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Re-envisioning fear: the role of conversation in an arts classroom for prospective teachers

Stephanie A Baer, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


In this study, I am led as the artist, teacher, and researcher within the context of a course for prospective teachers, Arts in the Elementary Curriculum, to ask: How, when, where, and why does fear manifest itself in a pre-service arts classroom and how does that fear affect students' willingness to learn within the arts? In what ways can fear be interpreted to include a greater understanding of fear's roles and capacities within a learning/teaching context? This study works to envelop both author and reader in complicated curricular conversations (Pinar, 1995) reflecting on conversations from within an arts classroom. Through arts-based research practices, fear is examined and illustrated as holding potential for prospective teachers reclaiming creative capabilities. Through an approach utilizing interpretive traditions of aesthetic inquiry, hermeneutics, and a/r/tography, three main groups of fears emerged from 8 semesters of student and instructor documentation: Fears about time, fears of performing and being judged, and fears of a lack of creative abilities. Interpretive inquiry assumes that within the process of interpretation, each element, be it reader, text, meaning etc., cannot exist on its own. They all play an interdependent role in understanding lived experience. Rather than searching out "best practices" or "generalizability", interpretive work maintains the value of exploring specific contexts with careful description and interpretation of how its participants experience that context. Utilizing an arts-based approach to inquiry, I draw on Barone & Eisner's (1988) seven features of arts-based educational inquiry. The aesthetic forms that emerge become part of an ongoing conversation, building upon one another, creating a story that might illuminate for the reader the potential and value in fear.

Subject Area

Art education|Teacher education

Recommended Citation

Baer, Stephanie A, "Re-envisioning fear: the role of conversation in an arts classroom for prospective teachers" (2012). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3546320.