Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Leadership, Research and Technology


Parents and educators have traditionally viewed it as mere "enrichment" rather than a viable and essential part of the school curriculum. To address this issue, professional groups such as the National Art Education Association (NAEA) have consistently advocated for the importance of art by framing it as another core subject area that should be valued as highly as science, math, social studies, and language arts. Unfortunately, such a stance ignores another critical argument for the value of art. When it is framed as a stand-alone core subject area, essential connections among art and the other disciplines are neglected.

In this dissertation, I argue that art is not only important for its own sake, but is also a fundamental means through which students can learn the core subjects. As an art teacher, I teach more than "just" art. I also integrate math, science, social studies, and language arts into my art lesson plans in meaningful ways. Unlike any other art teachers whom I have encountered throughout my career, I actually align my lessons with the standards for the core subjects taken from the Michigan Curriculum Framework, and I also regularly communicate with my students' teachers in the core subjects in order to achieve curricular continuity in my classroom.

The purpose of this narrative self-study is to explore my own development as an art teacher and show how my unique approach to art education evolved from my personal experiences. Through telling my story, I hope to influence the decisions of policymakers regarding art education, in order to strengthen the position of art within the school community. I also hope to enlighten the practices of other art teachers who face the same kinds of frustrations and constraints that I have experienced when challenging the traditional role of art in the school curriculum.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

Included in

Art Education Commons