Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Arts as Collaborative Inquiry: Re-Defining and Re-Centering Quality Arts Practice in Schools
by Hallmark, Elizabeth, Ph.D., University of Rochester, 2011, 231; 3442800
Abstract (Summary)

Arts educators have long been concerned about the marginalization of arts in schools. The author posits that the deepest roots of this problem come from implicit curricular assumptions and explicit operational structures surrounding the arts that obstruct their use as tools for inquiry in schools. Such curricular assumptions and structures can be transformed through school design and communities of practice that encourage a high-quality arts teaching approach she calls arts as collaborative inquiry.

The study investigates a K-6 charter school with a whole-school integrated curriculum development practice that blends together curriculum from a local river project, Expeditionary Learning, Responsive Classroom, and an arts as collaborative inquiry approach to learning. It focuses on the curriculum development process of seven teams of grade level and arts teachers who designed and implemented arts as collaborative inquiry over the course of 12 weeks. The author seeks to understand these teachers' formative perspectives on inquiry pedagogy, traces the processes by which they developed cross-curricular connections, and marks operational structures that were central to establishing a professional learning community where the arts play a significant role.

The author uses grounded theory to develop a triadic model that extends Bresler's 1993 and 1995 language describing arts teaching practices in most schools. She urges consistent language and analysis of teaching that will align the arts with the rest of the academic curriculum. Her detailed qualitative research furthers understanding of high quality arts integration, and provides a model for professional development in teaching, designing and practicing this kind of inquiry at the primary, secondary and higher education level. The study challenges practitioners and scholars to explore a new balance of arts teaching approaches in schools that would de-emphasize competitive exclusivity and increase democratic participation and shared leadership in the arts. It highlights the vital role that collaboration with teachers outside of the arts can play in re-centering expanded ways of learning through and with the arts in schools.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Larson, Joanne
School: University of Rochester
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 72/04, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Art education, Instructional Design, Curriculum development
Keywords: Arts integration, Expeditionary learning, Inquiry, Outward Bound, Responsive classroom
Publication Number: 3442800
ISBN: 9781124468846
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