Seeing science everywhere: A case study of the perceptions of three fifth grade science teachers' complementary use of the arts in the science classroom in an economically distressed county in central Appalachia.
Date of Graduation
By employing qualitative methods, this study sought to determine the perceptions three fifth grade science teachers held about using the arts to complement science teaching in an economically distressed county in rural Appalachia and the perceived roles the arts and sciences play in the lives of those living in rural Appalachia. Each case was studied using participant-observer observations, personal journals, archival data, and interviewed using semi-structured, in-depth interview techniques. From these data, unique themes emerged for each of the three cases. Constant comparative analysis was used to analyze the data set for each individual case. A cross-case analysis was then employed to generate the common broad themes among the cases. The findings suggest that Time was perceived as the greatest deterrent to complementing science with aspects of the arts with greater frequency, even when the approach was perceived by the teacher as successful for a greater number of students, especially students who had previously been perceived as having difficulty in the science classroom. The findings also revealed that the more experienced the teacher was in using aspects of the arts to complement hands-on, inquiry science teaching, the more efficacious the teacher's perception was of her own teaching, regardless of overall teaching experience. The approach was perceived as an avenue in building relationships with students and colleagues, thus perceived as ensuring a greater frequency of success for both students and teacher in science classes. It was also perceived as a tool for self-reflection and/or self-critique by the teacher. Finally, the findings further suggested the roles of the arts and sciences in the lives of those living in rural Appalachia were perceived in two distinct ways by participants, depending on the education levels attained by the populations. Findings revealed the arts and sciences were perceived as hobbies or as the continuation of cultural traditions in the lives of those in rural Appalachia who do not further their education. However, the arts and sciences were perceived as a means to personal, financial, and educational success in those members of the population who further their educational levels. These findings suggest that science success and science failure may play a role in the continued stratification of an already marginalized population (i.e. rural Appalachians living in poverty). Findings further reveal that the arts may offer a bridge to those students who were previously perceived as unsuccessful in the science classroom.
McKeen, Angela A., "Seeing science everywhere: A case study of the perceptions of three fifth grade science teachers' complementary use of the arts in the science classroom in an economically distressed county in central Appalachia." (2010). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 9397.