The 'Pinterest Solution'.
Teachers' beliefs, values and valuing of arts education

Year: 2017

Author: Chapman, Sian, Wright, Peter, Pascoe, Robin

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Politics and political positioning by the government of the day has set the tone for educational imperatives in Australia at both a national and state level. This positioning flows through curriculum design priorities made by relevant state authorities on behalf of schools and teachers. Current priorities include significant time allocations for literacy and numeracy, in line with standardised testing mandates, with other learning areas (such as the Arts, Health and Physical Education and Languages) fighting for any remaining time in the school day. Classroom teachers bear responsibility for the implementation of these priorities, and decisions relating to time spent in other learning areas, especially in primary schools. For the Arts learning area, issues of marginalisation and limited teacher knowledge further impact on what and how teachers engage with the given curriculum. This presentation looks at how the current educational environment in Western Australia has created a situation in which primary classroom teachers look to social media sites such as 'Pinterest' for arts learning ideas to alleviate current curriculum tension. Consequently, the reality of teaching and everyday life of schools has resulted in a 'Pinterest solution'.

The 'Pinterest solution' involves teachers increasingly using online sharing sites to look for ideas for arts lessons instead of written curriculum documents produced specifically for them by curriculum authorities. This 'Pinterest solution' reveals in time-poor environments, systemic issues compound concerns around resourcing, priorities and a lack of criticality by teachers resulting in impoverished arts learning opportunities.

Key to understanding the increasing use of social networking sites for teaching 'ideas' this presentation focuses on value and valuing - a teacher's beliefs about what is worth knowing in terms of arts curriculum. This idea is explored using a qualitative methodology drawing on the experiences of 20 primary school teachers across four schools in Western Australia. All teachers were interviewed individually, using a semi-structured interviewing format (Kvale & Brinkmann, 2009). Teachers were asked about arts curriculum usage, and where their ideas for arts lessons were sourced from. Interviews were transcribed and coded using a descriptive coding method that concentrated on the topic raised rather than the content (Saldana, 2013), the topic then being explored iteratively. Three notions of value outlined in the literature and by the participant teachers are explored. They include intrinsic value seen through arts practice (Bumgarner Gee, 2007), instrumental value highlighted by arts integration (Brewer, 2002), and institutional value depicted through the development of cultural production (Galloway, 2009). The ways each of these three key concepts manifest provides significant insights into what increases authentic arts learning for young people in schools.