Facilitating creative arts teaching and learning with Foundation Phase Teachers : a subject advisor's self-study.
Chiliza, Hypesia Zamile.
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The purpose of my self-study research was to explore how I as a Department of Basic Education subject advisor could better support Foundation Phase teachers in creative arts teaching and learning. I was concerned because, when visiting schools as one of my core duties as a Foundation Phase subject advisor, I perceived that creative arts did not seem to be given the attention it deserved. I began to question whether I was giving enough attention to creative arts when conducting workshops with Foundation Phase teachers. A socio-cultural theoretical perspective guided me in understanding that collaborative, inclusive support for creative arts teaching and learning could result in the development of competent and confident teachers of creative arts. I was the main participant in the study. The other participants were six Foundation Phase teachers. I also worked with critical friends (two of my fellow Master’s students and a lecturer). My two key research questions were: 1. What can I learn about creative arts teaching and learning through memory-work? 2. How can I better facilitate creative arts teaching and learning with Foundation Phase teachers? In generating data in response to these questions, I employed the research practices of: artefact retrieval; collage making; memory-drawing; journal writing; audio recorded group discussions; and taking photographs. I used the creative research practices of personal metaphors and self-portrait drawing to facilitate my meaning making. Memory-work self-study assisted me in remembering my lived experiences in relation to informal and formal learning and teaching of creative arts. From this, I realised that, in my facilitation of creative arts teaching and learning, I should pay attention to art forms from diverse cultural heritages, as well as to child initiated activities. In working with the teachers, I learned that creative arts workshops must be participatory, with sufficient time and materials to engage in active learning. Teachers must also be given opportunities to share their thinking and their teaching approaches. Three recommendations emerged as key to improving facilitation of creative arts with Foundation Phase teachers: (a) support for subject advisors; (b) more support for cluster meetings; and (c) participatory and practical workshops for teachers. My most important learning from the selfstudy research was that, although I am a subject advisor, the Foundation Phase teachers were able to enrich my professional learning; thus, if I want to grow professionally, I must be willing to accept other people’s criticisms.