Throughout the past five years, educational systems across the United States have been cutting the “Specialist” classes from the system. These classes include Art, Music, Media Center and Physical Education. As a “Specialist” teacher, Art, I feel that this is unacceptable and hurts the students in the long run. This researcher has worked in school systems that have “Specialist” classes daily within their school systems, on a three or four day rotation, and where Physical Education, Media and Music were taught on a rotation with Art taught by the classroom teacher as a craft project. The latter is what this research paper will address. Art taught in the classroom as craft projects leads to uneducated students with their art ability at the junior high level.
In making a decision on which student to interview for this project, a questionnaire was designed to establish which student to interview. The questionnaire also directed the researcher in the first round of questions to be asked.
The researcher used the interviewing technique. The interviews were done on the first, middle and last day of the 7th grader’s Art Exploratory. The first interview was used to establish what prior to the student’s prior to their Junior High experience had learned. The second interview was to capture a reaction to a structured Art classroom setting. The final interview captured the student’s response to what Art techniques and terminology had been learned during the six-week period. The initial questions were established from the questionnaire that the students’ filled out prior to my choosing one individual to interview. To establish the questions for the second and third interview, the researcher analyzed the responses given in the previous interview. Since each interview was based on the previous, a deeper understanding of the preliminary analysis was received. Several questions were posed then a “why” was asked to deep further into the student’s reasoning.
The findings established that the teachers at the Elementary level taught crafts within their classrooms and not Art techniques. Projects were made on a holiday basis to use as gifts at home. If projects were done in-between holidays, they were basically colored items. The student interviewed was excited about taking an official Art class and had a preoccupation with learning how to work with clay and how to paint. This was evident in the project that was chosen as her favorite one. A disappointment was shown in not being able to learn how to paint. The student also was curious as to whether the Art department would close at the end of this school year. She did not like the idea and wanted to be able to continue in Art classes. It was the feeling of the student that official Art classes did not have to be taken at the Elementary level because it would take the fun out of making things for gifts. Instead, she felt being introduced to official Art classes at the Junior High level was appropriate.
The researcher found this type of qualitative research to be very limiting. To utilize only one person’s perspective on a subject matter provides a very narrow observation of the topic in question. The time constraints also limited the breadth of information that could be collected on the subject matter. To broaden, deepen and triangulate information for this project, the researcher would suggest a minimum of one school year to study this subject matter. The researcher would also suggest using at least three school systems that offer different alternatives to “Specialist” classes. A minimum of twelve different interviewees should be used with four coming from each school system.