Wendy M. Caughey Milne, EdD
Dissertation Title: Reflective Artmaking: Implications for Art Education
Elementary Visual Arts Teacher, Hempfield Area School District
After teaching in an elementary setting for eight years, I began to wonder about my pedagogical practices. Art Education discourses suggested that art teachers could improve their teaching by reflecting on their teaching or by engaging in artmaking. I decided to combine these concepts into a process I coined "reflective artmaking" and incorporate this concept into my role of a cooperating teacher.
This dissertation portrays an arts-based educational inquiry into the nature of reflective artmaking and the implications reflective artmaking has for art educators. Specifically, the intent of this dissertation is three-fold: (1) to portray a process of "reflective artmaking," (2) to portray insights that derived from this process, (3) and to portray the implications of these insights for the field of art education.
I was guided by four questions throughout the inquiry. These were (1) Why is the concept of "reflective artmaking" important to the field of art education? (2) What was the nature of my "reflective artmaking" process? (3) What insights into reflection, artmaking and my pedagogy emerged from my critique of the portraits? (4) What are the implications of these insights for art education?
In keeping with an arts-based format I utilized artistic metaphors related to preparing, exhibiting and critiquing "portraits" displayed in a personal gallery in this dissertation. I begin by welcoming the reader into the gallery entrance where I, as the artist/teacher/researcher, explain the background in developing nine portraits. Chapter 2, "Preparing for a One Woman Exhibit," describes my exploration of the art education discourses related to reflection and artmaking. I describe the processes I engaged in with a student art teacher in Chapter 3 titled "A portrayal of reflective artmaking." In chapters 4 through 7, I assume the stance of artist/teacher/researcher as gallery docent and lead the reader in a critique of the portraits and explicate the educational insights each portrays. I delve into these educational insights further by critiquing the calls for reflective artmaking in Chapter 8. I conclude by revisiting my preliminary understanding of reflective artmaking and provide my deeper understanding of what it means to engage in reflective artmaking.