This is an empirical research project that investigates the dual professional practice of the artist-teacher, carried out by an art teacher in a 9 to 13 middle school art classroom. The research sets out to examine what happens when an art teacher also practises as an artist, and what the impact of such a dual practice might be on teaching and learning in the classroom.
With the introduction of new national curriculum strategies emphasising localised, personalised and more creative curricula, there is a change of emphasis in education legislation. Ofsted recently recommended that art teachers should be encouraged to further their own art work as a means to develop knowledge of contemporary art in the classroom. This research project presents a fine-grained view of what happens when these recommendations are carried out.
The research uses a multi-methodology approach based on four naturalistic case studies in the classroom. Writing as research, autoethnography and reflection-in-action provide the framework for the examination of both teaching and artistic practice. Art practice as research methodology is used to examine visual work produced by both teacher and pupils, and to consider dialogues between the two.
Early analysis of the case studies indicates that the art practice can be said to impact on planning in the classroom and can be seen as a useful means of generating ideas and projects. The case studies demonstrate inter-reactions between teaching practices as they impact on the way art practice is deployed in the classroom.
Paul Cope is a member of the Pattern and Chaos group of collaborative, interactive and networking designers, artists, theorists and innovators in education, all of whom are based at Norwich University of the Arts.