University of Vermont

College of Education and Social Sciences

Doctoral Programs in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Ellen Montgomery: The Experience of Adolescent Refugee Students in a Visual Arts Classroom: Matters of the Heard and Mind (2013-03-21)

Montgomery, Ellen | Memorial Lounge, Waterman 338 | 2013-03-21 | 10:00 a.m.

In order to ensure that refugee students have a successful educational experience, all avenues of education must be explored, including the arts. Minimal literature describes the experience of immigrant and refugee students and the arts, but there is even less literature that specifically speaks to the experience of refugee students within the visual arts. Acknowledging the dynamic between arts education and refugee students has the potential to contribute to the knowledge, policies, and practices that relate to both visual arts education and refugee students, and help bring an end to the marginalization of each within education. This study highlights the experience of adolescent refugee students in a visual arts classroom. I used a combination of teacher research and qualitative research methods to conduct this research study. This was because of the role I had as a full time art teacher at the middle school where I conducted this study. The data collected included student interviews, photographs of student artwork, photocopies of work related to the creation of visual art, and observation notes. The findings in the study reflect the application of a variety of best practices within the classroom that helped to create a positive experience for student participants. The implications of this study highlight the importance of teacher research for transformation in education and the use of culturally responsive pedagogy and explicit academic language instruction when teaching this population of students.

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