Beyond the aesthetic discourse: a PhD about drawing and art education

Ashton, Linda (2010) Beyond the aesthetic discourse: a PhD about drawing and art education. In: Forrest, David, and Grierson, Elizabeth, (eds.) The Doctoral Journey in Art Education: Reflections on Doctoral Studies by Australian and New Zealand Art Educators. Australian Scholarly Publishing, Melbourne, VIC, Australia, pp. 13-31.

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Generalist teachers are responsible for implementing the visual art curriculum in Queensland primary schools. Many lack confidence in drawing and intentionally refrain from teaching it. I researched this problem with twenty-nine generalists. I wanted to know which art and art education discourses had been taken up by the participants, and how these altered upon resuming drawing with a critically reflexive focus. Twenty-six of the twenty-nine (9 teachers and 17 final year pre-service teachers), participated in research discussions and drawing workshops. The participants experienced a rapid personal transition from 'drawing discouraged' to 'drawing encouraged' positioning. The study's poststructuralist perspective highlighted the power of language to camouflage, perpetuate and challenge historically repressive, aesthetic discourses. My study suggests that critical methodology combined with the acquisition of specific drawing skills, helped to make visible the hierarchical Westcentric lens, through which these reachers and pre-service teachers viewed drawing.

Research methodology incorporated drawing instruction, interviews, a questionnaire, group discussions, critical readings, collective memory work and journal entries. In the process of regaining drawing confidence, participants were encouraged to critique the privilege held by pictorial realism as an indicator of talent. They also began to reflect on their discursively imposed repertoire of cliches about art and pedagogy. My teaching and theorising reframed drawing ability as the learning of varied styles, rather than unidirectional progress through developmental stages. I argue that this shift is a necessary aspect of making visible the hierarchical discourses which continue to frame talent, creativity and criticism, within school art contexts. I conclude that focussing on art as social discourse within pre-service teacher education, is an empowering way to challenge hierarchically derived pedagogical alignments. Involving generalist teachers in research is another way to strengthen awareness of art education issues and foster pedagogy which is more attuned to inclusive cultural practices in art making and appreciation.

Item ID: 16408
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-1-921509-76-6
Keywords: drawing, art education, aesthetic discourse, PhD study, generalist teachers
Date Deposited: 04 May 2011 23:47
FoR Codes: 13 EDUCATION > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130201 Creative Arts, Media and Communication Curriculum and Pedagogy @ 70%
13 EDUCATION > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130399 Specialist Studies in Education not elsewhere classified @ 30%
SEO Codes: 93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9399 Other Education and Training > 939902 Education and Training Theory and Methodology @ 50%
93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9302 Teaching and Instruction > 930201 Pedagogy @ 50%
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