The imagined and lived experiences of novice Georgia elementary art educators as understood through the use of narrative inquiry
Canup, LaDonna Moore
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This qualitative study was conducted using a narrative inquiry approach to build upon research on mentoring and support for practicing art teachers. This research advances how we think about retention since teachers leaving the profession early pose a considerable burden to schools and students, and impact school effectiveness as a whole. In this study three beginning elementary art educators from Georgia share stories of their experiences lived during their first two years of teaching. Guided by the conceptual framework of Dewey’s (1934) theory of experiences and Greene’s (1986) discussion of social imagination, this study yields insight into the professional and personal experiences of beginning teachers by listening to their individual and combined voices. This study focused on the research questions: (1) What are the imagined and lived experiences of beginning art teachers? (a) What were the most striking similarities between beginning art teachers’ imagined experience and beginning art teachers’ actual experience? (b) What were the most striking differences between beginning art teachers’ imagined experience and beginning art teachers’ actual experience? (2) What support mechanisms were described to aid the new teachers who participated in this study? Data collection methods for this study included participant interviews, educator reflective journal entries, and researcher field observations. The findings from this study provide implications for those involved in pre-service teacher education, administration, and educational policy by informing significant ways to better understand beginning art educators’ first years in the classroom. This research will be beneficial in designing and implementing mentoring and induction programs targeted at better addressing the needs of in-service beginning art educators and helping to address issues of teacher attrition in order to build a strong foundation to support new educators and their unique needs.