“But I'm not good at art”: Preservice teachers' understanding of artistic response to children's and adolescent literature
Many preservice and practicing teachers equate artistic response to children's and adolescent literature to craft-like activities that are only loosely tied to literature read. In the tradition of literature response theory, however, artistic response involves readers using artistic forms to work through their questions, feelings, and thoughts about texts—a perspective that is unfamiliar to most students and teachers. This study originated out of a related problem of practice—the challenge preservice teachers and their instructor faced as they struggled to reach a common conception of artistic response to children's and adolescent literature. The central question guiding the study was: How do preservice teachers come to understand artistic response and what factors influence their understanding?
Using historical definitions of art as a lens to view data presented in a telling case format, three major levels of preservice teachers' understanding of artistic response are identified in this study. The first level, Artistic Response as Object, consists primarily of responses that either reproduced the story or used the text as a teaching tool. These responses focused on the art objects preservice teachers created and moved the discussion away from the literature. The second level, Artistic Response as Process, features responses that represented particular events from text for specific reasons, but the end products again did little more than retell the story. At this level the focus again included the art object, but placed a greater emphasis on the artist and the artist's creative process. At the third level, Artistic Response as Social Experience, preservice teachers created responses that invited others to critically explore characters, themes, and situations. The focus at this level of artistic response included not only the art object and the artist and the artist's process, it also considered the social aspects of artistic response to children's literature, including the impact the art (process or product) has on others' understanding of the book.
0530: Teacher education
0535: Reading instruction