Year

2017

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

School of Education

Abstract

In early childhood settings, visual arts provisions are considered central to multidisciplinary curricula that facilitate children’s processes of meaning-making, communication and play-based learning. Meanwhile, the personal and professional beliefs of early childhood educators influence both the planned and unplanned curriculum and resulting learning outcomes for children. If early childhood educators lack the confidence, skills, and visual arts knowledge required to effectively support children’s visual arts learning and engagement, children’s learning in the visual arts domain may be restricted. While several studies confirm the problem of low visual arts self-efficacy amongst pre-service primary and high school contexts degree qualified teachers (DQT), very few studies describe the visual arts beliefs and pedagogy of practicing early childhood educators. Even fewer studies support the voices of educators to be heard, particularly in the Australian context. Therefore, the central aim of this thesis is to describe and better understand the visual arts beliefs and pedagogy of practicing Australian early childhood educators. The study aims to consider how educator’s visual arts self-efficacy beliefs, personal arts experiences and pedagogical content knowledge inform visual arts planning, pedagogy and provisions in early childhood contexts. A further aim is to give voice to early childhood educators’ visual arts beliefs and pedagogy to support professional reflection for both practitioners and educator training contexts. In so doing, this thesis hopes to inform and extend professional understanding about quality early childhood visual arts pedagogy that may in turn enhance young children’s experience and development in visuals arts learning contexts.

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