ART TEACHERS’ PERCEPTIONS ABOUT VISUAL ARTS GIFTEDNESS.pdf

2019-11-13T14:19:01Z (GMT) by Ting Ting Tay
In 1972, visual arts giftedness was recognized as an aspect of giftedness that needed to be nurtured and developed (Marland, 1972). However, students with gifts and talents in visual arts continued to be overlooked in the field of gifted education. Addressing these gaps in the field of gifted art education, I conducted a mixed methods study to examine the issues. The quantitative part of the study consisted of developing a survey instrument, Perceptions about Art Giftedness, and conducting an exploratory factor analysis (EFA) to investigate construct validity of the instrument. The initial instrument consisted of 23 items. Due to the focus of the study and the specificity of the survey, it was necessary to be selective in recruiting the participants. The inclusion criteria are: (a) they must be art teachers in an arts school or a public school that serves middle or high school grade levels; and/or (b) they must be teaching visual arts or fine arts. A total of 150 participants completed the survey. For the qualitative part of the study, I contacted the participants who completed the survey and asked if they were willing to be interviewed (n=11). Since this was an exploratory study, I began with the qualitative analysis. Three major themes were developed from the qualitative analysis: (a) attitudes and behaviors aligned with Art, (b) attitudes and behaviors aligned with giftedness, and (c) the participants’ use of the selection process and the limitations. These themes highlighted how differently art teachers perceived visual art giftedness from the common understanding about giftedness and the importance of creative behaviors in art giftedness. Additionally, these art teachers also commented on the similarities between visual arts giftedness and conventional understanding of giftedness. They shared examples of characteristics, such as being self-directed and able to work independently that they observed among their gifted art students. From the quantitative analysis, the EFA results indicated a two-factor model with Factor 1 had a Cronbach's Alpha of .89 and Factor 2 has a Cronbach's Alpha of .91, suggesting that they were reliable estimates of the data’s internal consistency. After examining the factor loading for the items, four items were eliminated due cross-loading and low communalities. Of the 19 items were retained, 10 items (.467 to .895) loaded onto Factor 1 and nine items (-.451 to -.937) loaded onto Factor 2. After examining the items for each of the factor and based on the results from the qualitative analysis, new descriptors were developed. Factor 1 (dispositions towards creative giftedness) consisted of items focusing the artistic attitudes and behaviors demonstrated by students who were gifted in visual arts. Factor 2 (dispositions towards conventional giftedness) contained items focusing on attitudes and behaviors that were traditionally associated with giftedness. In summation, results from qualitative and quantitative analysis helped to illustrate how participants were looking for characteristics in gifted visual arts students that goes beyond those highlighted by researchers in gifted education. The participants were not only focused on creative behaviors when identifying gifted art students, but they were also looking for conventional gifted characteristics; such as self-directedness, independence, and task commitment. The participants recognized that for students with gifts and talents in visual arts to develop their potential, they would need to possess both sets of characteristics. Interestingly, although there was consensus among the participants about the characteristics and behaviors observed in gifted art students, there was no agreement among them when asked about specific art making skills.