Creating, Thinking, Engaging, Connecting: Learner-centered Pedagogy Applied to a Large Undergraduate Art and Society Course

By Delane Ingalls Vanada.

Published by The International Journal of Arts Education

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In this paper, I blur the edges between quantitative and qualitative research through an arts-based investigation of pedagogy, praxis, and epistemological inquiries in a 200-student undergraduate art and society class. The need for developing creative and innovative educational practices within learner-centered college environments is also addressed. Informed by the author’s lived experiences as teacher, designer, artist, and researcher, the paper expands on frameworks that address critical pedagogy, epistemologies, and assessment, as well as belief systems and motivation of 21st century students. Emerging theory from the researcher’s mixed model comparative dissertation study is applied, conceptualizing a balance of creativity, critical thinking, and practical skills in relation to pedagogic practice. This paper reports on the effects of learner-centered instruction on students’ qualities of thinking and ideas about their learning at the undergraduate level, further expanding upon balanced intelligence frameworks. It is hypothesized that students’ qualities of thinking and engagement in arts classrooms—even very large classes—are enhanced when operationalized through inquiry, ambiguity, and meaningful connection-making. Focusing on lived experience and empirical data collection, a hermeneutical phenomenological research framework is initiated through inquiry, data collection, further inquiry, leading to deeper understanding and new ideas.

Keywords: Learner-centered, Humanities, Art and Society, Balanced Intelligence, Creativity, Critical Thinking, Practical Thinking, Dispositions, Engagement and Motivation, Large Classes, Arts-based Research, Mixed Model, 21st Century Skills, Active Learning, Ambiguity

The International Journal of Arts Education, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp.55-67. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 495.507KB).

Dr. Delane Ingalls Vanada

Assistant Professor of Art and Art Education, Art and Art History, Art and Architecture, University of North Carolina, Charlotte, NC, USA

Delane Ingalls Vanada received her Ph.D. from the University of Denver, researching quality and balanced thinking in arts classrooms. She is a professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, U.S.A., teaching graduate and undergraduate Art Education candidates and a large ‘Art & Scoeity’ humanities course. Dr. De has extensive experience as a PreK–20 teacher and administrator in public, private, and choice-based schools, overlapping with her fashion design, illustration and painting career. Delane’s M.Ed. is from Lesley University in the Arts in Learning. Her research interests are in the areas of creative, critical, and practical skills and dispositions (quality thinking), environments and pedagogies that foster excellent, balanced, and self-directed thinking in students, and the role of the arts in fostering student capacity for success in life and learning.