Art Education in New Zealand: Historical Antecedents and the Contemporary ContextReport as inadecuate

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Canadian Review of Art Education: Research and Issues, v36 p19-36 2009

Education is never a passive, autonomous, or static activity. It manipulates, as much as it is manipulated, and reflects specific contexts. Education histories document continuities and changes over time, and are able to throw light on and inform contemporary practice. Prompted by perspectives on curriculum as a social and cultural construction, together with Efland's (2004) identification of the principal visions of nineteenth and twentieth century art education in the United States, the author traces the historical antecedents of art education in New Zealand. The author points out that the development of art education in New Zealand from the 1840s to the 1990s was essentially a selection from the culture--the way of life, the kinds of knowledge, and the attitudes and values of society--of a particular time. The author discusses how the current policies and practices in art education reflect the economic, social, cultural and educational changes, including curriculum reforms, promulgated in New Zealand by successive governments during the 1980s and 90s.

Descriptors: Art Education, Foreign Countries, Educational Change, Educational History, Cultural Influences, Social Influences, Educational Policy, Economic Factors, Government Role, Curriculum Development, Public Schools, Indigenous Populations, Acculturation

Canadian Society for Education through Art. Faculty of Education, Lakehead University, 955 Oliver Road, Thunder Bay, ON P7B 5E1, Canada. Tel: 807-684-0772; Web site:

Author: Smith, Jill


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