Aesthetic Experience in Teacher Education

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This study is about how pre/in-service teachers can engage in aesthetic experience (Dewey, 1934) through conceptual artmaking in outdoor public spaces. The activity in the study is meant to develop expansive approaches to their disciplinary perspectives. My work arose from a pragmatic concern where teacher candidates in Ontario typically specialize in a particular subject area (e.g., mathematics, sciences, visual arts) during their B.Ed degrees, but then licensed to and are often required to teach in other subject areas in the public school system. To this extent, this study has a critical research question: how can conceptual art making in outdoor public places engage pre/in-service teachers in aesthetic experience through connecting and expanding their disciplinary perspectives? The sub-question is: how does collaborating with university students with different majors further affect this process? My argument includes that art as an embodied learning associated with creative action makings, can positively impact pre/in-service teachers on synthesizing their disciplinary understanding and comprehension through art. I introduce two methodologies, Art-Based Research and Design-Based Research. Both are used to design artistic approaches of educational research and generate theoretical claims for impactful learning practices for pre/in-service teachers. I also illustrate how I used constant comparison from grounded theory as a technique to analyze four types of data that are either discursive or non-discursive. The discursive data includes in-depth interviews after each workshop and field notes and the non-discursive data includes video recordings from the workshops and visual sketches in the field notes. The analysis of the data led to the development of four empirically supported theories: (1) place-based learning and meaningful transformation (Powell, 2020; Springgay & Truman, 2022), (2) expanded approaches to disciplinary perspectives, (Abrahamson & Lindgren, 2022; Ma & Hall, 2018), (3) mode of inquiry: art-based approach to teaching and learning, and (4) connecting everyday experience with schooling (Allen, 2016). This study took place during the global pandemic, in which the COVID-19 has affected people's lives immensely by limiting almost all parts of living situations, predominantly mobility, due to health concerns. The participants used the limitations and a varying degree of governance in the public spaces in Toronto as sources of learning and teaching to increase resilience in education. In this sense, I suggest that an emphasis on place-based and embodied learning (Ma & Hall, 2018) and aesthetic experience (Dewey, 1934; Greene, 2001; Grierson, 2017; Schmidt, 2010; Uhrmacher, 2009) can be helpful in designing pedagogical approaches for addressing the gaps in teacher education. Thus, my work can contribute to the growing areas of art-based learning in learning sciences (Sawyer, 2022) as well as the scholarship on expansive pedagogies in art education (Gradle, 2007; Inwood & Kennedy, 2020; Pérez & Libersat, 2016; Powell & Lajevic, 2011).
place-basd learning, embodied learning, teacher education, collaborative learning, improvisation, conceptual art, learning sciences, art education, aesthetic experience, happening
Lee, S. (2022). Aesthetic experience in teacher education (Doctoral thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from