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The Effect of Art History on the Cultural Awareness of Rural Minnesota Middle School
Students

Melissa Birkholz

Submitted...
UMI Number: 1473921

All rights reserved
INFORMATION TO ALL USERS
The quality of this reproduction is dependent upon the q...
Copyright © 2009 by Melissa A. Birkholz.
All rights reserved.
No part of this thesis may be used, reproduced, stored, reco...
Abstract
This study investigated the effect of art history lessons on the cultural awareness
of a group of middle school s...
Table of Contents

I. Introduction and Discussion of the Issue……………………………..………………..1
II. Review of the Literature………………………...
1
I. Introduction and Discussion of the Issue

Art history is sometimes included in K-12 art curricula as a way to teach s...
2
Figure 1 – Data from the United States 2000 Census
Town with
middle
school and
high school
building
99.7%
0%

Town with
...
3
American Indian or Alaska Native, 3.7% Asian, and 12.9% Hispanic or Latino (of any
race) (Figure 1) (Buttle & Tuttle Ltd...
4
pointed out that reproductions of Spanish paintings from the sixteenth- to twentiethcenturies can be used to promote lan...
5
II. Review of the Literature

Cultural awareness is defined as understanding and appreciating customs, values
and belief...
6
environments intermingle. As toddlers, they begin to mimic adult behavior, begin to
recognize physical differences, and ...
7
can have a significant impact on the adults they become. This period includes changes in
intellectual development, with ...
8
first half of the 1900s through the work of scholars such as the African American Civil
War veteran George Washington Wi...
9
if students are to function effectively in the decades to come, they must have the
knowledge, attitudes, and skills need...
10
resources offering art projects that reflect the art of various periods and cultures. The
“trick” is in knowing how to ...
11
Hammurabi” (currently located at the Louvre) and the “Warka Mask” (which was
returned to Iraq’s National Museum in Sept...
12
Eldridge, 2008; Jennys, 2004; Her Many Horses, 2007; Hook & Hook, 1985; Horse
Capture & Horse Capture, 2001; Lyford, 19...
13
teaching them about Aboriginal beliefs and exploring how they made use of available
resources in their art making.
Coll...
14
III. Discussion of the Methodologies and Methods Used

The author used two specific art history lessons with her sevent...
15
results. She explained the assent forms to them and gave them three days to think about
it, talk to their parents, and ...
16
while others were open-ended. The closed-ended questions consisted mainly of multiplechoice questions on facts about th...
17
technique with additive and subtractive decoration to create their own lamassu relief
sculptures. Lamassu were protecti...
18
The other lesson presented was on art made by the Sioux of the North American
Great Plains during the 1800s. Before the...
19
worked, they listened to Lakota Sioux stories from the CD The Lakota Way by Joseph M.
Marshall III (2002), and Dakota S...
20

For both lessons, when the lesson and post-assessment were completed, the author
compared the responses from the pre-a...
21
application. The ethnicity of the researcher is 90.6% White and the majority of her life
has been spent in predominantl...
22
IV. Discussion of the Research Results
The cultural assessment data of twenty-two students was used for the Iraq and
Sy...
23
expressed specific knowledge about the celebration, such as “Food and presents sound
fun,” “Because Abraham is in the B...
24
decrease in their level of interest gave reasons that showed an overall increase in
awareness of the cultural celebrati...
25
Figure 7 - Iraq and Syria Pre-assessment Results for Section 2
Know one
or more
Arabic
words
no

Interest in
attending
...
26
Figure 8 - Iraq and Syria Post-assessment Results for Section 1

Student 1
Student 2

% of fact
questions
answered
corr...
27
Figure 9 - Iraq and Syria Post-assessment Results for Section 2
Know one
or more
Arabic
words
yes

