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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award

January 2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ed.D.

Department

Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Karen L. Tonso

Abstract

ABSTRACT

ART EDUCATION: THE LEARNING CONNECTIONS DERIVED FROM A CREATIVE ARTISTIC EXPERIENCE

by

PAMELA ANN WOODS

May 2011

Advisor: Dr. Karen L. Tonso

Major: Curriculum and Instruction

Degree: Doctor of Education

This study investigated the school experiences of art students in a Commercial Art program. This qualitative study advances an argument for recognizing arts students' dismissed voices, as they seek an audience where their views, talents, and career choices are respected. This argument grows from 1) a critique of standards-based policy (when it goes too far), 2) a discussion of the importance of arts education for student success and, 3) research on the current practice of merging art education, career training, and technology. From the 29 students in the "Commercial Art" class at a high school serving 1400, 20 graduated students agreed to participate. A quasi-ethnographic method unpacked students' sense of the contribution that arts education made in their lives and the contribution of arts education to student success and perseverance in school. Teacher journal entries, interviews, artifacts, email conversations, and focused group discussions were used to collect data from participants. A key step in the research process was to understand what makes a program successful for art students. Because few programs investigate the deeper impact of apathy on art students who are not connecting with their learning, this became a special focus of the research. Poetic analysis examined students narratives, allowing for a richer interpretation of former students' perspectives on art in their lives. Participants in this study suggest the struggles of developing artists, and the importance of K-12 art education for their becoming the kinds of people they dreamed of being.