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An Analysis of the Presentation of Art in the British Primary School Curriculum and its Implications for Teaching

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Abstract

This article presents an analysis of the way art is conceptualised in the British primary school curriculum and provides an historical framework that maps an evolution of ideas that have shaped the way art is presented in the modern day primary curriculum. In order to achieve this a Foucauldian style genealogical analysis is utilised to trace the discourses (systems of meaning) surrounding the nature of children's artistic development and how these discourses are used in the present day British primary curriculum to construe art in different ways. The analysis in this article is threefold. It explores the presentation of art in the curriculum as (1) an expressive subject, (2) a skills based subject, (3) a subject which focuses on art history and art appreciation. Second, the teaching positions associated with each approach are identified as follows (a) the facilitator, (b) the expert and (c) the philosopher; as well as the issues teachers face when adopting these positions. Third, attention is given to how these theoretical principles might be linked to practice. In so doing this article contributes to the debate surrounding the value of art in the primary curriculum and the way in which the curriculum serves to shape teaching practice.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: She is currently conducting doctoral research at Staffordshire University. 2: Senior lecturer in Critical Psychology at Staffordshire University. 3: Senior Lecturer in Developmental Psychology at Staffordshire University.

Publication date: 01 June 2007

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