Nurturing pre-service teachers mindful persistence through visual arts

Flannery, Michael (2018) Nurturing pre-service teachers mindful persistence through visual arts.


Persistence is deemed to be a critical disposition for 21st century learners, graduates and educators. Those who master persistence are abler in today’s innovation-driven and ever-changing world to work through challenges and adversity, deal constructively with failure and achieve their goals and outputs from mindful and sustained effort. While persistence features as critical character quality in numerous contemporary early years’ and life-long learning frameworks, far less attention is paid to developing persistence in schools, universities and teacher education to combat attrition rates from education and the teaching profession. Therefore, it is important that all educators progress learner persistence in authentic and effective ways. As the creative process of making visual art both demands and teaches the creative habit of mind persistence, this explorative practitioner research evaluates the effectiveness of a visual arts-based initial teacher education programme component with regard to increasing pre-service teachers’ persistence. Methods include qualitative content analysis of seventy participants’ written reflections regarding what creative habits of mind increased as a consequence of the creative process. Findings indicate that the visual arts learning experience was especially effective in increasing persistence with respect to tolerating uncertainty, sticking with difficulty and daring to be different. Other findings indicate that the creative process, prolonged time, appropriate scaffolding, peer interaction, display of work in progress and teacher belief aided this improvement. In addition, it increased their appreciation of this transdisciplinary disposition and the need for them as teachers to model and monitor persistence in future classroom practice. While appreciating conclusions are context specific, the case study does provide impetus for additional wider research on both student and teacher persistence development in schools, universities and teacher education.

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