Meeting Phenomenon-Based Learning : Insights from Art Education

University essay from Konstfack/IBIS - Institutionen för bild- och slöjdpedagogik

Abstract: The most recent Finnish national curriculum for basic education was implemented starting from 2016. The curriculum calls for the development of learners’ transversal competences, which are built on the broader discourse on 21st century skills and challenges. Phenomenon-based learning, as a multidisciplinary approach, was formulated to address the new Finnish curriculum, in order to help regular subject teaching to tackle the transversal competences. As an artist, art educator and researcher, my interest was directed towards the understanding of phenomenon-based learning from an art-educational perspective. Therefore, this study brings insights from art education to phenomenon-based learning, in order to open a discussion on the following questions: where do art education and phenomenon-based learning meet? And following, how could teachers and learners benefit from this encounter? A post-structuralist view on art education forms the researcher’s perspective within the study. Methodologically, a post-structural positioning was also taken, relying on the a/r/tographical approach. A/r/tography is a performative arts-based research methodology that recognizes the complexity of situations and articulates in-between them. An arts-based workshop worked as a platform for exploration. Framed within a phenomenon-based project, the workshop was conducted in collaboration with a class of 6th graders and their teacher, in the City of Espoo, Finland. The a/r/tographical toolkit, built on visual and performative ethnography, worked alongside workshopping as methods of data collection and being with the material. The collected data include: visual and written field notes, video recordings, audio recordings, a written questionnaire and a semi-structured interview. Performing the material through theory revealed that art education and phenomenon-based learning meet in the concepts of multidisciplinarity and engagement, through different entanglements. The study suggests that the encounter between art education and phenomenon-based learning could benefit teachers and learners in different ways. In addition, the situation experienced in this study holds some interesting challenges that leave space for further developments.

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