Interest in
attendin...
28
Figure 10 – Comparison of Iraq and Syria Pre- and Post-assessments, Section 1
% of
students
whose
knowledge
of facts
sc...
29
Figure 13 – Change in Iraq and Syria Factual Knowledge and Interest Level,
All Students
Change in
percentage points
of ...
30
Cultural assessment data from the same twenty-two students was used for the
Sioux portion of the study. When their pre-...
31
appears that Student 9 knew something about pow-wows because she or he wrote that
they like listening to the music and ...
32
experience with the topic. In Section 2, it appears that Student 9 already knew something
about pow-wows before the les...
33
times as many students showed an increase in interest than showed a decrease in interest.
Therefore, the lesson had a g...
34
Figure 15 - Sioux Pre-assessment Results for Section 2
Know one
or more
Sioux
words
no

Interest in
attending a
pow-wow...
35
Figure 16 - Sioux Post-assessment Results for Section 1
Know one
or more
Sioux
words
yes

Interest in
attending a
pow-w...
36
Figure 17 - Sioux Post-assessment Results for Section 2
Know one
or more
Sioux
words
yes

Interest in
attending a
pow-w...
37
Figure 18 – Comparison of Sioux Pre- and Post-assessments, Section 1
% of
students
whose
knowledge
of facts
score
incre...
38
Figure 21 – Change in Sioux factual knowledge and interest level
Change in
percentage points
of fact questions
answered...
39
percentage points from both lessons combined. Both lessons resulted in an increase in
knowledge of the language of anot...
40
Figure 23 – Interest Percentages Averaged from Both Lessons, All Students
% of students
whose interest in
attending a
c...
41
V. Conclusion

The author hypothesized that when she teaches art history in her middle school art
classes, it raises th...
42
and art education are logical partners because of art's universal nature that spans the
human experience throughout tim...
43
students in either positive or negative ways. How the content of an art history lesson, or
various teaching methods and...
44
art history lessons that promote cultural awareness, are pertinent topics for colleges and
universities to present to p...
45
Appendix A
Your three initials here: ________

Iraq and Syria

For questions 1 – 7, circle your answer. For questions 8...
46
6) In Iraq and Syria today, is it OK to make artwork showing gods and goddesses?
Yes

No

I don’t know

7) Do you know ...
47
10) Pretend that a new family has moved to town. They lived in Iraq before moving to
the United States. They have a dau...
48
Appendix B
Your three initials here: ________

The Sioux (Lakota, Dakota and Nakota)

For questions 1 – 7, circle your ...
49
5) In Sioux culture during the 1800s, who painted pictures and symbols on clothing and
teepees?
Anyone who was skilled ...
50

