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Date of Award


Access Type

Campus Access

Document type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


First Advisor

Linda Griffin

Second Advisor

Martha Taunton

Third Advisor

Marjorie Magouirk-Colbert

Subject Categories

Art Education | Educational Psychology | Secondary Education and Teaching


This collective case study examined students' beliefs and perceptions regarding art education and investigated factors that influence and shape students' art attitudes and their intrinsic valuing of art. The main focus of this investigation was centered on students' voice regarding art education and on the conceptions students hold about the value and significance of art. A phenomenographic orientation guided this research. The study was based on classroom observations, interviews and critiques with 12 highs school art students taking elective art courses. The analysis of data involved a constant comparative method to develop categories and themes. Three major themes were developed to explain and describe the results of this study. 1) Art Attitudes--explored students' beliefs and conceptions about art. A working definition of "art attitude" was developed to serve as a steppingstone in this inquiry. The ABC model, focusing on affective, behavioral, and cognitive modes, was employed to organize data. Students' emotional responses, actions and verbal indications of behavioral tendencies and cognitive evaluations of artistic experiences described their art attitudes. 2) Inspiring Mechanisms--investigated various influences exerting a positive impact on attitude formation. This section was organized into four categories: Introspections, Art Valuing, Consequential Art Experiences, and Family Zone. 3) Inhibiting Mechanisms--examined the negative forces that affect students' art attitudes and their valuation of art. This section was organized into two categories: Disengagement and Creative Trepidations. Study results suggest that the process of attitude formation involves a collection of determinants. Some of them promote increasingly positive attitudes: positive personal experiences, meaningful learning, engagement, self-esteem and nurturing family environment. While other determinants, such as anxiety, boredom, and poor self-perception exert a negative influence. Inspiring and inhibiting mechanisms exert impact on students' perceptions and beliefs about art and their self-concept as artists. These forces shape students' attitudes and affect how they feel, think and respond to artistic experiences. The attitudes that students form consequently determine their willingness or reluctance to expose themselves to new ideas and their eagerness or apathy to learn and experience more about art.