Painting a picture of change
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This qualitative study examined veteran art teachers’ perspectives of change with the recent implementation and increased emphases of Georgia’s state visual arts standards on their work with elementary level visual arts students. To understand art teachers’ perspectives on how their teaching had changed over time, data was constructed from interviews, field notes and documents such as lesson plans. Operating in a constructivist paradigm, I asked the following questions: How do teachers incorporate the state standards in their thinking and planning for art instruction? How do teachers incorporate assessment of state standards in their thinking and planning for art instruction? How do teachers describe how their teaching has changed over time with implementation of state standards? How do art teachers characterize accountability in their daily work? Findings were discussed through four themes connected to three teachers’ interwoven stories: art teachers building, art teachers surrendering, art teachers maintaining and art teachers evolving. To understand art teachers’ experiences with change, I examined the data within the perspective of John Dewey’s theory of experience. This study offered a deeper understanding of the impact of the national and state standards movements on art education. For policymakers, stakeholders, administrators, and educators, this research can be used to extract issues from the field in regard to planning for and teaching with state standards and implementing assessment strategies. Problematic issues in regard to art teachers’ experiences with standards and assessments are explored. This research may also invoke questions and discussions about the direction of educational reform and standards implementation.