"We can choose to throw stones,

to stumble on them, to climb over them,

or to build with them."

(Lederhouse, 1997)


Creating a Visual Arts Education Research Agenda Towards the 21st Century (1996) calls for research that describes situations, clarifies and defines concepts and issues, extends current knowledge, and contributes to understanding the transformation of research into practice. On these web pages, we explore instruction (teaching methods and collaborative models), student learning (socio-cultural and cooperative learning), and participant observation research and issues (building theory from practice). We also extend information on teaching and learning at the middle school level, especially on how teachers integrate art history and studio (Stokrocki, 1996), and concentrate on student cooperative learning (Stahl, 1997), and vernacular architecture (Davis, 1991). We use Michael's (1983) adolescent art orientations for content analysis and apply them to middle school students working in cooperative groups.


External Comparison This Research and Existing Literature. These web pages also explore qualitative research methods (Stokrocki, 1997) that I presented in Research methods and methodologies for art education (LaPierre & Zimmerman, 1997). I'd like to demonstrate further how such research, more specifically, participant observation, evolves and builds theory. Researchers, teachers, and students must learn that research is a constant process of review. It deals with such major issues as empathy versus objectivity. We have an ethical responsibility to help teachers and not just "hit and run" with our research findings.


This research stems from Eisner and Peshkin's (1990) anthology on alternative qualitative approaches. They included the work of Christopher Clark (1990) as qualitative inquiry in use. As a professor-in-residence in an elementary school, Clark wrote about his experience during an afternoon session in a preliminary article, "What You Can Learn From Applesauce." He then solicited comments on this article from researchers, teachers, teacher-educators, administrators, students, and civilians. The resulting published essay included all the opinions, which merged into a collaborative effort on how others have interpreted or used his work. Such a final report allows conflicting interpretations to exist and shows how theory and practice work in context. We will do the same here in the section, called "Multiple Views."


Need for the Study on Architecture. In the past, art teachers often taught Euro-American examples of architecture in their art history lectures with little instructional variation. Chapman (1978) noted that architecture was rarely taught is elementary schools and presented some examples. Architectural resources then became plentiful. Sandler (1989) reported criteria of excellent architectural education programs at the elementary and secondary level. He acknowledged, however, that research is needed to determine the effects of architectural instruction on the learning of students. In the Southwest, Taylor (1979) described how Native American high school students helped build a traditional Zuni cooking oven and micro pueblo style play houses with an adobe walled playscape for children. She reported how she applied architectural study in community practice. Information was sketchy with no references. No systematic study on the results of teaching architecture (clay or stone) to school-age children exists.



Chapman, L. (1978). Approaches to art in education. New York: Harcourt, Brace & Jovanovich.

Clark, C. (1990). What you can learn from applesauce: A case of qualitative inquiry in use. In E. Eisner & A. Peshkin (Eds.) Qualitative inquiry in education: The continuing debate (pp.327-338). New York: Teachers College Press.

Creating a Visual Arts Education Research Agenda Towards the 21st Century. (1996). NAEA: Reston, VA.

Davis, H. (1991). Two futures for vernacular architecture. In Congdon, K., & Blandy, D. (Eds.). Pluralistic approaches to art criticism (pp. 45-57). Bowling Green, OH: Popular Press.

Eisner, E., & Peshkin, A. (Eds.). (1990). Qualitative inquiry in education: The continuing debate. New York: Teachers College Press.

Lederhouse, J. (1997). Caught in the middle: Evangelical public elementary educators. Anthropology & Education Quarterly 28 (2), 182-203.

Michael, J. (1983). Art and adolescence: Teaching art at the secondary level. New York: Teachers College Press.

Sandler, A. (1989). Learning by design: The AIA elementary and secondary education program. Art Education, 42 (5), 13-16.

Stahl, R. (1997). The essential elements of cooperative learning in the classroom. Bloomington, IN: (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 370881, March 94, ERIC Digest).

Stokrocki, M. (1996). A participant observation study of how a middle school art teacher integrates multicultural art history with art making. In C. Henry (Ed.). Middle school art: Issues of curriculum and instruction (pp. 35-55). Reston, VA: NAEA.

Stokrocki, M. (1997). Qualitative forms of research method. In S. LaPierre & E. Zimmerman (Eds.). Research methods and methodologies for art education (pp. 33-55). Reston, VA: NAEA.

Taylor, A. (1979, Oct.). The Albuquerque Indian school: Culture, environment and change. School Arts, 79 (2). 12-16.