Skip to main content

A De-Aestheticised School and Learning Culture. A Study on the Aesthetic Dimensions of Learning Processes

Research project

Short description

Dissertation by Marie-Louise Hansson Stenhammar, 2015.
In this dissertation teaching and learning is studied based on the concepts of arts-based lear- ning processes and the methods of art. I discuss the ontology of arts-based learning processes in relation to arts methods and how that relationship can be related to the learning processes that are made visible in the classroom work of a 5th grade class in a Swedish Primary school.

Learning and knowledge are also addressed from a sociocultural perspective and within a social constructionist theoretical framework, based on Lev Vygotskij’s theories on the interplay between thinking and language, and the relationship between reproduction and creativity as a prerequisite for development and learning.

The main study was preceded by a pilot study in which a portfolio method was tested in three classes in Primary school, grades 2-6. The experience gained from the pilot study led to an ethnographically influenced methodology and method in the main study. The main study is a case study where data from 33 participants were produced over a period of 4 weeks through daily field studies in all subjects on the schedule (with the exception of physical education and health), observations and teacher and student interviews. In order to deepen and gain a perspective on the analysis of the field notes and interviews, they are discussed in relation to artistic, psychological and teaching and learning perspectives, as well as in relation to a poststructuralist view of language.

The results show evidence of a de-aestheticised school and learning culture in the sense that the teaching, regardless of the subject, primarily focuses and produces a way of thinking on learning and knowledge formation which is based on a reproducing process of quantitative character. The results also indicate that there are meaning-making actions where pupils describe learning that requires ingenuity, ability to illustrate and imagine, as well as to combine past experiences with new impressions through reflection. These descriptions are identified as innovative, configurative and reflective actions.

Video (3:54)
Interview with Marie-Louise Hansson Stenhammar