UNESCO-NIE Centre for Arts Research in Education (CARE)

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Australian Art Education
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Grant Ellmers, Ian Brown and Susan Bennett
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Explored in an ongoing PhD study is the notion that reflective practice has the potential to scaffold enhanced cognitive engagement and articulation of tacit knowledge through visual arts and design education. The study seeks to make connections between the reflective process, the articulation of tacit knowledge inherent in the creative process and artefact, and the transfer of that knowledge to future problems. This paper focuses in particular on the research methodology developed for the study. A case study strategy of inquiry has been employed, which draws on a mixed methods research approach, and is framed by cognitive psychology theory. An intervention in the form of a structured critical reflective learning framework has been developed and applied. To analyse the participant artefacts emerging from the learning framework, taxonomy identifying levels of cognition evident in the artefacts has been developed. The rationale for this methodology is discussed, along with how the approach was implemented. Preliminary findings from the case study are reported in this paper. Initial observations from the data would suggest that structured critical reflection can play an important scaffolding role to encourage enhanced cognitive engagement and support the articulation and transfer of tacit knowledge by the tertiary student. This would indicate that the methods used are highly suitable for a study of this type.

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