February 2011 Archives

Q. 3). What would you like to learn from this course?

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II-D=1, 1,

Cntp-II=1, 1,



II-Sk=1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, (8)

II-Tch=1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, (6)

II-Mm: 1,

II-Et: 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, (5)

II-AC: 1, 1,

II-A/S: 1, 1,


Overall II--? (29)

Art/academic, standards: 1, 1,

Distinguish levels in art: 1,

Integrate/Incorporate/Use: 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, (57)


Cntp=Contemp. Art




Tch=Methods, teach

Mm= multimedia



A/S=academic standards (art)




Not artists, reading/

explaining thr-pict.: 1

Doing vs. reading: 1, 1,

Methods/teaching art vs. pointless crafts: 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, (8)

Resources: 1,

Know/exper: 1,





Contemp. Art: 1, 1,

Drawing/art: 1, 1, 1,

Multimedia: 1,

Computer: 1,

Critique: 1,

>Skills/techniques: 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, (13)

trust own ideas: 1,

ideas/lessons: 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, (12)

artistic/creative: 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, (5)

Tch-Et: 1,

Et-A/C: 1,



Involve Students w/art: 1, 1,

Easy art/correctly/tools: 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, (7)


            Students expressed how to allay their anxieties from the previous question as well particular realms of knowledge that they acknowledge as areas for improvement. Specifically, students acknowledged overwhelmingly in 57 responses that they wish to know how to integrate, incorporate or use art in their future classrooms or across other subject areas. Additionally, 29 of the 57 responses elaborated specific outcomes attached to arts integration. Of the 29, 8 were skill or technique driven, 6 were teaching methods or ideas driven, and 5 were easy art ideas or art-as-tools driven. Connecting the previous categories of "Not good at art" (NGA), ability (Ab), and Skills (totaling 62 responses) to the breakdown of the 29 arts integration responses shows that students are concerned with their abilities, which reflect "standard" or "historical" notions of art ability and wish to project these constructions through their future pedagogy.

            Several of the responses targeted pedagogy and reflected hegemonic teacher discourses, such as wanting to know how to "teach art in a more academic manner" as well as how to establish "levels in art" depending on student ages and their skills. These two particular comments elaborate the more general category of learning "methods of teaching art" and "teaching art [instead of] pointless crafts" which is denoted by 8 responses. Additionally, students distinguished learning how to "do" compared to "reading about" art or "reading and representing ideas with pictures" in 3 responses. Through these several categories, patterns become evident which express students' 'wish to know' through practitioner-oriented discourses that contain sentiments of anti-intellectualism. It is through these discourses that students' are "trying on" transitional identities that have been inscribed on them throughout their experiences in and out of classrooms. It also indicates that some of these students feel that they are in a transitional state, that being in-between student and what it means to become a teacher.


1,1,1, 1, 1, 1, 1, (7)



NGA=not good at art







Not Understand art/artists = teacher: 1, 1, 1, 1,

No art before

Not being good at art (artistic): 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1  (23)

Art history





Creativity level/ability/experts

1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1 (22)






Drawing-other art skills-conveyance/interpret, paint

1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1  (17)


1, 1, 1, 1,  (4)




Visual Journal


1, 1, 1, 1(time)-1, 1

Using Materials other than cr/mar/clrpncl


sculpture-but ok now


Imovie, Mac apps



1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, (7)


1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1,  (6)

Un-As: 1,



1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1 (12)

Rationalized - integration ideas vs. artistic ability


Rationalized-purpose-wasn't sure but now sees why


2). What were/are your concerns or apprehensions about this course in particular?


Some of the most populated categories expand the notion of anxiety through either not being "good at art" (23 times) nor "very artistic" followed by not feeling confident in their creativity and ability levels (22 times) in producing the course projects and related assessments. The students also cited particular artistic skills in the form of either drawing and/or painting as being a source of anxiety. These two media/mediums are cited 17 times and exposes their hegemony of art while only 3 other media/mediums where cited (sculpture, Imovie, other than crayons, markers, and colored pencils).

            It could be deduced that "not being very artistic and creative" could be expressed through what students consider to be the epitomes of art (i.e. drawing and painting) where skill and/or creativity are often praised and established through art history texts and art institutions such as museums and schools. This question also seems to give rise to students' constructed notions of what it means to produce art, more specifically what students have been taught in schools and what students have come to internalize over time throughout their lived experiences which may be influenced by family ideology.

