International Journal of Art & Design Education

Conceptions of Teaching Art held by Secondary School Art Teachers

Volume 23.3   2004



Research into teachers’ conceptions of teaching can be justified in that deep seated beliefs impact upon the way teachers teach and influence the learning approaches of their students. This study examined conceptions of teaching art, through interviews with 18 secondary school art teachers in Hong Kong. The analysis resulted in a two-level characterization of conceptions under broad essentialist and contextualist orientations. There were four subordinate conception categories namely; moral development in art and aesthetic development in art under the essentialist orientation and intellectual development through art, and expression and therapy through art as sub-categories of the contextualist orientation. The categories were defined and delimited by six dimensions. The categories were seen as clearly distinguishable but related, though not hierarchically. There was no evidence of the category scheme being culturally specific as the majority of the teachers held beliefs which were not consistent with the traditional manner of Chinese painting.