10) Pretend that you heard there is going to be a big pow-wow near Lake Traverse.
a. What is a pow-wow? (Write your an...
51
References
1000and1. (n.d.) Marhaba. Retrieved February 12, 2009, from
http://www.1000and1.de/english/culture/language....
52
middle_east_iraqi_treasures/html/1.stm.
Bernier, C. (1995). Multicultural education: Raising cultural awareness and red...
53
http://www.ceso-saco.com/english/news/press/rel_july1408.php.
Chrisp, Peter. (2004). Mesopotamia: Iraq in ancient times...
54
Fenner, A. (2000). Cultural Awareness. Retrieved November 2, 2008, from
http://www.ecml.at/Documents/projects/forums/Cu...
55
Publishing.
I-Cans. (n.d.) Cultural awareness self-assessment form 1. Retrieved October 28, 2008,
from http://www.liter...
56
Publishing.
McLaren, P., Sleeter, C. (1995). Multicultural education, critical pedagogy, and the
politics of difference...
57
Roaf, M. (2004). Cultural atlas of mesopotamia and the ancient near east. Oxfordshire:
Andromeda Books.
Rose, J. (2007)...
58
University of Utah. (2008). Art history and visual studies program. Retrieved November
3, 2008, from http://www.arthist...
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  1. 1. The Effect of Art History on the Cultural Awareness of Rural Minnesota Middle School Students Melissa Birkholz Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts from Prescott College in Humanities: Art History June 2009 Camille Smith, M.A. Graduate Advisor Don Sherman, M.F.A. Second Reader Priscilla Stuckey, Ph.D. Third Reader
  2. 2. UMI Number: 1473921 All rights reserved INFORMATION TO ALL USERS The quality of this reproduction is dependent upon the quality of the copy submitted. In the unlikely event that the author did not send a complete manuscript and there are missing pages, these will be noted. Also, if material had to be removed, a note will indicate the deletion. UMI 1473921 Copyright 2010 by ProQuest LLC. All rights reserved. This edition of the work is protected against unauthorized copying under Title 17, United States Code. ProQuest LLC 789 East Eisenhower Parkway P.O. Box 1346 Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1346
  3. 3. Copyright © 2009 by Melissa A. Birkholz. All rights reserved. No part of this thesis may be used, reproduced, stored, recorded, or transmitted in any form or manner whatsoever without written permission from the copyright holder or her agent(s), except in the case of brief quotations embodied in the papers of students, and in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. Requests for such permission should be addressed to: Melissa Birkholz P.O. Box 282 Browns Valley, MN 56219
  4. 4. Abstract This study investigated the effect of art history lessons on the cultural awareness of a group of middle school students in rural Minnesota. The data from eleven seventh grade students was collected based on their enrollment in the art class, their assent, and their parents’ consent. The students took a pre-assessment that gathered both quantitative and qualitative data on their cultural awareness of Iraq and Syria, participated in a lesson and art project about the art of the ancient Near East, and then took a post-assessment. The same procedure was followed for a lesson and art project about the Sioux of the North American Great Plains during the 1800s. Data from pre-assessments and postassessments were compared and analyzed to determine if art history lessons affected their cultural awareness, and if so then how much. Changes in qualitative student responses were also examined. Results indicated that the art history lessons raised the cultural awareness of the students.
  5. 5. Table of Contents I. Introduction and Discussion of the Issue……………………………..………………..1 II. Review of the Literature…………………………………………..…...……………...5 III. Discussion of the Methodologies and Methods Used…………………….………...14 IV. Discussion of the Research Results…………………………….…………………..22 V. Conclusion………………………………………………………...…………....……41 Appendix A……………………………………………………………………..………45 Appendix B……………………………………………………………………..………48
  6. 6. 1 I. Introduction and Discussion of the Issue Art history is sometimes included in K-12 art curricula as a way to teach students about art periods and artists. The author, who teaches art for grades 7 - 12 in a public school, wondered if teaching art history impacts the cultural awareness of her middle school students. The school district that she teaches in is located in a predominantly White rural farming area in west-central Minnesota. While foreign exchange students have attended the high school, and an exchange student from Germany is currently enrolled in the 10th grade, most of the students’ daily face-to-face interactions with others in the area are with people from their own cultural background. The author hypothesized that when she teaches art history in her classes, it raises the cultural awareness of the students, and she wanted to find out in what way and how much. There are three principal towns in the school district. The middle school and high school building is located in one of the towns, and the elementary building is located in another. The author teaches in the middle school and high school building, which currently serves one-hundred-eighty-five students enrolled in grades 7 – 12. The high school portion consists of one-hundred-thirty-three students in grades 9 – 12. Ethnically, 98.5% of the high school students are White and 1.5% are American Indian. The middle school consists of fifty-two students in grades 7 - 8, 100% of whom are White (L. Mischke, personal communication, March 2009). The middle school and high school building is located in a town which had a population of 605 persons recorded for the 2000 census. At that time, the population of the town was 99.7% White, .2% American Indian or Alaska Native, .2% Asian, and .2% Hispanic or Latino. The elementary building,
