Waikato Journal of Education
Journal cover


Art education
primary school
case study

How to Cite

Price, G. (2016). Captured voices in primary school art education. Waikato Journal of Education, 13(1). https://doi.org/10.15663/wje.v13i1.289


Eisner (1972) articulated a long-standing orientation in art education as he described the triadic relationship between socio-centric, childcentred and discipline-centred approaches in art education praxis. Hickman (2005) observed that teachers and students are now positioned to embrace a wider range of discourses as to what art might be. This impacts on why students make art and how it is taught. Wider arts discourse has resulted in influential paradigms and historically preferred arts pedagogies (Efland, 2002, 2004; Eisner, 1972; Kerlavage, 1992; Price, 2005). These discourses influence policy, curriculum, teacher beliefs about art and ultimately the ways in which these influences are played out in classrooms. Eisner (2002) argued the need for 'empirically grounded examples of artistic thinking related to the nature of the tasks students engage in, the materials they work with, the context's norms and the cues the teacher provides to advance their students thinking' (p. 217). This paper draws on such theory and a two year action-research project, The Art of the Matter (Fraser et al., 2006) involving case studies and analysis. This paper focuses on a Year 4 to Year 6 'drawing into painting' context taught by experienced generalist teachers in New Zealand primary schools. The influence of school culture and programme structures is explored. I raise  questions as to which socio-cultural and disciplinecentred voices generalist teachers have been captured by, and consider to what extent it possible to still discern a student whisper under the clamour and control of adult proscribed activity.

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