Transformative Learning for Pre-Service Teachers: When Too Much Art Education Is Barely Enough!

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Education ‘in’ and ‘through’ the arts has been identified as a powerful vehicle in assisting students to understand their world and providing students with a range of positive influences on approaches and attitudes to learning. Growing evidence indicates that educators should seriously consider the role the arts can play in their pedagogical practice, regardless of the age group of students or the learning discipline that they teach.

In this paper the authors outline how the arts take on a pivotal role in a unique pre-service teacher education program based in rural Victoria, Australia. After completing their undergraduate qualification, students embark on a twelve month graduate studies program, which enables them to teach all levels in primary and post-primary schools, specialising in at least one subject area in the later years of schooling. During their course of study in the program all students are required to undertake Arts – both visual and performing arts – as a learning discipline. Due to the diversity of backgrounds and undergraduate degrees with which students enter the course, there are many who have reservations about the arts. The course provides a variety of learning and teaching approaches that challenge, and aim to break down, mythconceptions about the arts. In examining a range of evidence, such as evaluations of the course and our teaching practice, journal entries and work produced by students a picture is emerging that something transformative is occurring. Something potent that encourages the development of a respectful disposition that is both sensitive to the arts and provides them with the confidence and skill to incorporate meaningful arts learning as part of an educator’s pedagogical repertoire.


Keywords: Art Education, Interdisciplinary Learning, Teacher Education, Visuality, Reflective Practice, Curriculum, Pedagogy
Stream: Creative Arts and Learning
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Transformative Learning for Pre-Service Teachers, ,


Mark Selkrig

Lecturer, Centre for Regional Education
Faculty of Education, La Trobe University

Wodonga, Victoria, Australia

Mark lectures in the Centre of Regional Education at the Albury –Wodonga Campus of La Trobe University where he coordinates and teaches post graduate programs in Art, Community and Cultural Education. He also teaches in the Graduate Diploma in Education (P-12). Subjects taught by Mark include Visual Arts, Contexts of Art Education, Health, ICT, Using Multimedia for Learning, Intercultural Communication and Issues in Education. Mark also continues to work as a practising artist, exhibiting work nationally and internationally as well as working in community art projects. Mark’s research interests include: powerful learning through the Arts; cultural education and visual arts; communities of learning; inter-relational learning in education settings; middle years of schooling; and gender and sexualities. He is currently undertaking doctoral studies related to the meanings that occur for artists when they involve themselves in socially engaging participatory arts education practice.

Dr. Christine Bottrell

Lecturer, Centre for Regional Education
Faculty of Education, La Trobe University.

Wodonga, Victoria, Australia

Christine is a Lecturer in the Centre for Regional Education at the Albury-Wodonga Campus of La Trobe University, where she teaches in higher degree subjects, supervises masters and doctoral students and convenes the Graduate Diploma in Education (P-12). Units taught are Issues in Education, Visual Arts and Maths, ‘At Risk’ Students, Pedagogical Principles and Practice and Research Methods in Education. She also teaches in Curriculum Development and Developmental Art units in the newly developed course Graduate Diploma in Art, Culture and Community Education. Christine is also passionate about quality pre-service teacher education. Chris’s research interests are in the areas of Visual Arts; Creative Arts and the organisation of Schools; drawing, language and cognitive development. Christine has completed her PhD (and is awaiting conferral of the award) on an investigation involving young people their learning, brain function and the interconnection between drawing, writing and speaking.

Ref: L09P0665