Author: Graeme B. Wilson, Raymond A. R. MacDonald, Charles Byrne, Sandra Ewing and Marion Sheridan
Institution: Newcastle University, Glasgow Caledonian University, University of Strathclyde
Full reference: Wilson, G.B., MacDonald, R., Byrne, C., Ewing, S. and Sheridan, M. (2008) ‘Dread and passion: primary and secondary teachers’ views on teaching the arts’, Curriculum Journal, 19:1: 37 – 53
This article reports on a study of the views of Scottish teachers concerning the delivery of arts subjects within the 5–14 curriculum. The study compares findings from primary teachers with those from secondary teachers. Differences were found in terms of confidence with teaching and assessing the arts, and how they felt arts subjects were valued. Primary teachers were more likely than secondary teachers to view themselves as lacking in the particular resources of the knowledge, skill and confidence required in the arts. In contrast, many secondary teachers regarded teaching the arts as a vocation and were active in the arts in their own time. Teachers in the secondary groups were critical of school management’s valuing of the arts, suggesting that they saw them as ‘Cinderella’ or ‘thrill’ subjects for less gifted pupils rather than vocational subjects in themselves. All participants strongly endorsed the benefits of arts education, particularly in terms of pupils’ personal development. Personal benefits mentioned by all included growth in: self-confidence, self-esteem, social and communication skills, emotional intelligence, discernment, and being able to articulate individual opinions.
The implications of these findings are discussed in relation to current literature. The study recommends further study to develop an understanding of how arts subjects are important and can best be supported.
The study used both qualitative and quantitative methods:
Research issues included: