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Application of Visual Art Standards and Obstacles Facing Visual Arts Teachers in Independent Schools
Much of the research available on the topic of changing standards in education is clear on one point: people do not like to change. As a result, teachers—who are, of course, people—also dislike changing the ways that they teach in the classroom. As the researchers investigated further the literature on teacher change, the sentiment that was found to be expressed repeatedly is the sentiment that teachers do not change; that change hurts and that is why people do not change, and that teachers are recalcitrant (e.g., Duffy & Roehler, 1986; Fullan, 1991). The literature suggests that teachers resist doing whatever is being proposed because they want to cling to their old ways. Change makes people feel uncomfortable (Richardson 1998).
The education in Qatar is moving fast and the reform cycle is expanding , standards were applied back at 2007 at first teachers were rejecting these standards and it was hard to apply them due to the standards’ vague language and the huge load of work that came along with it, now after seven years of applying national standards teachers are working in ease with these standards, managed to accept change and apply standards after many workshops and practices that helped them mastering standards and feeling the importance of it, but what came new is putting standards for Visual Arts this subject that was absent from the schools’ time table for 5 years which caused a gap in Visual Arts education and knowledge for current students.Review of Related Literature
Academic standards are public statements about what students should know and be able to do. Standards describe the goals of schooling, the destinations at which students should arrive at the end of the unit or term (“What Are Academic Standards?,” n.d, para. 1). Standards ensure better accountability – holding teachers and schools responsible for what goes on in the classrooms. The practice of aligning learning to standards also helps ensure that a higher level of learning is attained, guides teachers in the process of assessment and helps keep them on track.
Standards-based instruction helps guide the planning, implementation, and assessment of student learning. The use of standards to streamline instruction ensures that teaching practices deliberately focus on agreed upon learning targets. Expectations for student learning are mapped out with each prescribed standard.
The topic of resisting change and refusing standards has been addressed in many studies covered the reason behind this resisting. One study by Virginia Richardson talked about “How Teachers Change” (1998) it described the problem of facing change in schools, reason caused these problems and pointed out the teachers’ vision about change and how teachers deal with this change. She mentioned “change hurts” term and from point of view this I felt among my colleagues when the Art subject was changed and standards were forced into it.
One of the problems that is commonly associated with the implementation of standards on teachers who have already been established in their particular institutions is that these standards often are used to encourage students to perform well on different exams (Wexler, 2014). While testing well is an important ability for students, the visual arts do not necessarily lend themselves well to testing; Wexler (2014) writes, in response to the new standards that have been implemented in the United States, “as the common core state standards become reality, teachers have reason for concern. In this article the author outlines the roots of what has been called the corporate reform in education and its effects on the arts, poverty, and disabilities Teachers’ autonomy and intellectual freedom to craft their own curriculum, tests, and assessments are relinquished to the ‘experts’ and testing companies such as Pearson reform has consequently marginalized the arts and exacerbated the inequities of poverty and disabilities. These populations flourish when engaged in autonomous acts of discovery, experimentation, and hypothetical thinking, all antithetical to the new reform. Rather, passive submission to expository teaching is an inevitability of teaching to the test” (Wexler, 2014). If Wexler (2014) is correct, this is a harsh indictment of the process of setting forth standards for testing; it requires much of teachers, and takes the freedom that they previously had from them.
Implementing standards is particularly difficult in the visual arts, because the visual arts are subjective in many ways. Mui (2010) suggests that in the western world, art has taken a turn for the independent and self-driven; as a result, standards and the implementation of standards in visual art make little sense in terms of pedagogy and structure of the classroom.
Another piece of research, entitled “Resisting Educational Standards” by David Labaree (2000) focuses on why standards are important for schools. Labaree (2000) suggests that the resistance to change in terms of standards in schools is not the resistance to the idea of standards, but resistance to the idea of allowing a larger body to come in and take control of schools, particularly insofar as schools have commonly been controlled locally (Labaree, 2000). He also suggests that there is a very real fear that allowing outsiders to control schools will result in a school system where form is valued over substance (Labaree, 2000). Labaree (2000) notes that there are indeed conflicting goals for education, and these conflicting goals must be weighed carefully before standards are implemented for a particular school, class, or society at large. The Harvard Business Review, in an article entitled “Choosing Strategies for Change,” (2008) addresses perfect and clear strategies to apply change in workplace by diagnosing resistance, dealing with resistance and then choose a strategy that fits to end the resistance. Methods and Procedures
Identifying the problem
Visual Arts teachers are confused with the standards SEC provided them for Visual Arts subject. Now Visual Arts teachers are suffering what other teachers suffered seven years ago “Change”, and not only change it is chaos. Visual Arts teachers are facing change, new standards and students with no or poor Visual Arts education.
