An a/r/tographic exploration of the impact art making has on generalist primary teacher’s creative self-beliefs and their teaching of the visual arts.

Year: 2021

Author: Hotko, Katie

Type of paper: Individual Paper

More than ever before, we need to provide classroom opportunities for students to develop their critical and creative thinking skills. As we reimagine what education can be in these complex and uncertain times it is vital to equip generalist primary teachers with the skills necessary to provide high-quality arts experiences in the classroom. The literature suggests that the limited time offered during preservice teacher training dedicated to the arts is insufficient for generalist primary teachers. Preservice teachers indicate a lack of preparedness to teach the arts. While not the only way creative thinking is developed, the arts are uniquely situated to provide opportunities for students to experience the creative process and develop creative dispositions through making and viewing art. This inquiry seeks to understand what type of professional development opportunities and are beneficial for generalist primary teachers to increase their confidence with the visual arts.     Through the lens of Whiteheadian process philosophy, this a/r/tographic inquiry explores how time spent making art can cultivate an understanding of creativity and increase creative self-belief in generalist primary teachers. Specifically, what pedagogies enable creative self-beliefs, and what impact does personal artmaking have on generalist primary teacher’s classroom practices. During this inquiry, the researcher worked alongside fifteen co-inquirers exploring how art making can impact one's view on creativity and creative self-belief. Through the process of making visual journals together, the teachers developed their own creative self-beliefs and reflected on their teaching practice over 4 months.The dichotomy between process and product is pervasive in artmaking; however, visual journals are an effective location for merging the two, process/product in one artifact. The visual journal has the potential to become a living voice of the process that the researcher moved through in the duration of the inquiry. This paper explores the use of the visual journal as a tool for data generation and analysis. A visual journal is a transformative storying machine. It is something that we can plug into, and it, in turn, co-creates us.  In its pages, visual journals soak up thinking about the creative self-beliefs of the co-inquirers and the becoming of myself as an a/r/tographer. This research adds to the growing body of research that pushes the boundaries of a/r/tography beyond a qualitative inquiry into a living inquiry that is inherently steeped in the process of art making through the ecologies of a/r/tographic knowing of poiesis, theoria and praxis.