Gamze BILIR-SEYHAN1, Sakire OCAK-KARABAY2
1Ege University, TURKEY.
2Ege University, TURKEY.
Purpose: Pre-service teachers start their university study with only a limited knowledge of art and aesthetics. Early childhood pre-service teachers should be equipped with visual arts education and aesthetics so they will be able to direct artistic activities. Elective courses about art and aesthetics raise pre-service teachers’ awareness of these subjects and prepare them to lead children in qualified activities. This research aimed to compare the thoughts, expectations and experiences about the process of practicing art activities amongst early childhood junior and senior pre-service teachers.
Research Methods: Phenomenology was used in this qualitative study. The participants included juniors and seniors enrolled in the Early Childhood Education Program. For each group, ten students were included. Seniors had taken elective courses in visual arts education and aesthetics. Two focus group interviews were conducted at the end of the spring semester. The content analysis was used for data analysis.
Findings: The findings were grouped under four themes: definition of visual arts education and aesthetics, their content, experiences related to them, and visual arts education in children’s lives. According to the findings, seniors’ responses had deeper meanings about visual arts education and aesthetics compared to the responses of the juniors. It was discovered that juniors have very limited experience of the subject.
Implications for Research and Practice: In this study, elective courses in art and aesthetics raise early childhood pre-service teachers’ awareness of visual arts education and aesthetics, and contribute to them leading appropriate activities. These findings suggest that these courses have enriched pre-service teachers’ background. Future research could discuss the effects of such courses on classroom teaching and learning.
Keywords: pre-service teacher education, art and aesthetics, early childhood education, pre-service teacher, qualitative method.