A qualitative study of three secondary art teachers' conceptualizations of visual literacy as manifested through their teaching with electronic technologies
Ching-Chiu Lin, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, United States
Doctor of Philosophy, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign . Awarded
This qualitative case study examined and described three technologically competent, secondary-level visual arts teachers' insights into the notion of visual literacy in the information age, and how this notion manifests through these teachers' teaching praxis with art and technology in their classroom and school environments. The study participants included both the three art teachers and selected students who were in these teachers' art and technology courses at the time of the study.
The study results indicate that these teachers interpret visual literacy as a collective term that describes what students should learn in contemporary society, but that they do not engage the visual literacy language as it is framed in academic discourse. Rather these teachers derive their idea of visual literacy from their own teaching experiences with students, from their conceptions about the schools and communities in which their students live, and to provide a unified learning experience and prepare students for their future. Hence, these teachers' achievements go beyond developing students' visual competencies to embrace a holistic experience of teaching and learning that involves such themes as student voices, trusting relationships with students, community engagement, lifelong skills, connections with lives, contexts of particular teaching praxis, and richness of teacher knowledge.
The findings also show that these art teachers' notion of what students should learn in the information age (i.e., these teachers' notion of visual literacy) embraces a sociocultural approach, emphasizes student development of higher order thinking skills in connecting art and lived experience, and fosters student ability to integrate multiple literacy skills and multimodal communication in media production and analysis. In response to the larger context of teaching and learning, the findings also suggest the need for a healthy human and technical infrastructure in public schools, recognition of the value of both old and new media in art and technology classroom integration, and a shift in staff professional development away from technically oriented workshops to more content-oriented modules that exemplify content-specific technological applications.
This investigation also produced findings and questions beyond the original research queries that contribute to the study significance. These findings imply that the situational and holistic engagement of learning with technology challenges the usefulness to teachers of the term visual literacy as it is posited in academic discourse and questions the value of predetermined educational ends that accompany that visual literacy scholarly discourse.
Lin, C.C. A qualitative study of three secondary art teachers' conceptualizations of visual literacy as manifested through their teaching with electronic technologies. Doctor of Philosophy thesis, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
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