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The identities of an arts educator: Comparing discourses in three teacher education programmes in Finland

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The aim of this research was to find the structures affecting the construction of an arts educators' identity. We compare the subject areas of visual art and textile craft in three different teacher education programmes: the kindergarten teacher, classroom teacher and textile teacher education at the University of Helsinki. Drawing from critical pedagogy, we approach teacher identity as a subject position constructed discursively in particular social and historical contexts. Our data consisted of 152 essays and portfolios from pre-service teachers. Using articulation as our research strategy, it was possible to identify two (meta) discourses positioning an arts educator: the discourse of technical knowledge and skills, and the discourse of self-expression. We suggest this tensioned discursive space could serve as a starting point for further research, and that the critical engagement with meta-level knowledge of the subject areas should be given more attention in teacher education.

Keywords: arts education; craft education; critical pedagogy; identity; teacher education; visual arts education

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Helsinki

Publication date: February 28, 2012

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  • The International Journal of Education through Art is an English language journal that promotes relationships between art and education. The term 'art education' should be taken to include art, craft and design education. Each issue, published three times a year within a single volume, consists of peer-reviewed articles mainly in the form of research reports and critical essays, but may also include exhibition reviews and image-text features.
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