Arts in Society Redesign: A Learner-Centered Approach

By Delane Ingalls Vanada, Dean Adams and Takiyah Amin.

Published by The International Journal of Arts Education

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

It is important to advance research that sheds light on surrounding influences impacting student learning, student motivation, and students’ self beliefs as learners. Research indicates that individual student potentials could be better realized with the provision of active, problem-based, and integrated curricula that supports their healthy mindsets as learners. Student-led inquiry is necessary for fostering mindsets as creators, not just consumers. This paper explores a research study conducted in undergraduate, "Art and Society" liberal studies courses at a large university redesigned to be more problem-centered and learner-centered. It was hypothesized that more active learning environments would enhance students’ perceptions about their learning and thinking abilities, toward supporting their motivation and deep learning. Learner-centered classrooms were those designed to include experiential and reflective learning within the constructs of connection-making, inquiry, and self-direction. Active learning strategies involving problem-based and design-based learning were employed. A survey measure was used to understand students’ self-perceptions in relation to their application of knowledge and understanding in more and less learner-centered classrooms. This work extends former research that suggested that intelligence is influenced by the thinking and learning culture, and that those students in more learner-centered environments may also be better at thinking in balanced ways.

Keywords: Learner-centered, Student Self-beliefs, Design thinking

The International Journal of Arts Education, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp.1-18. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 922.706KB).

Dr. Delane Ingalls Vanada

Assistant Professor, Art and Art History, Art and Architecture, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, NC, USA

Delane Ingalls Vanada received her Ph.D. from the University of Denver, researching quality and balanced thinking in arts classrooms. She is a professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, teaching graduates and undergraduates in Art Education as well as a large Art & Society humanities course. She has extensive experience as PreK-20 teacher and administrator, overlapping with her career in fashion design and illustration. Delane’s M.Ed. is from Lesley University in the Arts in Learning.She is also a painter, metalsmith, and textile designer. Her research interests are in the areas of creative, critical, and practical skills and dispositions (balanced intelligence), fostering learner-centered environments, and the role of the arts in building students' capacity for success in learning and 21st century life.

Dean Adams

Associate Professor, Department of Theatre, Associate Dean of Performing Arts Services, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, NC, USA

Dean Adams is presently Associate Professor in the Department of Theatre and Associate Dean of Performing Arts Services at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. From 1989 to 2011, he was the Founding Artistic Director of the Connecticut Theater Festival in Simsbury, Connecticut. As a producer and director, Dean has presented or co-produced productions with Hartford Stage, Parsons Dance Company, MOMIX, Pilobolus, Cirque de la Symphonie, Hartford Symphony, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, The National Theatre of the Deaf, and the Emerson String Quartet. He directed and designed a touring production of Once Upon a Mattress, the first musical ever to tour the People's Republic of China (chronicled in the PBS documentary Beyond the Wall) in 1987.Dean has previously taught at Kennesaw State University, Rollins College, and Florida State University. As the Artistic Director of the Department of Theatre and Performance Studies at Kennesaw State University, he created the musical theatre concentration and successfully gained NAST accreditation for the program. He is the recipient of the Kennesaw State University College of the Arts Distinguished Teaching Award (2009) and the Distinguished Service Award (2007 and 2013). His research focus is on the intersection between commercial and not-for-profit performing arts organizations. Dean holds an M.F.A in Directing from Florida State University, an M.A. in Communications and Theatre from the University of Maryland, and a B.A. in Drama and English from Tufts University. He is a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, Actor’s Equity Association, the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, the Southeastern Theatre Conference and the Association for Theatre in Higher Education.

Dr. Takiyah Amin

Assistant Professor, Department of Dance, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, NC, USA

Takiyah Nur Amin, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor of Dance at UNC Charlotte, where she teaches courses in dance history and theory in the liberal studies curriculum, Department of Dance, and College of Arts + Architecture Honors Program. Her research and teaching interests include Black performance and aesthetics, Black feminist thought and activism, 20th-century American concert dance, and pedagogical issues in dance studies. Dr. Amin is affiliate faculty at UNC Charlotte in the Department of Africana Studies. As a Future Faculty Fellow, Takiyah earned a Ph.D. in Dance with a concentration in Cultural Studies, Certificate in Women’s Studies and Certificate in Teaching in Higher Education from Temple University. She is a recipient of the Edrie Ferdun Scholarly Achievement Award for excellence in dance studies from the Esther Boyer College of Music and Dance and a former Riley Scholar-in-Residence at Colorado College. Beyond the academy, Dr. Amin is COO and Administrative Director of Danse4Nia Repertory Ensemble, a Philadelphia-based, multicultural, contemporary modern dance company. Her community-based memberships include the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, National Association of University Women, and Sisters of the Academy (SOTA,) an international organization that promotes collaborative scholarship among Black women in higher education.