            Students' anxiety may also arise from school ideology that associates positive assessment with expert performances of knowledge and in this case with art education students readily assume assessment will reflect skill levels. Skill levels are associated with students' conceptions of what they believe to be artistic and creative by exhibiting historical constructions of "good" art. Additionally, some students had associated skills with the ability to convey particular ideas and their anxieties reflect a lack of confidence in expressing their thoughts through a different language system other than signs expressed through textual languages. In these instances, we can deduce that students are acknowledging a domain shift where information is often transmitted through visual or body languages that are produced through the manipulation of a variety of media, which may be in conflict with their comfort levels of manipulation (writing or typing). Possibly more importantly students may be signaling a content shift as well, meaning they are uncomfortable receiving and producing ideas through non-textual means.

Observation no. 1

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            I choose to observe an undergraduate class pertaining to the arts in the elementary classroom. My particular reasons for choosing this setting are that I am interested in learning environments and social relations that work to construct them. I entered into the site with the permission of the instructor who I contacted the day before. I wasn't sure of what I would focus on but was keen on how the students would interact in the classroom. I began by assuming an outside position to the students, one that would position me on the margins of their interactions, but I slowly realized that my position within the classroom became one that was inclusive; at least to the point of feeling 'like a student'.

            I entered the classroom around 11:05 am and began to settle into a corner occupied by a variety of structural objects that resembled a tiered table with slats, a large black wooden box (most likely utilized for art exhibitions), and underneath them a rosy-pink carpet. I placed my winter coat on the wooden box along with my scarf and zipper-vest. As I began to unpack my bag with the items I thought would be necessary for taking field notes such as, a watercolor tablet, a collapsible palette with dried paints and two brushes stowed inside, a black ink pen, and my fabric pencil case, I stood up and came face to face with a person that I knew from a previous class (an intercultural course with the Ojibwe). She had curly, frizzy, brown hair and wore a smile most of the time. "How are you?" (Surprisingly) "I'm well, thanks." "Are you teaching this semester?" "Yes, but not this course, it is a 225 course about visual culture." "Oh." "I would be normally teaching this class, but there are only 5 sections and I would have the 6th. So, I'm here doing research on the course." "Oh, that's ---." "I'll be right back" (I leave to use the restroom before the class begins).

            I greeted the Teacher and re-explained my purpose of being non-intrusive and that this observation was an exercise in ethnographic field notes. I emphasized to the Teacher that my intent wasn't pre-fixed, rather that I would direct my attention throughout the unfolding events of the class. She handed me a couple of rubrics that were being used to assess student involvement during the class lessons. I perused them and set them aside since assessing the Teacher's performance was ancillary to my initial, vague purpose.

            I situate myself in my corner space and attempt to look about the room to see who the students are in the classroom. Two more students enter the room; it's 11:16 am. There is indiscernible chatter throughout the room across the tables where 4 to 5 students sit at each table. The tables are semi-large wood tables and appear to be heavy due to their thickness; metal legs that taper to the wooden floor support them. There are 5 of these tables, 3 of which are aligned parallel to each other on their long side, while the remaining 2 are situated closer to the chalkboard and symmetrically to the 3 in an opposing manner. The black blinds are pulled down over the windows yet bright sunlight pours through the spaces between the blinds and the window frames; overhead fluorescent bulbs flood the rest of the room.

            I count 2 males and 19 females, though I'm unsure of this count since my view is unclear with many heads overlapping those behind them. The table nearest to me has 4 females and 1 male sitting down talking, "How was your ---?" (indiscernible) "That's good." The Teacher states, after several minutes of engaging the whole class, "We are collecting for --- e-portfolio. Does anyone have any questions?"--- "walk around before you present it." "Everyone if you are wondering, this is Kevin, he is observing our class." (some utterances). (There are choral tic-tacking sounds of students typing on their computers).


11:25. A female student enters the classroom. "Sorry." (light laughter).

Another female student asked the teacher a question that I did not hear then states, "Do you want to" (she makes eye contact with the male sitting closest to me and seems to make them appear larger as to communicate something to him). "If you want to." The female student passes a bundle of papers to him.

            The Teacher states, "Clear off your tables (pause) so we can see your projects. Then we will informally present them to the class." The students get up from their tables and begin to circle the tables inspecting their classmates' assignments. "I know (pause) so cute." "Look at this palm tree." "Thank you." (in a high tone) "So cute." "I'm sorry." (in a high tone) "That's really cute." (Laughing and chatter) "That's cute (pause) the Hershey kiss flower." "I didn't even see that."

