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Multiple interpretations of child art–the importance of context and perspective.Experimentally based research within developmental psychology has suggested that the way children are taught art shapes their artistic growth. Thus, researchers have begun to acknowledge the importance of studying the wider contexts which shape children’s experiences of art. This paper builds on previous educational policy based research by examining how art is taught in English Primary Schools. Ethnographic methods informed by social constructionism are used to investigate the ways in which Reception teachers work with 4 - 5 year old children during art lessons held in two English primary schools. Reflexive ethnography and a synthesis approach to discourse analysis are utilised to examine i) the positions adopted by teachers as they introduce an art activity and ii) wider art values drawn upon to conceptualise ‘good’ art. It is argued that teachers adopt differing approaches which promote realistic art. This is discussed in relation to curriculum policy and practice.