  7. 7. 2 Figure 1 – Data from the United States 2000 Census Town with middle school and high school building 99.7% 0% Town with elementary building Other principal town County that the school district is in 98.4% 0.2% United States as a whole White 98% 100% 77% Black or 0% 0% 12.6% African American American 0.2% 1.1% 0% 0.5% 0.9% Indian or Alaska Native Asian 0.2% 0.9% 0% 0.4% 3.7% Native 0% 0% 0% 0% 0.1% Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander Hispanic or 0.2% 0% 1.1% 0.3% 12.9% Latino (of any race) Other 0% 0% 0% 0.4% 5.6% Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding, and because Hispanics may be of any race and are therefore counted under more than one category. which includes grades K – 6, is in a town which had a population of 453 persons recorded for the 2000 census. The population of that town was recorded as 98% White, 1.1% American Indian or Alaska Native, and .9% Asian. The other principal town in the school district had a population of 262 persons recorded for the 2000 census. The population of that town was recorded as 100% White and 1.1% Hispanic or Latino (of any race). The county that the school district is located in had a population of 5,820 persons recorded for the 2000 census. At that time, the population of the county was 98.4% White, .5% American Indian or Alaska Native, .4% Asian, and .3% Hispanic or Latino. The percentages for the United States as a whole during that time were 77% White, .9%
  8. 8. 3 American Indian or Alaska Native, 3.7% Asian, and 12.9% Hispanic or Latino (of any race) (Figure 1) (Buttle & Tuttle Ltd., 2008; Hometown USA, 2009; Minnesota Home Town Locator, 2009). The author has a background in art education and art history. She has been teaching art for seven years, all of which have been in the same school. Art history and the art of various cultures have been important elements of her teaching since her student teaching days. For the past year and a half, she has been taking art history courses in preparation for her Master of Humanities (with an emphasis in art history) through Prescott College. Social and ecological literacy was included in her studies as she explored the art history of various cultures. Ethnically, she is 90.6% White and 9.4% American Indian. While the majority of her life has been spent in predominantly White communities, she has spent a combined total of thirteen years interacting with American Indian people and communities, including living on a reservation, attending classes at two tribal colleges, student teaching at a reservation school, and tutoring American Indian students. She plans to use the results of her thesis to improve the art program in her school by adjusting her lessons based on the results. She believes the results will be valuable to other art educators and art historians who wish to study the effects of including art history in school curricula. A study like this one has not been done in the school or surrounding communities. The author has not seen any previous studies done expressly to ascertain the effect of art history lessons on the cultural awareness of middle school students. She has seen studies that come close, such as an article by Ortuno (1994), from the publication Hispania (published by the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese), which
  9. 9. 4 pointed out that reproductions of Spanish paintings from the sixteenth- to twentiethcenturies can be used to promote language and cultural learning in a variety of age groups. The study of how art history raises cultural awareness in middle school children provides an opportunity for further research.
  10. 10. 5 II. Review of the Literature Cultural awareness is defined as understanding and appreciating customs, values and beliefs of various cultures, and being able to incorporate that understanding and appreciation into interactions with others from different cultures (Yavapai County Government, 2009). It includes developing awareness of a person’s own culture as well as of others’ cultures. Respect and dignity for all individuals is essential, remembering that differences are not labeled good or bad, just different. Fostering cultural awareness can include learning about traditional beliefs, and the meanings of words, phrases, foods, gestures, symbols, customs, significant days, activities and rituals. Globalization, military conflicts, and immigration have brought the importance of cultural awareness to the attention of business people, health care providers, child advocators, educators, adult learners, the military, and many other organizations and individuals. They are seeing that cultural awareness enhances communication and fosters positive interaction between peoples of all ages. For example, the positive or negative response of educators to students from different cultural backgrounds can effect the self-esteem and academic success of those students (Brown, 2007; Canadian Executive Service Organization, 2008; Day & Eisner, 2004; Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center, 1999; Dupree, 2002; Fenner, 2000; Kauppinen, 1991; National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association, n.d.; Oshun, 2008; Rhode Island Department of Health, 2009; Yavapai County Government, 2009). Children progress through stages of cultural and racial awareness as their cognitive development, experiences with their bodies, and experiences with social