The students return to their tables and begin to respond to the teachers prompt to present their projects. Not the first student, but several students later, "I ripped the eyes off another project." (light group laughter) Another female student describes, "I used to play the piano a lot and I used --- for ----." A female student next to her says, "Show it more." (short laughter) "Show it more." (light laughter). Another student states, "He's (Mr. Potato Head) hot glued, taped, and ----" (laughter). A different student shares, "The gross part was --- milk." (laughter) Another student discussed the importance of her spiritual beliefs pertaining to her project that was fashioned in the form of a cross, "--- stole it out of some guys yard." (laughter) A male student shares his project by stating that it (a jeep) "represents our journey through the LLED block." (laughter) Another student claimed, "I made mine after my dog----I'm obsessed with it." (laughter) A female student with glasses, muddy brown straight hair states, "Here is my little scene ----(Rhymes a story) I jumped for joy do you know why? (ends the rhyme) It was fun dressing him up (points to a small figure in her project). It seems that the projects resemble homemade, three-dimensional sculptures that signify personal narratives by including various symbolic representations.

            Several other students continue to disclose their project details to their classmates and then the teacher asks the group if they had any difficulty with the materials and what considerations would be made for younger students. The female student with glasses answers, "glue appropriate --- hair sticking to my face" (laughter).  One girl yawns and adds, "Probably a few less materials." The Teacher gives the students a few minutes to transition into the next topic. Some students get up from their tables and the students nearest to me are talking, "Yeah, did all the reading." (Camera flashes) "Did you do all the reading responses?" (mumbling) "Maybe 2 pages." The female student with curly frizzy hair discloses to another who wasn't listening, "Reading responses tomorrow" (laugh followed by a smile). "Uhhh." "I just answered all the questions." (A female student drinks from a water bottle, while the other female student with glasses at a different table eats a muffin). The conversation continues at the table nearest to me, "Is that long enough?" The Teacher responds as the question was directed to her as she walked around the room. She states, "Yeah, looks good --- list all the steps."

            The female student eating the muffin finishes and sweeps the crumbs into her brown paper bag.

12 noon. The lights above the chalkboard and video screen are turned off. 3 students stand in front of the class and begin to present the next assignment to the class. One male student is much taller than the 2 female group members (one is shorter than the other). At times they all line up so that their heights appear to increase incrementally. The 3 student presenters are standing off to the right side of the projection screen as the PowerPoint projects for all to see. The tall, brown and shorthaired male states, "What do you think it shows?" (Referring to an image projected on the screen). "Talk amongst your tables" (Indiscriminate chatter begins and builds, then slowly tapers off). "Do you need more time?"

            A student responds to the original question, "We thought of animal cruelty." The male presenter asks, "How did it make you feel?" "Upset." "(How about) you guys?" (male presenter points with his finger to a different table of classmates) "Humans taking over the environment---like with the prisoners." "Comparing prisoners to animals." The male presenter adds, "This is by Sue Coe----animal cruelty and PETA." The male presenter continued to discuss the qualities of the image and related the responses to the presenting groups thoughts, as they were both similar. The male presenter continues, "----connecting media to artwork---- (an) issue happening in the 90's. This is Barbara Kruger a women's rights ----."

            The shortest female group member changes the image on the projection and prompts the class to talk about the issue represented by the image (sexual harassment; there are simplified figures coupled depicting a male and female both posturing in opposing manners, the male figure is depicted with physical aggression and the female is recoiling; there are multiple figures positioned differently yet similarly throughout the composition). The table nearest to me discuss the image, "guys are the scumbags." "They (the figures) are so abstract." "(There is) a lot of pain (pause) no faces." "(it) looks like someone wants to tell, but can't." The female presenter polls the class for their responses and several (about 3 students respond).

            The presenters put a different image on the screen, which prompts the question, "To what extent do we transmit our personal values to students?" There was 1 response (which I missed). The female presenter asked if there were any other classmates who wanted to respond, a pause of silence took place, and she responded to the silence, "Well anyways" and continued to provide the answer the question.

            The tall male presenter continued to extend his group members answer by stating that, "Elementary (education students are) narrow minded. We always follow the same path." The Teacher responded, "That's interesting, 'cause I didn't (get that) from the reading. Did anyone else (get that impression)?" (A pause of silence filled the room).

12:15. The presenters prompted the class, "Can you use this (with your future students)?" The class talked in their table groups, the table nearest to me is conversing, one tablemate responded, "For the younger kids ---- but, for the older kids (pause) you can bring it in more." Another student interjects "(For example you could explain) even if you are around a stranger." (the room was filled with indiscriminate chatter). The presenters interject and ask the whole class to respond to the question, the female student with curly, frizzy hair speaks, "----let the kids carry the conversation----leave out the controversy." Another student on the other side of the class from where I am sitting states, "You can teach the flip side (pause) without them getting jaded (pause) like the whole world sucks."

