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Title: Visual displays in elementary schools: more than just a pretty picture
Author: Martens, Sherry
Advisor: Panayotidis, E. Lisa
Keywords: Education--Art;Education--Curriculum and Instruction;Education--Elementary
Issue Date: 24-Jul-2012
Abstract: This dissertation is a hermeneutic inquiry into the meaning of visual displays in elementary schools. Specifically, I address the question of how visual displays have come to appear in our schools. I explore, through my conversations with three elementary teacher participants, the topic of visual displays. The inquiry explores historical, pedagogical, cultural and personal narratives through teacher identity that open up an understanding of the topic of visual displays in elementary schools. The inquiry also investigates the intersubjectivity of visual culture in education and how this relates to a tradition of images in schools. This dissertation draws upon the philosophical writings of Hans-Georg Gadamer and nineteenth-century social theorist John Ruskin to understand how the appearance of tradition, joy, beauty, and labor came to be associated with the existence of visual displays. I critically trace the historic threads of “object-study,” “nature study,” the school-decoration movement and picture-study as they speak to the current practices of visual displays in today’s schools. Understanding that “images speak” is an important notion for the twenty-first century educator yet is rarely discussed or taken up critically. Thus, my exploration into the meaning and significance of the topic of visual displays in elementary schools opens up the possibility for new understandings of visuality in education.
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