Images of Practice in Arts Education in Singapore

Project Number
OER 07/10 LCH

Project Duration
December 2010 - February 2014


This study is grounded in the view that in order for arts education to be meaningful, teaching practices need to educate students to new ways of seeing, hearing, moving, and thinking rather than focus on the production of artworks for consumption in a system based on reward through meritorious performance. Hence, artists and arts educators play a critical role in how they teach in the arts within the school context. Through detailed explorations of arts educators' conceptualizations and approaches in their teaching practice, this study aims to contribute to a deeper understanding of the logic of teaching, a key research priority within the NIE RD&I Research Framework. Furthermore, this study is a first, locally, to bring together teachers, artists-in-schools, and co-curricular activities instructors to examine their pedagogies on a common platform in the hope of leading to fruitful discussion, exchanges and collaborations, to improve arts engagement, pedagogy and practice in Singapore. This in-depth qualitative study aims to add to nascent local research literature investigating the nature of arts teaching in schools. Through 18 case studies of community nominated 'outstanding' arts educators in dance, drama, music, and visual arts, the study will examine how these arts educators define teaching in the arts and how they actually teach and engage students in the various arts disciplines. This will be done through videotaped classroom observations and interviews with the following research questions: 1) How do individual arts educators talk about and define their teaching of particular arts disciplines (dance, drama, music & visual art) within the Singapore school context? 2) What has influenced their individual teaching? 3) How do the individual participants’ identities as “artist”(or actor/musician/dancer) or “arts educator” influence how they each make decisions about what and how to teach? The web documentation of each participant becomes the by-product of the research study forming an “images of arts education practice” web gallery. As such, an additional aim of this research study is to determine the usefulness of such a web gallery as a sharing point for arts educators to view and reflect on their own teaching practices. This will be explored through focus group discussions amongst the participants. The following research question will serve to guide this additional research goal: 4) How can web technologies be harnessed to document and share multiple teaching practices in the arts in ways that will inform and enhance teacher inquiry?

Research Themes
Music & Arts

Funding Source

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