Lots of teachers are feeling lost, uncomfortable and not able to apply standards properly and refuse to use standards. The problem can be addressed in the following points:
The absence of Visual Arts subject which caused a in the students’ Visual Art education poor skills and shallow knowledge.
Visual Arts teachers resistance to standards concept in their subject due to the load of work and process.
Refusing standards prevented teachers from focusing on the standards’ goal and strategies which caused confusion in applying standards.
This research covers Visual Arts teachers at SEC schools.
Action Research Question
How can we manage to assist Visual Arts teachers to accept change and believe in the role of standards in improving the students’ education process?
The research will also address the following questions:
How effective these standards to the students’ learning?
Did SEC involve teachers in putting the standards?
How serious some schools takes the VA standards implementation?
Do competitive thinking helps in implementing standards?
How do administration helps teachers to improve their standards implementation ?
Do negative attitude from teachers affects the implementation of VA standards?
The researchers have applied survey and personal meeting with Visual Arts teachers to collect data for this research. The survey paper contains several questions regarding whether Visual Arts teachers are familiar to standards and whether they find these standards useful in teaching Visual Arts (Appendix 1). In the interviews more personal thoughts and experiences will be addressed (Appendix 2). The vehicle for this data collection was the online survey source Survey Monkey.Ethical considerations
Because this was a primarily survey-based questionnaire, there were fewer ethical considerations than there might otherwise have been; however, there were some things to keep in mind. Although the researchers allowed the participants in the survey to remain anonymous, the survey still tracked their email address when they began to take the survey; this information was kept secret and was not shared. Although nothing in the survey could be considered particularly dangerous or noteworthy for any of the individuals who took the survey, it is still good practice to ensure that an anonymous survey remains anonymous. For this reason, all of the results have been displayed and analyzed as anonymous.Results and Findings
Perhaps the most interesting results that were obtained in the course of this survey are the results that demonstrate just how poorly understood the visual arts standards in Qatar are. Of the respondents in the survey, most were primary school teachers; 79.31 % of respondents—23 individuals total—were primary school teachers. Ten percent of respondents—3 individuals—were preparatory school teachers, while two individuals were secondary school teachers and one a primary-preparatory teacher (See Appendix 3 for full results).
However, of these teachers who were surveyed in the process, there was some confusion about the nature and implementation of the visual arts standards. Approximately 48% of the teachers surveyed said that they were aware of the visual arts standards as they existed, but 45% of respondents also noted that they disagree with the statement “I find Visual Art standards clear.” Indeed, 25 of the 39 respondents responded either “disagree” or “strongly disagree” to the statement “I find these standards important in teaching Visual Arts.” Clearly, respondents do not feel as though they must or even should implement the standards for Visual Arts; why these standards are considered so useless is a discussion that should be investigated further.
Indeed, on all of the questions the respondents overwhelmingly responded that the Visual Arts standards were less than helpful for them; they heavily disagreed with the sentiment that the Visual Arts standards facilitated lesson planning, and similarly, the results for the ease of implementation for the Visual Arts standards indicated that the Visual Arts standards are highly problematic for teachers in Qatar.
Perhaps most notably, the results indicate that this group of teachers disagrees wholeheartedly with the idea that these Visual Arts standards help to facilitate student learning. Overall, 22 respondents said that they disagreed with the statement that these standards were helpful for students. If teachers disagree that the standards are helpful for students, then it stands to reason that there should be a discussion about the nature of the standards and whether they are a good fit for the school system as a whole.
The timeline for this research will be from October to December of 2014. The researcher attended classes and then provided the survey to the instructors within the school to take at their leisure. Because the survey was online, the instructors could take in whenever they wanted to.Conclusion
There are many problems with the implementation of standards in the Visual Arts curriculum in Qatar. The instructors in this system do not seem to like or appreciate these standards; although they are aware of them, they feel as though the administration of their schools does not adequately prepare them to implement these standards. They also feel as though these standards do detriment to children in the system. As a result, the only conclusion that can be drawn from these results is the conclusion that the Visual Arts standards, as they exist, are inefficient and ineffective. If they were to be rewritten with the input of the teachers and instructors that must implement them, then the standards may end up being more efficient and effective in the classroom. As they stand, however, instructors tend to ignore them.
At the very least, the researchers are recommending a review of the current Visual Arts standards that are in place. These standards should be evaluated for efficacy and efficiency, with input from the instructors who will need to implement these policies. The standards should probably be re-written completely to take into account the numerous changes in policies that have occurred since they were written, and to take into account the experience of the instructors that are responsible for actually teaching the students.