  11. 11. 6 environments intermingle. As toddlers, they begin to mimic adult behavior, begin to recognize physical differences, and learn the names of colors including skin color. When they are three and four years old, they become more aware of differences as they learn to classify and sort based on criteria such as color and size. They ask and comment about skin color and hair texture, and want to know how people got their different traits. Their thinking is limited and inconsistent, so it is easy for them to believe stereotypes and form prejudices. They also begin to develop a preference for one race. While they are five and six, they continue to ask about physical differences as they begin to understand the explanations for those differences. They can make distinctions between members of different racial or cultural groups, and enjoy exploring the cultures of their friends. By age six, most children understand the concept of fair and unfair, and often use them as they deal with others. When they are seven and eight, children can consider multiple attributes at once, understanding how a person can be a member of several different groups (such as how a person can be a part of a family, a class, and a culture all at one time). They can also understand feelings of shame and pride and are aware of racism against their own group. They are able to empathize and are interested in learning about the world. Ages seven and eight years of age are prime years to give children accurate information about race and culture so they grow and mature out of “preschool” ways of thinking. After a child reaches nine years of age, their cultural and racial attitude tends to stay the same unless they have an experience that substantially touches their lives (Aboud, 1988; Derman-Sparks, 1989; York, 1991). Middle school students go through a period of early adolescent development and change. These changes, and the experiences they have during this developmental period,
  12. 12. 7 can have a significant impact on the adults they become. This period includes changes in intellectual development, with a shift from concrete to abstract operations and an increase in reasoning and decision-making abilities. Research shows that their information processing may be enhanced because a reorganization of synaptic connections occurs during this period. Development of self-concept (their beliefs about their characteristics, abilities, and relationships), self-esteem (their sense of overall worth), and identity (their general sense of themselves and their psychological reality) become important during this time. Positive self-concept and identity formation includes successfully negotiating social relations with others and exploring a variety of activities and roles. Self-esteem is highest in adolescents when they believe they are capable of doing things that are important to them, and when their social relations are positive. This period of intellectual, personal, and social development presents further opportunity for parents and educators to have an impact on whether or not middle school children become culturally aware adults (Greene & Walker, 1986; Laurel, 2005; Skelton, 1991; University of Oregon, 2003; Wagner, 2005). The promotion of cultural awareness is a natural fit within the inclusive spirit of multicultural education, which tends to challenge stereotypes and misconceptions about people based on their ethnic backgrounds and other aspects of their humanity. Multicultural education has a history that reaches back to the 1800s. Support for it is growing even though it is criticized by people who seek social justice as well as by those who want to uphold traditional Western philosophies. Scholars who came of age during the civil rights movement motivated the current multicultural education movement. Ethnic studies developed during the late 1800s and
  13. 13. 8 first half of the 1900s through the work of scholars such as the African American Civil War veteran George Washington Williams (1849-1891), the sociologist and historian W.E.B. DuBois (1868 – 1963), and the educator and writer Horace Mann Bond (1905 – 1972). Ethnic studies continued to develop and expand as the publications of those early scholars helped to influence a new generation of scholars who emerged during the civil rights movement of 1960s and 1970s. That new generation of scholars includes current proponents of multicultural education, such as the author James A. Banks, historian and anthropologist Geneva Gay, author Christine Bennett, educator and speaker Carlos Cortés, and educator and author Philip Chinn. As various scholars and educators involved in ethnic studies came together, they formed the opinion that the best way for students from diverse racial and ethnic groups to experience equality was multicultural education. Multicultural education gained momentum and schools began to respond