Publication Date

2014

Document Type

Dissertation/Thesis

First Advisor

Staikidis, Kryssi

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Department

Department of Art and Design

LCSH

Landscapes--Aesthetics--Study and teaching (Elementary)||Lawns--Aesthetics--Study and teaching (Elementary)||Art education||Elementary education

Abstract

This study investigated yard-spaces as artistic sites that are created and maintained through design processes involving aesthetic choices. The field of art education has grown to consider everyday objects and places worthy of exploration as important signifiers of cultural views, values, and expectations. Yard-spaces, as everyday places, are often taken for granted, and aesthetic choices that conform to social norms often have detrimental effects on the environment. This study investigated conformist and non-conformist aesthetic choices, the environmental effects of these choices, and the influences affecting design and maintenance choices for yard-space appearances.||A gap in knowledge was discovered for recognizing socially conformist aesthetic choices and social expectations for yard-space appearances. This gap was addressed by implementing a researcher-developed place-based environmental art curriculum with fifth grade students from my own teaching practice. Changes in students' attitudes and perceptions of the aesthetic choices affecting yard-space appearances indicated growth in aesthetic understanding and environmental concern. Introspection on the ways social norms are communicated through visual messages was transformational to my teaching practice as I developed a heightened awareness of social influences on my students. Therefore, the curriculum developed for this study is offered as an example to art educators interested in raising students' social and ecological consciousness and also for art educators interested in raising their own awareness of the social influences affecting students' aesthetic choices.||Barriers to enacting change due to aesthetic attachment to appearances and psychological ownership of property impeded the willingness of participants to consider aesthetic changes for their yard-spaces. Research of these barriers is recommended for student learning to move beyond understanding of environmentally beneficial aesthetic choices to enacting these choices. New knowledge that was generated through this research revealed strategies for encouraging aesthetic and environmental understanding of yard-space appearances, but further research is necessary to understand the barriers that impede the enactment of social and ecological change.

Comments

Advisors: Kryssi Staikidis; Doug Boughton.||Committee members: Elizabeth Wilkins.

Extent

335 pages

Language

eng

Publisher

Northern Illinois University

Rights Statement

In Copyright

Rights Statement 2

NIU theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from Huskie Commons for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without the written permission of the authors.

Media Type

Text

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