Arts Literacies: Investigating secondary and higher educators' perspectives

Year: 2012

Author: Barton, Georgina

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


The Arts have often been recognised as unique areas of investigative inquiry (Dewey, 1989; Eisner, 2004; Langer, 1953) however artists often find it difficult to articulate through words the intrinsic nature and associated meanings with knowing in their particular Arts domain. This difficulty has impacted on discourse around the concept of literacy in the Arts as there continues to be limited research in this area despite growth of research in and around specific content areas and associated literacy in schooling. It has been acknowledged that there is a myth that literacy learning is over and done with by the time children reach the middle and senior years of schooling (Freebody, Chan & Barton, 2012; Shanahan & Shanahan, 2008). Some studies have begun to investigate the unique approaches to literacy learning in distinct discipline areas (Christie & Derewianka, 2008; Freebody, Martin & Maton, 2008) however such investigation is limited in the Arts. This paper investigates the concepts of literacy and knowing in the Arts with particular focus on modality usage and reflective practice using a case study approach. It will present findings from interview data with Arts educators from both higher and secondary education contexts in the areas of Dance, Drama, Media Arts, Music and Visual Arts.