Spontaneous Student-To-Student Discourse During A Drawing Task In the Middle-School Artroom
By: Mary Trainor Schwarz
Published: 02/08/2012
Uploaded: 11/02/2017
Uploaded by: Pocket Masters
Pockets: 2012 (February) Teachers College Columbia University Ed.D. Dissertations, Gottesman Libraries Archive, Historical Dissertations
Tags: art education, Drawing, middle-school, student discourse

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Description/Abstract: This study is an investigation of spontaneous discourse among early adolescent students engaging in a drawing task in a middle-school art classroom without teacher intervention. Without universally agreed upon definitions for art or criteria for what makes one an artist, looking at behaviors that those called “artists” engage in, and then providing opportunities for students to engage in such behaviors, may bring art students closer to how practicing artists work. Engaging in discourse with peers in discursive sub
communities is a behavior characteristic of practicing artists as well as children in art rooms. Yet, student-to-student discourse among early adolescents – an age-group typically interested in the peer group – engaging in art tasks in an art room has not been explored in depth. Hence, the need for this investigation.

This study is qualitative case study conducted in my visual art classroom located in a public middle school in lower Westchester County, a suburb of New York City. The 56 participants were in the sixth grade, 11 or 12 years of age, and enrolled in my art class at the time of data collection. Data sources include the following: Students’ responses to questions about student-to-student talk in art class; video footage of daytime art classes and after-school sessions; transcripts of six after school drawing sessions; students’
drawings in response to the drawing task (drawing a personal map); students’ sketchbooks; and teacher/researcher field notes and reflections. Data analysis revealed a strong relationship among students’ conversations, their art-making practice and overall studio practice. Student-to-student discourse added a significant dimension to learning in the art room by empowering students to create a space where they could learn from and with each other through a social process with peers as practicing artists do. It is probable that this type of learning would not have taken place if the context, classroom culture and school ecology, did not facilitate productive student to-student discourse and learning. Given the significance of student-to-students discourse during a drawing task without teacher intervention, there are considerable implications for teachers, students and art education.