The Relationship Between the Art Room Environment and the Behavior of Students

Posted by on Oct 6, 2011 in Grad Student Success, What's New? | 0 comments

The Relationship between the Art Room Environment and the Behavior of Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disturbance in an Inner-city High School Art Class

by Alisha Hagelin

Imagine teaching students who have little control over their emotions. These students are at a high risk of dropping out, generally earning lower grades, failing more courses, and retained in grades more often. They will have more difficulty adjusting to adult life than students with other disabilities. These are students who live with Emotional and Behavioral Disturbance (EBD). My research study explores the factors that produce success in the art classroom. The qualitative study asked the questions, “What is the relationship between the art room environment and student behavior?” and “How does the environment of the art room affect the way a student feels?” The eight-week study followed two students identified with EBD and gathered data through student observations, student interviews, teacher surveys, and document analysis of the students’ artwork. The students had the opportunity to be self-reflective about their art room success. The data revealed that the students felt supported through a positive and accommodating work atmosphere, as they made independent choices in assignments and materials and experienced an outlet for their emotions through art. The action plan recommends that students with EBD receive as much exposure to art as possible, both in school and at home.

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