Volume 18 Number 13 April 7, 2017

Making Visual Arts Learning Visible in a Generalist Elementary School Classroom

Susan Wright
The University of Melbourne, Australia

Marnee Watkins
The University of Melbourne, Australia

Gina Grant
The University of Melbourne, Australia

Citation: Wright, S., Watkins, M., & Grant, G. (2017). Making visual arts learning visible in a generalist elementary school classroom. International Journal of Education & the Arts, 18(13). Retrieved from http://www.ijea.org/v18n13/.


This article presents the story of one elementary school teacher’s shift in art praxis through her involvement in a research project aimed at facilitating participatory arts-based communities of practice. Qualitative methods and social constructivism informed Professional Learning Interventions (PLIs) involving: (1) a visual arts workshop, (2) facilitations with academics within the teacher’s classroom context, and (3) semi-structured discussions to study and curate the teacher’s lived experiences. A teacher-facilitator-interviewer triad co-researched the meaning of ‘quality’ in relation to: Learning, Pedagogy, Environment, and Community Dynamics (L-PEC). Adapted from Seidel et. al (2009) L-PEC was a theoretical lens to guide inquiry and action specific to the teacher’s (i.e., Ali’s) classroom. Ali’s evolving praxis served as a source of inspiration for the other Grade 3-4 teachers in her school who formed their own community of practice to support student learning through the visual arts.

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…