Creative Pedagogies: Art-Full Reading and WritingReport as inadecuate

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English Teaching: Practice and Critique, v7 n1 p57-72 May 2008

This paper reports on a small-scale research inquiry, designed to support teachers in a Melbourne primary school to bring together the arts, reading and writing in their classrooms in ways that create possibilities for "art-full" teaching and learning. The principal, concerned by underperformance on State literacy tests of the school's largely working-class and NESB population, requested David Hornsby and other members of the project team from the Education Faculty at La Trobe University to offer whole-school professional development. The focus was on developing oral language as a foundation for literacy learning, enacting Britton's claim that "reading and writing float on a sea of talk". The project team introduced the teachers to a range of innovative classroom practices for using visual and performance arts, literature, music and crafts. Drawing on video, interviews and writing samples, a number of teachers worked collaboratively with the research team to develop case studies of individual students with a range of literacy aptitudes and social skills. A key research question was: "What do children take from their engagement in arts-based activities into reading of literary texts, and potentially into writing from the perspective of another character?" In this paper we ponder this from three vantage points: by outlining the informing principles in our research project; confirming insights from current interdisciplinary work about children learning to see, do, act and say in play; and analysing the research data from the initial phase. (Contains 1 footnote and 2 figures.)

Descriptors: Educational Research, Literacy Education, Foreign Countries, Elementary School Teachers, Art Education, Achievement Tests, Instructional Innovation, Teacher Collaboration, Interdisciplinary Approach, Art Activities, Teaching Methods

Wilf Malcolm Institute for Educational Research, University of Waikato. PB 3105, Hamilton, New Zealand. Tel: +64-7-858-5171; Fax: +64-7-838-4712; e-mail: wmier[at]; Web site:

Author: Grant, Audrey; Hutchinson, Kirsten; Hornsby, David; Brooke, Sarah


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