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Art Education Policy: Interpretation and the Negotiation of Praxis

Description: This collective case study explores the confluence of educational policy and professional praxis by examining the ways art teachers in one public school district make decisions about creating and implementing curricula. Through various interpretations of one district's formal and informal expectations of art teachers, some of the complexities of standards, instruction, and assessment policies in public schools are described. The research shares how art teachers are influenced by local policy expectations by examining how five K-12 art teacher participants negotiate their ideological beliefs and practical knowledge within the professional context of their local setting, and presents an art teacher decision-making framework to conceptualize the influences for praxis and to organize analysis. Case study data include in-depth interview sessions, teaching observations, and district policy artifacts. Themes emerge in the findings through coding processes and constructivist grounded theory analysis methods. The research describes how participants interpret and negotiate expectations, finding curricular freedom and participation in public exhibition as central policy factors. Contributing the perspectives of art teachers to the literature of policy implementation and fine arts education, the study finds that balancing autonomy and mandates are primary sites for negotiating praxis and that informal expectations for student exhibition contribute to a culture of competition and teacher performance evaluations. The study presents implications for policy makers, administrators, and art educators while sharing possibilities for future research about policy expectations. The research describes how participants interpret and negotiate expectations, finding curricular freedom and participation in public exhibition as central policy factors. Contributing the perspectives of art teachers to the literature of policy implementation and fine arts education, the study finds that balancing autonomy and mandates are primary sites for negotiating praxis and that informal expectations for student exhibition contribute to a culture of competition and teacher performance evaluations. The study presents implications for policy ...
Date: August 2016
Creator: Garth, Timothy Brian

The Museum is the Object: An Action Research Study in How Critical Theory Curriculum Influences Student Understanding of an Art Museum

Description: The purpose of this action research study was to determine how a critical theory curriculum implemented in a college-level art appreciation course impacted student understanding of an encyclopedic art museum. A critical theory-based curriculum unit was designed and implemented, and students were given assignments to assess their learning. The most significant assignment centered on a self-guided student visit to the art museum in which students made detailed observations of the museum spaces and responded to articles critiquing museum practices. These documents, together with class discussions and my personal observations, were analyzed and described in this research study. The data revealed that students had a high level of regard for and interest in art museums, were capable of understanding how history and context influences museum practices, detected multiple instances of bias in art museum galleries, and self-reported high levels of cognition and empowerment based on their experiences. The data suggested that, in college students, both art appreciation instructors and museum educators have an ideal audience in which to facilitate sustained, higher-level, critical theory-based museum learning experiences.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Elizondo, Kristina Kay

A Narrative Study about the Transformative Visual Cultural Dialogue beyond Women's Veils

Description: In this narrative study, I explore the transformative visual cultural dialogue behind the sight of the veil or veiled women in Denton, Texas as a Western culture. The narrative is constructed from the experiences of three Western non-Muslim women participants who wore the veil publicly in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, especially Denton, Texas, for about two weeks, in the spring of 2014. The main question for this study is: How do veiled Western women incite transformative visual cultural dialogue and ideas concerning veiled women? To gather rich data to answer the study's question, I utilized qualitative narrative inquiry to explore the transformative dialogue that the veil, as a visual culture object, can incite in non-Muslim Western women's narratives. The study involves three participants who are non-Muslim American women who voluntarily wore the veil in public and recorded their own and other's reactions. The participants' interviews and diaries demonstrated that the veil incited a particular perceptive dialogue and often transferred negative meanings. For example, the sight of the veil suggested the notion of being Muslim, and consequently, the ideas of not belonging. The reactions the participants received were either negative verbal interactions or physical ones, both of which are limited in this study to face gestures or some form of negative body language that is meant to be a message of disliking. In summation, this study shows that the women's veil is a visual culture symbol that transfers negative meaning in the DFW area in Texas.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Aljebreen, Fahad Mohammad

Unpacking Self in Clutter and Cloth: Curator as Artist/Researcher/Teacher

Description: This a/r/tographic dissertation offers opportunities to interrogate curator identity and curator ways of being in both public and private spaces. Instead of an authoritative or prescriptive look at the curatorial, this dissertation as catalogue allows for uncertainty, for messiness, for vulnerable spaces where readers are invited into an exhibition of disorderly living. Stitched throughout the study are stories of mothering and the difficulties that accompanied the extremely early birth of my daughter. Becoming a mother provoked my curating in unexpected ways and allowed me to reconsider the reasons I collect, display, and perform as a curator. It was through the actual curating of familial material artifacts in the exhibition Dress Stories, I was able to map the journey of my curatorial turns. My engagement with clothing in the inquiry was informed by the work of Sandra Weber and Claudia Mitchell, where dress as a methodology allows for spaces to consider autobiography, identity, and practice. It was not until the exhibition was over, I was able to discover new ways to thread caring, collecting, and cataloging ourselves as curators, artists, researchers, teachers, and mothers. It prompts curators and teachers to consider possibilities for failure, releasing excess, and uncaring as a way to care for self, objects, and others.
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Date: May 2016
Creator: McCartney, Laura Lee