Tuula Vanhatapio, M.A. (art and design)

tuvanhat(at)ulapland.fi

No Boys in Art School ? Toward Functional Art Education

The field of my research covers teaching and learning of visual art. It also focuses on the views of the surrounding society on activities related to arts. Furthermore, it will take part in the national discussion on boys’ learning capabilities and their feelings about school.

The qualitative section of my study comprises two parts: theoretical and artistic-pedagogical. The theoretical section focuses on 7 to 10-year-old boys in Rovaniemi. During 2003–2004 the percentage of boys at theRovaniemi Art School was 18.43, which means two boys per class, on the average. I aim to find out why boys do not take part in artistic activities. In the artistic-pedagogical section I develop art teaching in a direction that is more concerned with the needs of boys in particular. With this as a starting point I attempt to build a functional model of education.

I gather my study material from the Rovaniemi area by interviewing pupils and their parents and by documenting learning processes and the student works made during these processes. My research approach is hermeneutical. In hermeneutical research the process of study progresses in phases. The results of the pre-interview made at the art school lead me to the next question and the results of the new material take me, again, to the next phase of study. The research project proceeds spirally: activities and interpretations continuously interact. As a result of a critical interpretation of the processes and structures a theory is built out of the available empirical material.

Central concepts : 7 to 10-year-old-boy, functionality, art education, teaching of art, visual art hobby, gender