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Arts subjects in two Scandinavian primary schools: Aspects of inclusion and special education from a life world phenomenological perspective
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Arts, Communication and Education, Music and dance.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9266-786X
2015 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper will present a part study of a research project, which explores arts education practices in two primary schools, one in Sweden and one in Norway. The large study aims to systematically examine how education in the arts subjects is carried out in the schools, and how the actors perceive, articulate and legitimate the educational practices in the arts subjects. The study was designed as an ethnographic double case study. This allowed for practical variations in the data collection process; while keeping the same object in view, i.e. the description of the schools and the arts education practices, the researchers could go about it differently to adjust to the daily life at each school. The schools were strategically selected based on the following criteria: They should be primary schools (including pupils age 6-13) with a clearly articulated commitment to the arts subjects. Two schools were selected: “Bayview” school in Norway (grades 1-7) and “Parkside” school in Sweden (grades F-6). In both schools, the subjects of music and arts and crafts for the 10-11-year-olds were selected as locus of the study.The methods selected for data collection were observation, individual interviews with teachers and school leaders, group interviews with pupils and teachers, and informal conversations with teachers, pupils, and school leaders, as well as the schools’ local policy and strategy documents. Data was collected during the school year 2013-2014. In addition, artefacts from the arts and crafts lessons were documented. We concentrated on activities in the music and arts and crafts classes, but also included interdisciplinary arts education activities, as well as incidents in everyday school life and community-directed activities. The retrieval of informed consent and the collection of data were carried out in accordance with Swedish and Norwegian official guidelines for research ethics, and have been recommended by the Norwegian Data Protection Official. In the first overarching analysis of the material regarding educational philosophies, aspects of inclusion and special needs showed to be crucial. Ideas related to special education were influenced how arts education was performed and how arts activities were offered and motivated. The schools’ holistic approach to arts education clearly implied an idea of inclusion: the arts are for all pupils. The concept of inclusion in schools is related to the concepts of integration and participation, and it was evident that these concepts impacted arts education in several ways: Both schools recognized that pupils communicate in different ways, and that the traditions of verbal expression associated with formal education do not suit all pupils. It was therefore considered essential in both schools to allow for various media of expression. Furthermore, all of the pupils were expected to participate and be involved. The concepts of integration and participation can thus be contradictory: Individual involvement in aesthetic learning processes - characterized by access, ownership, and belonging - may require small groups of pupils, explicit content and goals in the syllabuses for the current grade, and individual facilitation. Finally, the schools organize special arts activities for pupils with special needs, which imply an almost therapeutic view of arts education. To be able to grasp and explore the holistic holdings towards arts, education and inclusion, life-world-phenomenology, not at least based on the thoughts of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, could be functional and helpful.The paper will include a deeper analysis of the collected material from an inclusive and special needs perspective, where the philosophy of life-world-phenomenology will be used to illuminate relations between human beings, special needs, inclusion, and compulsory arts education.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015.
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Music Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-27598Local ID: 1174cb0e-72ba-414a-9de2-f67df0d4f526OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-27598DiVA, id: diva2:1000785
Conference
NNMPF : Activism and music education 03/03/2015 - 06/03/2015
Note
Godkänd; 2015; 20150109 (cefe)Available from: 2016-09-30 Created: 2016-09-30 Last updated: 2017-11-25Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Citation style
  • apa
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  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
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More styles
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