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Deciding what to teach in visual art lesson: what factors do teachers consider when lesson-planning for the intermediate in Western Cape schools
Cherenack, Genoveva Eilika
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This thesis investigates the factors, specifically the constraints, that influence the choices intermediate phase teachers make when planning visual art lessons. The study is also concerned with how teachers deal with factors that they identify as constraints to teaching visual art. The study is framed within an interpretive framework and the work on teacher knowledge by Shulman (1986; 1987). Semi-structured interviews were conducted with four class teachers, three Arts and Culture teachers, and four visual art teachers using a phenomenological methodology. Interviews were analysed systematically by indexing and organizing the data using the knowledge base for teaching as described by Shulman (1987) and Turner-Bisset (1999).<p></p> The patterns in what teachers consider when planning visual art lessons, and their reasons for doing so, was better explained by a teacher’s training in visual art education rather than his/her role as a class, Arts and Culture, or visual art teacher. In this study, the teachers who are trained in visual art education generally work in situations with few contextual problems and their focus, when lesson-planning, centres around the best way visual art content knowledge can be integrated into lessons. In comparison, most of the teachers who are not trained in visual art education mentioned numerous contextual problems that affected their ability to teach visual art. These teachers plan their visual art lessons around what they believe they are able to manage within the context of the school they are working in, rather than specific visual art related outcomes. In addition, their lesson-planning decisions are generally based on limited visual art content knowledge and pedagogy. Hence, compared to teachers trained to teach visual art, their application of visual art content knowledge is haphazard and does not build on the foundation of the curriculum.<p></p> Limited contact time and support from management are two contextual factors that were found to impact the way teachers in this study plan visual art lessons. To mitigate for the lack of contact time, the teachers trained in visual art education endeavoured to manage their lesson time efficiently and to setup clear routines with their learners so as to minimize the amount of time spent on non-learning activities.