Applying Curricular Filters: A Qualitative Study of High School Visual Art Teacher Perspectives and Practice of Visual Culture Art Education in the Art Classroom

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching and Leadership


James H. Rolling


art education, art teacher, qualitative, secondary, visual art, visual culture

Subject Categories

Art Education | Education


Art education theory literature advocates for an integration of visual culture into art education curriculum as a way to make meaning from the visuals within a learner's everyday life. The Visual Culture Art Education (VCAE) model is one current paradigm designed to achieve this integration by bringing visual culture elements that students are familiar with on a daily basis (e.g., advertisements, television, contemporary art, political iconography) into the art education classroom. While support for VCAE in the art education theory literature has been steadily increasing, there remains weak empirical evidence addressing the extent of its implementation. This study sought to explore teacher perspectives surrounding visual culture in their own experiences, in the art classroom, and in the design of art education curriculum. This was addressed through an emergent qualitative analysis of five high school art teachers including how their art learning experiences influence their teaching practices, their understanding of the visual culture model of art education, and the exploration of the factors that impacted the creation of their art curriculum.

Findings include that teaching styles reflected teachers' own learning history, that instances of VCAE model implementation were infrequently observed, even then not with the intention of implementing the formal VCAE model, and that a disconnect from VCAE theory or practice left teachers with a lack of fluency of the VCAE model. In the absence of fluency with VCAE, traditional modes of art education curricula were employed instead. The results of this study provide recommendations for pre-service training programs, implications for future research surrounding the applications of VCAE, and suggestions for increasing art teacher professional development to bridge the gap between VCAE theory and wider practice.


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