K--1 teachers' visual arts beliefs and their role in the early childhood classroom

Blythe Annette Goodman-Schanz


The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore and describe the visual arts beliefs and practices of eight K-1 teachers in four schools and in two different school districts in a southern state. Using a phenomenological framework (Creswell, 2007; Leedy & Ormrod, 2005), the research revealed the teachers' understandings of beliefs and how they applied them to their early childhood classrooms. Data were collected consisting of formal and informal interviews with the eight teachers. Interview data were analyzed using triangulation in phenomenological reflection suggested by van Manen (1990). The analysis yielded three major themes and three sub-themes. The first major theme, development of visual arts beliefs, was supported by the subtheme of academic training. The second major theme, demands of curriculum, was supported by two subthemes of professional development and administrative support. The third major theme, classroom practices, did not yield a subtheme. From analysis of data, descriptions of the teachers' individual understanding of their visual arts beliefs and practices were generated. Recommendations for future research included the present study to be extended with participants to be in another geographical region. In addition, more research to be conducted of male teachers' beliefs in K-1 was recommended.