A dialogical approach to visual voice development in the AP Studio Art classroom
Kerr, Amber Marie
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The purpose of this study was to examine the voice component of the Advanced Placement (AP) Studio Art portfolio. This research sought to examine how to teach for and assess visual voice development. Specifically, in this practitioner research study, I examined the effectiveness of using visual/verbal journals, personally reflective journals, and classroom critiques to evaluate the success of my curriculum adaptation in meeting the needs of my students for visual voice development in their artwork. Eight senior female students were involved in the qualitative research study centered around a humanistic curricular approach (McNeil, 2009) focusing on metacognitive development guided by the theories of Eisner (1994) and Efland (2004). Also, the eight studio habits of mind, outlined by Hetland, Winner, Veenema, and Sheridan (2007) were central to the curriculum conceptions that guided this study. The following questions were investigated: (1) How may visual voice be developed in an AP art classroom through reflection and dialogue? (a) How may a student’s personally reflective journaling contribute to the development of visual voice? (b) How may the dialogue fostered through critique be used to facilitate visual voice development? (2) In what ways might visual voice manifest itself in a student’s artwork? (3) How might a student’s personal life experience and emotions play a role in helping develop voice in his/her artworks? Primary data sources for this study included reflective journals, visual/verbal journals, engagement surveys, student artwork critiques and interviews with open-ended questions and supporting data from observation and images of artworks produced. Analysis of this data revealed that when dialogical approaches were successfully integrated into the AP Studio Art class, students were aided in developing their visual voices in the artworks that they produced. Based on the findings, the following conclusions were drawn: (1) Providing students with a curriculum that encouraged them to reflect on topics that are relevant to their lives and their individuality help foster voice development. (2) Personal life experiences and emotions played a vital role in helping students develop visual voice in their artwork. (3) The dialogical approaches employed in this study helped foster voice development and promoted visual literacy.