Date of Award

2-2010

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Degree Program

Education (also CAGS)

First Advisor

Ernest D. Washington

Second Advisor

Grace J. Craig

Third Advisor

Jose N. Ornelas

Subject Categories

Education

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to explore, describe and examine how early childhood teachers utilize and integrate the arts (music, drama, and visual arts) in teaching children ages 3 to 5. It also examined the formal and informal arts education background of early childhood teachers, the relationship between teacher training and educational practice and the role it plays in teachers’ use of music, drama and visual arts in their curriculum. Data was collected through the use of the Arts Integration Questionnaire (AIQ) and by observations, Arts Integration observation Protocol (AIOP). A total of 91 early childhood teachers completed the questionnaire; it included background information as well as general aspects of teacher’s knowledge about the arts, an exploration of the use of the arts in their classrooms, and an exploration of arts integration with other academic subjects. From those participants, 20 teachers were randomly selected to participate in the observations. The results of the study indicated that the majority of teachers have received formal and informal training in music, followed closely by visual arts, and very little in drama. Overall teachers were found to use music more than visual arts and drama in their classrooms; more time is spend on musical activities than in any other form. Again teachers preferred music because they considered it to be more beneficial than drama and the visual arts. This study revealed an array of reasoning behind the arts use in the classroom including addressing different learning styles, students’ preference, and stimulating students’ creativity. There was no statistical significant difference between a teacher’s background training and experience and their use of music and drama into their early childhood classroom. In the case of visual arts there is a statistical significant difference meaning that teachers need training and experience to help them develop an understanding of the visual arts. And finally teachers do integrate the arts with other academic subjects with the purpose of developing skills, explore roles, and to asses learning and understanding of concepts. Recommendations for professional development, teacher education, and further research are discussed.

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