Volume 20 Number 11 May 31, 2019

Where are They Now? Graduates of an Arts Integration Elementary School Reflect on Art, School, Self and Others

Jamie Simpson Steele
University of Hawaii at Mānoa, USA

Citation: Simpson Steele, J. (2019). Where are they now? Graduates of an arts integration elementary school reflect on art, school, self and others. International Journal of Education & the Arts, 20(11). Retrieved from http://doi.org/10.26209/ijea20n11/


How do high school students experience art, school, self and others after graduating from an arts integrated elementary school? This exploratory case study employs elements of narrative inquiry to detail the experiences of six students who graduated from one arts integrated elementary school. Participants expand and revise their perceptions of non-cognitive factors featured in an earlier study that took place when they were in junior high (Simpson Steele, 2017). Four years later, these students explored what they remembered about their arts integrated learning experiences and how they connected those experiences with their present interests, choices, and dispositions. Patterns converged around the participants' ongoing interest in the arts, including engagement in arts ensembles and development of artistic sensibilities. They expressed a value for school and for teachers who provided them with variety of methods and materials. Finally, participants attributed social skills (such as confidence, community, and communication) to their early experiences in an arts integrated school. The study concludes with three big questions: What is the effect of early learning through arts integration on adult engagements with the arts? How does arts integration influence students' mindsets or attitudes about school? How does the interaction between confidence, community and communication in the context of schoolwide arts integration influence learning?

Visual Abstract

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