Visual arts education, teacher choice, accountability and curricula in Tasmanian K-6 primary schools

Year: 2015

Author: Baker, William, Astell, Sarah

Type of paper: Refereed paper

This paper explores the findings of a 2013-14 Master of Education study of five Tasmanian general K-6 teachers and their approaches to the visual arts in their classrooms. Following a state wide survey subjects were purposively selected for participation in interviews. The thematic, inductive analysis of interview data indicates that subjects have: all had positive experiences with visual arts; used visual arts regularly in their classes; not used visual arts curriculum; were unaware of professional development opportunities; and; perceived little support or accountability for the visual arts in their schools. On one hand these data suggest that those who have had positive visual experiences were more likely to teach the visual arts. On the other hand there was little perceived support at school level for the visual arts nor accountability for its inclusion. These data strongly suggest that the inclusion of visual arts was left entirely up to the classroom teacher. This study suggests that pre-service teachers should be encouraged to create positive visual experiences and that they should apply these experiences on practicum. Furthermore, based on these findings, pre-service and in-service teachers should be encouraged to move beyond one-off visual experiences to develop sequential and substantial visual arts programs linked to curriculum documents.