            The other female presenter introduced another activity to the class; they are to represent an issue found in the Daily Collegian newspaper. The Teacher asked the presenters, "Is everyone creating their own?" "Yes." "Yes." "It could be really simple."

Some students state aloud, "(is the) whole group --- same?" Someone responded, "(their) own individual issue."

12:25. Newspapers are being opened and pages are being turned, the rustling of newspapers and light chatter fill the room. The table nearest me begins to talk about potential issues found in the newspapers, "----and it's like---" (a student interjects) "Marijuana, marijuana-----smoking a joint (with) a big X through it." (light laughter at the table). The lights above the projection screen are turned on and the room is once again brightly lit. The conversation at the table nearest to me continues to talk, "---I watch CNN." (indiscriminate conversation). A different student at the table says, "lady gay-gay" (while looking and pointing to the newspaper; laughter). The same student who was pointing at the newspaper changes the topic as the Teacher walks nearby, "Hey --- that's my roommate (pause) I never read her stuff." (laughter). The boy at the table speaks, "whoa (pause) huh, huh." Another is reading from the newspaper, "Redheads innocuous genders ---." (mumbling then laughter). The students at the table all lean in toward each other and talk to quietly to hear; their heads are tilted toward each other. One states, "Gun ownership." Another student places a set of markers on the table and her female tablemate states, "I love those smelly markers." She removes the top, closes her eyes and inhales with the marker tip near her nose.

12:30 The shortest female presenter announced to the whole class, "(You will) show one from each table."

            I looked around and made my last mental notes concerning the environment and additionally noted with watercolor paint some of the colors that repeat throughout the class; the dark window shades, the light pouring through the gap between the shade and the window frame, the vibrant green plant in the window opposite several green bottles lit by the natural light. There were several red objects that stood out, a girls coat on the back of her chair, a water-bottle placed on a students table, a plastic bin near the window, and a red leather-like soft brief case near the door.

            It seems that the students are participating in a manner in which allows them to establish a certain level of autonomy by separating themselves from their creation through the use of humor. Many of the students oversimplified their descriptions and attempted to focus their discussion upon folly situations that occurred during the process of making their projects. So, interestingly the students found more value in their processes then in the actual product or rather, the students conveyed their projects' value through the processes, which highlighted various problems through comedy. Comedy seemed to serve several aspects within the dialogue: firstly, comedy allowed the students to claim ownership over the processes in which the student explored the teacher's assignment, secondly, the students' use of humor enabled a sense of unity from within their audience so as to lessen their vulnerability, thirdly, the students' use of comedy created a classroom environment that enabled a sense of reconstruction; meaning that the students' interpretations created new meanings to the assignment unforeseen by the teacher.

            Additionally, the students seemed to interact less inhibited during small group instruction versus large group instruction; my analysis is based upon the level of interaction during large group interaction which was comprised of brief responses and negative responses (no responses) during specific prompts compared to the rich dialogue that seemed to occur during small group discussions. It also seemed that the performance of comedy seemed to lessen during small group instruction, although it remained an aspect of conversation, not all partook.

In closing my choice to not openly interact with the students as well as not moving through the context provided a limited scope and field of information, one that takes the shape of a cone where the narrowest point meets my position in the context. The close proximity to one group of students did provide an opportunity for me to capture more of their dialogue compared to other positions in the room, which may suggest an approximate experience to the students' experience, since the majority of the time was occupying chairs around tables. As, I was in this particular classroom context, I became more interested in how the students negotiated and co-constructed, through language (verbal and body), a learning environment. I'm not sure as to whether or not I would engage or participate (openly) in the dialogue since the thrust of these field notes became focused on student-to-student-to-teacher social relations. Although, my presence was noted verbally by the Teacher and many of the students took notice of me throughout my presence in the classroom. This acknowledgement prompts me to ask several questions: How did my presence influence the students' participation? Were they less, more, or no different in their attempts to use comedy or prompt laughter from their peers? Did my presence affect students' responses or non-responses to the student presenters and Teacher questions?"

Future classroom studies may involve closer scrutiny between the students' use of comedy during whole group instruction and small group interaction. Additionally, the study may involve direct observation of the students level of involvement throughout the class as not all classes may be so physically involved; moving between seats, shifting between assignments, and student presenters. The researcher may also find that approaching students with questions may illuminate their 'buy-in' and their employment of comedy during whole group instruction.


























Figure 1: Field notes and jottings




Figure 2: Field notes and jottings

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