"…if people had maybe a little bit more training in the creative arts, you’d probably see it a bit more."
- Research participant during our interview
When I look at this final chapter now, I am stunned at how short it is and how under developed it is. I can only presume that when I began the proof-reading and editing process that I was unable to find sufficient sections of text to remove in the previous chapters that would allow me to add significantly to the Conclusion to make it worthwhile losing that prior text. I was, quite fairly , given constructive feedback around that specific point. This is clearly the weakest chapter in my mind because I touch on a few areas but do not sufficiently unpack and discuss them and their ramifications within the context of a conclusion chapter.
If you have managed to read through the three preceding chapters in full, you will find this one, comparatively, over in the blink of an eye.
Chapter IV – Conclusion
The preceding analysis has examined the discursively constructed subject positions of pre-service teachers’ vis-à-vis art education and the perceived barriers to the implementation of art education in pedagogical practice. The utilisation of post-structuralism as a theoretical lens has enabled me to question the ‘taken for granted’ assumptions and beliefs about art education including the ‘value-less’ nature of art education and potentialities for the divergence between understanding and practice in relation to the art education, and to unmask possible explanations for the divergence between the beneficence of art education, and the apparent lack of implementation of art education within teachers’ pedagogical practice. Specifically, the research has examined the dominant ‘value,’ ‘family, ‘ITE’ and ‘pedagogy’ discourses that emerged from the data and sought to put forth a nuanced interpretation through an examination of their interrelationship with each other.
I remind the reader that my findings should not be taken be taken to be ‘truths.’ My findings are a result of the subject positions inhabited by the student researcher, through the exploration of emergent discourses hinting at potentialities of reason. As with any research project, the findings themselves are indicative of questions or avenues for further research.
My reading of the data shows that the three participants, though having undertaken the ITE program together, have each negotiated their way through the many conflicting discourses in different ways as a result of the discursively constructed subject positions held prior to the ITE program, and accordingly, came to interpret similar discourses in different ways, and thus take-up different subject positions. The participants all demonstrated their occupation of conflicting subject positions vis-à-vis the ‘value’ discourse, as well as repeating the need for more ‘time’ for art education and arts pedagogical training within the ITE program.
By using a post-structuralist lens, I was able to examine the multifaceted nature of the ‘value’ discourse as it affected the take-up of the ‘family,’ ITE,’ and ‘pedagogy’ discourses and their related to the implementation of art education in the participants’ pedagogical practice. This study also highlights the dissatisfaction with the level of art education and arts pedagogical training currently being delivered within ITE programs, and the impact that this has on subsequent pedagogical practice.
I acknowledge limitations relating to generalisation. Due to the time-constraints inherent with an Honours-level research project, only a limited sample-size of the subject population could be utilised, and I therefore do not seek to make generalisations of the findings across the subject population. Additionally, I believe that given the findings, a possible future study regarding subject positions vis-à-vis ITE programs and art education could shed further light on the divergence between the understood benefits of art education and art education in pedagogical practice. Further, through a study that examined the ‘value’ of the individual art strands of dance, drama, visual arts, media arts and music with each other and with the current mandatory KLAs may open up discursive possibilities within ITE programs vis-à-vis art education.
I will not be posting the full list of references in this article as they are freely available in the pdf version of my dissertation which can be found here. I would welcome any genuine constructive feedback you have to offer.
As always, thank you for reading.