Volume 17 Number 2 March 10, 2016

Understanding “the Other” through Art: Fostering Narrative Imagination in Elementary Students

Jeong-Hee Kim
Texas Tech University, USA

Anna Wiehe-Beck
Sherwood High School, USA

Citation: Kim, J., & Wiehe-Beck, A. (2016). Understanding “the Other” through art: Fostering narrative imagination in elementary students. International Journal of Education & the Arts, 17(2). Retrieved from http://www.ijea.org/v17n2/.


Teachers in many countries live the language of standards although it is confined to uniformity and standardization. In the United States, for example, teachers teach to what is now called the Common Core State Standards that focus on students’ college and career readiness while falling short of developing good judgment and wisdom. In this article, drawing upon Nussbaum’s notion of narrative imagination, we address the following research question: How do we foster narrative imagination in elementary students in the midst of the external demands to meet standards? This research is conducted as “grounded practice” between a teacher educator and an elementary art teacher, who collaboratively created an integrated art curriculum unit, called Storytelling/Mural Painting Project, involving 68 fifth grade students, three storytellers from the local community, and three classroom teachers. Based on our findings, we suggest a model for rethinking education in the age of standards.

Visual Abstract

This article is available in PDF format.


The International Journal of Education & the Arts currently serves as an open access platform for scholarly dialogue. Our commitment is to the highest forms of scholarship invested in the significances of the arts in education and the education within the arts. Read more about our mission…


IJEA holds strong commitment to research in interdisciplinary arts education. Our editors are respected scholars from different arts fields working together to achieve our high standard. Read more about editors…