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Perceptions of learning within the writers-in-Schools scheme
O'Hanlon, Jane
“To let my imagination grab my pen” Background: The study arose out of the interplay between the cuts to funding in education and the arts and their implications for arts-in-education policy over the last eight years. Purpose/Focus of Study: The study sought to discover the nature of arts learning in the second-level classroom and whether arts learning can support learning in the high-stakes environment. It sought to identify students’, teachers’ and artist–writers’ perceptions of students’ learning from participation in the Writers-in-Schools Scheme (WISS) which the researcher developed over 16 years in her capacity as education officer with Poetry Ireland. The research focuses on (1) the learning that students, teachers and artist–writers perceive takes place for students through their participation in the WISS; (2) whether these perceptions converge; (3) whether, and if so, what, distinctive modes of arts learning are associated with the WISS; and (4) whether these modes of arts learning and the affordances they offer can be integrated and embedded into the standard second-level curriculum. Design: The study offers a conceptual framework that draws on educational and aesthetic theories of learning, combined with the results of four second-level case studies. Employing a grounded theory approach, this qualitative, three-phase study took place between January 2013 and May 2015. Participants included 91, mainly senior-cycle students, four teachers and four artist–writers. Findings: (1) Students, teachers and artist–writers recognise that programmes delivered by well-prepared artist–writers, collaborating with teachers who scaffold the learning, contribute to the development of students’ confidence, specifically “the confidence of the imagination”, as evidenced by their reported self-efficacy in developing writing strategies and techniques. (2) All three groups perceived arts learning as contributing to students’ selfefficacy, with students, in particular, citing the significance of the collaborative structure found in the workshop/studio learning environment. (3) Students’ also reported gains in art form learning and creation, collaboration, expression/performance/presentation were reported to be distinctive modes of learning through the arts. (4) The findings suggest that arts learning can offer unique and enriching modes of engagement and transferrable learning strategies and skills across the curriculum at second-level. Conclusions: The study suggests that arts learning offers distinct modes of learning. These modes can enrich the curriculum, particularly where access to aesthetic and expressive modes of learning may otherwise be restricted. It also illustrates the necessity for continual professional development for teachers and artist–writers around arts literacy, arts learning and the curriculum, and the development of classroom-based artist/teacher partnerships.
Keyword(s): Education; perception; learning; arts learning; curriculum; second-level; collaborative learning; self-efficacy; group work; WISS
Publication Date:
Type: Other
Peer-Reviewed: Unknown
Language(s): English
Contributor(s): Shine Thompson, Mary; O'Leary, Michael
Institution: Dublin City University
Citation(s): O'Hanlon, Jane (2017) Perceptions of learning within the writers-in-Schools scheme. PhD thesis, Dublin City University.
Publisher(s): Dublin City University. Institute of Education
File Format(s): application/pdf
Related Link(s):,
First Indexed: 2017-11-30 06:05:45 Last Updated: 2019-11-26 06:10:22