Making art-making accessible: An A/r/tographic exploration of immersive arts making experiences with Primary teachers with a focus on creative self-beliefs and their impact on classroom practice

Year: 2019

Author: Hotko, Katie

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Primary generalist teachers are tasked with the immense job of becoming experts across all discipline areas. When engaging with the Visual Arts in the classroom teachers are required to not just teach subject-specific skills but also to develop creative thinking skills in their students through the General Capabilities in the Australian Curriculum. Not all primary teachers have direct experience with art making and may find that they lack the confidence and self-belief required to step out of their comfort zone and act with the courageous vulnerability that is necessary for creative engagement. Without this self-belief and experience, they may stick to more stringent lesson plans that do not allow for individual choice and expression from their students. If teachers are unfamiliar with creative pedagogies/ thinking strategies/dispositions themselves, due to limited time in in-service training, lack of professional learning opportunities and few life experiences in the Visual Arts, they are ill equipped and ill prepared to offer these experiences to their students. This poster presentation reports of the findings from a PhD study that examines the impact of an intervention on Primary teacher’s creative self-belief and classroom practice. The intervention involved a group of sixteen teachers engaged in immersive arts making experiences over a six week period. This was followed by an incubation period of a school term, then meeting back again for more art making and discussion. The workshops were designed to explore the teacher’s creative self-beliefs and enable safe, supportive art making experiences wherein all the teachers created and bound their own Visual Journals. Several focus groups were conducted to explore the creative self-beliefs of the teachers, including what they believe creativity is, what it looks like in the classroom and whether they believe that they are artistic or artists. The emerging themes arising from the workshops include trusting the process rather than the product, collaborative creativity, ‘flow’ in artmaking and creative vulnerability.