in the first two years of TAP were documented through narrative, artworks and focus group discussion. The data show a transition in the becoming teachers’ perceptions of themselves as teachers and artist-teachers; a cultural shift that is both epistemic and ontological. These findings have been extended by a cluster analysis of the longitudinal TAP project that began at the University of Melbourne to show the positioning of the undergraduate participants in this research, which also includes a Master of Teaching cohort. This practice-led paper is informed by a practice-based approach to ITE; as the integration of TAP into this undergraduate visual arts education course has significantly transformed our practices as art educators. We discuss how cultural shifts within TAP have shifted our spatial pedagogies and the inter and intrapersonal interactions between ourselves and the participants, and the participants with each other as a community of practitioners.