Date of Conferral

2015

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

School

Education

Advisor

Billie Andersson

Abstract

Teachers are seeking effective teaching strategies to support an array of student learning needs. The arts hold the potential to transform the learning experience for students; however, the use of art integration is limited and unknown to many educators. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to interview and observe 8 elementary school teachers who were identified by the school administration as successfully having integrated art into the curricula, defined by teaching with and through the arts across all content areas. The intent of this study was to explore the participants' perceptions about the use of art integration in the classroom, effective practices for integrating art into the curricula, and the way art integration supports student learning and provides focus for student learning. Constructivist theory and the theory of multiple intelligence served as conceptual frameworks for this study by relating to the need for students to build learning from social engagement and experience, and to learn from different perspectives which can be facilitated through arts integration. Data collected from the 8 teacher participant pool through 8 interviews and 4 classroom observations were analyzed with open coding followed by axial coding to determine emergent themes. Results suggest that art integration enriches the entire learning experience. Teachers used art to make the curriculum visible to students. Students interacted with the curriculum through art making, and finally demonstrated understanding in an art form. Teachers credited the use of art integration for higher levels of learning due to increased student engagement through hands on activities, real life connections, document-based inquiry, and collaborative learning. The findings of this study suggest the expanded use of art integration may lead to social change in the classroom that will improve student learning.