Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Education


Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Professor Peter Cole

Second Advisor

Dr Russell Waugh


The main purpose of this research study was to investigate the worth of a recently developed Pictorial and Musical art program for severely intellectually disabled students, and to compare the non-representational art work produced by lower primary students in a special education school to similar art work being produced by lower primary students in a regular school, when taught in the same program. A subsidiary purpose of the study was to investigate teacher reactions in the art classroom of each participating school, and to observe the extent of the Pictorial and Musical program interventions on the students' attitudes and production of their art work. Twelve participants were chosen from each school to take part in the experimental art program. This involved the use of pictorial and musical interventions to test the outcomes, and by utilising a quantitative methodology to determine the relationship between variables. Each group of students in the study was subjected to three different art experiences within the Pictorial and Musical program, that is, Pictorial only, Pictorial with Rock music and Pictorial with classical music. All the participants supplied the researcher with an original non-representational painting from each segment of the program. The non-representational paintings were then marked by three independent teacher markers, and the marks of the 72 paintings produced by the students were analysed in a 2 way ANOVA, to ascertain if there was any comparable difference in the non- representional artwork of children with special needs and regular primary students. The descriptive statistics showed that the regular students scored higher marks for art quality than the special students, when the Pictorial only method was used, and there was more variation in the regular students marks than in the special students marks. There was no significant difference between the scores of the regular and the special students when the Pictorial and Rock music method was used, but the regular students scored higher than the special students for the Pictorial and Classical program, although variation was about the same for both. The observed attitude to the musical additions were similar for both the regular and the special students. There were marked changes in the students' attitudes during the Pictorial and Rock music method. Both groups became agitated and overexcited during this segment and initially refused to keep on task, preferring to sing and keep time with the music than to go on with their painting. The Pictorial and classical music program had the opposite effect on the students, helping to create a calming atmosphere in which they were willing to return to their task, and appeared more stimulated and creative, completing better quality non-representional paintings than before. It is anticipated that the outcome of this study may provide significant evidence of the importance of pictorial and musical interventions in art programs, and may lead to further study on this subject. The introduction of the Pictorial and Classical music program to students with severe intellectual difficulties may become an additional aid in the production of their artwork.

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Art Education Commons