Implementing Visual Arts Standards survey
1. I teach Visual Arts for the level of أنا اعلم مادة التربية البصرية للمرحلة
primary-preparatory ابتدائي اعدادي
preparatory-secondary اعدادي ثانوي
2. I viewed the Visual Arts Standards and i am fully aware of it اطلعت على معايير التربية البصرية وانا على دراية تامة بها
3. I find Visual Art standards clear اجد أن معايير التربية البصرية واضحة ومفهومة
4. I find these standards important in teaching Visual Arts أجد هذه المعايير مهمة في تدريس مادة التربية البصرية
5. The standards are comprehensive and covers all aspects of Visual Art materials المعايير شاملة وتغطي جميع جوانب مادة التربية البصرية
6. I received sufficient training qualifies me to apply the standards to the fullest تلقيت تدريبا كافيا يؤهلني لان أطبق المعايير على أتم وجه
7. I find Visual Art Standards are easy to implement اجد معايير التربية البصرية سهلة التطبيق
8. Visual Atr standards facilited lesson planning ارى ان معايير التربية البصرية سهلت عملية تحضير الدروس
strongly agree موافق بشدة
can't decide لا أعلم
disagree غير موافق
strongly disagree غير موافق بشدة
9. I find the Visual Arts standards helps in improving student's learning اجد ان معايير التربية البصرية تساعد في تحسين التعلم عند الطالب
10. your opinion about Visual Art Standards ما رأيك في معايير التربية البصرية
أسئلة المقابلة الشخصية عن تطبيق معايير التربية البصرية
Personal interview questionnaire about the Visual Art Standards implementation
عدد سنوات الخبرة في تدريس مادة التربية البصرية ؟ Years of experience in teaching Visual Arts?
ما هي أهمية وجود معايير لمادة التربية البصرية؟ What is the importance of having standards for visual arts?
هل تتقبلين فكرة تطبيق المعايير؟ ولماذا؟ Do you accept the idea of standards implementation? Why?
هل تجدين معايير التربية البصرية سهلة التطبيق ؟Do you find these standards easy to implement ?
كم كانت فترة التدريب على تطبيق المعايير وهل كانت كافية ؟ How long was the training program for standards implementation and was it enough ?
الى اي مدى كانت استفادتك من برنامج التدريب في تطبيق المعايير To how extent you benefited from the training program in implementing these standards?
ما مدى شمولية المعايير في تغطية جميع جوانب مادة التربية البصرية؟ How comprehensive is these standards in covering all Visual Arts aspects?
من وجهة نظرك ما هي نقاط القوة والضعف في المعايير From your own perspective what are the strength and weakness points of these standards ?
هل يمكن للمعلم أن يشترك في وضع المعايير؟ Can teacher involve in putting these standards?
لو خول لك وضع معايير التربية البصرية ماهي اهم النقاط التي ستحرص على وجودها ؟ If you had the chance to participate in putting these standards what are most important points that will be keen to put?
وكيف ستكون آليتك في توصيل هذه النقاط لمعلمي التربية البصرية؟ How will your state in the delivering of these points to the teachers?
ماهي عوائق تطبيق معايير التربية البصرية في نظرك؟ In your opinion what are the Obstacles in implementing these standards?
ماهي مقترحاتك لجعل تطبيق معايير التربية البصرية اسهل وافضل ؟What are your recommendations to make the implementation of these standards easier ?
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Cannon, D. (1984). Excellence in Visual Arts Programs. Design For Arts In Education, 85(4), 43-45. doi:10.1080/07320973.1984.9940143
Delacruz, E. (2013). Four Decades of Emerging Scholarship in Visual Arts Education. Visual Arts Research, 39(2), v-vii. doi:10.5406/visuartsrese.39.2.v
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Importance of Standards Based Instruction. (n.d.). Professional Learning Board Website. Retrieved from https://k12teacherstaffdevelopment.com/tlb/importance-of-a-standards-based-instruction/
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Richardson, V. (1998). How Teachers Change. What Will Lead to Change That Most Benefits Student Learning?, 2(C). Retrieved October 24, 2014, from http://www.ncsall.net/index.html@id=395.html
Surveymonkey.com,. (2014). Implementing Visual Arts Standards Survey. Retrieved 22 December 2014, from https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/GZNMS9F
Wexler, A. (2014). Reaching Higher? The Impact of the Common Core State Standards on the Visual Arts, Poverty, and Disabilities. Arts Education Policy Review, 115(2), 52-61. doi:10.1080/10632913.2014.883897
What are academic standards?. (n.d.). Educational Broadcasting Corporation Website. Retrieved from http://www.thirteen.org/edonline/concept2class/standards/index.html
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