to the needs of students from marginalized groups, including students of color, female students, and students with disabilities (Banks, 1996; Bothton, 1997; McLaren & Sleeter, 1995). Multicultural education is challenged by critics from both the right and the left. Critics from the right claim that historically the United States has been sociologically united, and that multicultural education promotes divisiveness and ethnic polarization. Critics from the left claim that multicultural education fails to challenge the current social structure that oppresses marginalized groups including the poor, ethnic minorities, and women. In spite of those criticisms, grass-roots support for multiculturalism among teachers, students, school administrators, parents, and ethnic communities is growing. People who support multicultural education want to be agents of social change by overcoming inequality and working toward a just and humane society. They believe that
  14. 14. 9 if students are to function effectively in the decades to come, they must have the knowledge, attitudes, and skills needed to function in a diverse world (Banks, 1996; Darling-Hammond, French & Garcia-Lopez, 2002; Day & Eisner, 2004; Kauppinen, 1991; McLaren & Sleeter, 1995; Webb, 1990). Multicultural education and art education are natural partners because art’s universal nature spans the human experience throughout times, places, and peoples. This universal nature enables art to be a multicultural subject as it embraces the past and present artistic expressions of people and cultures around the world. The study of past artistic expressions, in the form of art history, is one of the key components of art education. The iconographic and contextual approaches to art history lend themselves well to reconstructing a culture’s roots, traditions and legacy. In that way, the art history component of art education is a natural partner with multicultural education. Art education’s natural connection with multicultural education also enables art to be a vehicle for promoting cultural awareness, social justice, and peace (Day & Eisner, 2004; Harris, 2001; Kauppinen, 1991). When teaching cultural awareness to middle school students, the goal should be to increase their knowledge of cultures and minority groups, and minimize their prejudice toward others who are different. When teachers incorporate cultural awareness into the curriculum, those efforts should include an interdisciplinary approach, interesting materials, and development of critical thinking. It should include activities that take into account early adolescent cognitive skills while being authentic, multidimensional, and devoid of stereotyping (Eldridge, 2008; Kader, 2007; Skelton, 1991). For art teachers who wish to promote cultural awareness through their programs, there are many
  15. 15. 10 resources offering art projects that reflect the art of various periods and cultures. The “trick” is in knowing how to go beyond simply doing a multicultural project by building an art lesson that effectively promotes cultural awareness. Kader (2005) offers a list of what an effective multicultural art lesson should include: 1. The geographical location of the culture that the art is from 2. Local vocabulary to authenticate concepts 3. History of the art, culture, and people whose work is being studied 4. The role of art makers, men or women, in the production process 5. Symbols that pertain to the artwork 6. Socio-economic conditions during the time the art was made 7. How the art was viewed when it was made compared to how the art is viewed at the present time An art history lesson that is aimed at promoting cultural awareness can incorporate those seven elements. When the author built the art history lessons to use for this study, she chose to do one on the art of the ancient Near East and another on the art of the Sioux of the Great Plains during the 1800s. She included Kader’s suggested elements in each lesson. For the lesson on ancient Near Eastern art, she included a map that showed Iraq, Syria, Iran, and surrounding countries. She punctuated the lesson with Mesopotamian and Arabic vocabulary, including “lamassu” (a divine, protective being revered by Assyrians), “genie” (Arabic for “spirit”), and “marhaba” (Arabic for “hello”). Visuals of art that tied in to historical figures and events were used, such as the “Head of
  16. 16. 11 Hammurabi” (currently located at the Louvre) and the “Warka Mask” (which was returned to Iraq’s National Museum in September 2003 after being stolen during the anarchy that accompanied the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime). A visual of a relief sculpture of a Mesopotamian woman making thread was used to lead in to the role of art makers. Symbolism found in various art works, the socio-economic conditions, and how the art was viewed then compared to how it is viewed now were also included. The corresponding art project was a lamassu relief sculpture made from earthenware clay (1001and1, n.d.; Arab American and Chaldean Council, 2006; BBC, n.d; Black & Green, 1995; Chrisp, 2004; CNN, 2003; Frankfort, 1996; Kader, 2007; Louvre, n.d.; Roaf, 2004; The Sydney Morning Herald, 2003). For the lesson on Sioux art, she included a map of the northern Great Plains including North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Minnesota. She included Sioux vocabulary, such as “wanbli” (Lakota Sioux for “eagle”), “hau” (Sioux for “hello”), and “atanikili” (Lakota Sioux for “you’re awesome”). Visuals that connected to historical figures and events were used, such as a war shirt worn by Red Cloud and beadwork done with pony beads (so-named because White traders brought them on horseback). Visuals of quillwork and beadwork (which were considered to be a sacred art made by women), and pictographs (painted by men to show their dreams or brave deeds) were used to discuss the role of art makers. Symbolism found in various works, the socio-economic conditions, and how their art was viewed then compared to how it is viewed now were also included in the lesson. The corresponding project was the students’ choice of either a choker or a necklace made from a variety of beads, imitation animal teeth and claws, and imitation sinew (Akta Lakota Museum, n.d.; Buechel & Manhart, 2002; Dubin, 1999;
  17. 17. 12 Eldridge, 2008; Jennys, 2004; Her Many Horses, 2007; Hook & Hook, 1985; Horse Capture & Horse Capture, 2001; Lyford, 1990; Monture, 1993; Taylor, 1993). When the author searched for studies and projects that have been done on the effects of art history on the cultural awareness of middle school students, she found some studies that came close, in that they included art within the scope of their study. However, none of them was focused specifically on art history and cultural awareness. The researcher also did not find any opposing views or study results to counter, probably because of the lack of research on the topic. The published studies and projects that approximated the author’s study were ones by Marian Ortuno (1994), Christopher Bernier (1995), Carol Butler and William Egnatoff (2002), and Jane Graziano (2004). Ortuno’s report stated that a crossdisciplinary approach combining language, literature, history, and art was an effective method to achieve positive results on language learning and formation of cultural attitudes. Bernier published a dissertation about how a population of middle school students experienced an increase in their cultural awareness and a decrease in their prejudice through the formation of a cultural awareness group and the introduction of a multicultural curriculum. Butler and Egnatoff published an article about an arts program for middle school students that addressed bias, specifically prejudices towards Canadian First Nations people. The success of the program was attributed to its focus on the arts, which brought people together. Graziano’s article related her experience teaching a class of middle school students a lesson on Aboriginal painting. The lesson was described as being successful in fostering the students’ appreciation of another culture through
  18. 18. 13 teaching them about Aboriginal beliefs and exploring how they made use of available resources in their art making. Colleges and universities state that art history courses are beneficial for their students. When art history is placed in the wider context of world history, religion, aesthetics, politics, and language, it becomes a diverse and intellectually stimulating subject area for them. The study and analysis of art and architecture is intended to extend their visual backgrounds and cultural awareness. Art history students develop a number of skills and qualities including appreciation of aesthetics, critical thinking, seeking out alternative perspectives, cultural awareness, flexibility and openness to new ideas, objectivity, and advocacy. It is the author’s observation that art history can also be beneficial in developing cultural awareness in middle school students (Georgetown University, n.d., Southern Methodist University, 2004; University of Utah, 2008).
  19. 19. 14 III. Discussion of the Methodologies and Methods Used The author used two specific art history lessons with her seventh grade students during the Spring 2009 semester to ascertain if art history has an effect on their cultural awareness. Each lesson included a corresponding art project. The seventh graders are the only middle school students who take art classes during the spring semester. There are two sections of seventh grade students, one section taking the art class during the first nine weeks of the semester, and the other section taking the art class during the second nine weeks of the semester. For this study, the section that took the art class during the first nine weeks is labeled “Section 1” and the section that took the art class during the second nine weeks is labeled “Section 2.” The two specific art lessons for the study were taught to both sections of seventh graders, which numbered twenty-eight students total. One lesson dealt with the art of the ancient Near East, specifically of ancient Iraq and Syria. The other lesson dealt with the art of the Sioux of the North American Great Plains during the 1800s. A pre-assessment and a post-assessment were given before and after each lesson. The pre-assessment and post-assessment results for a specific lesson were compared to show if the lesson had an effect on the cultural awareness of the students. The overall results from each lesson were also examined and compared to determine the overall effect, if any, and to explore the possibilities of further research on the topic. Before the study began, assent was obtained from the middle school students who wished to participate, and consent was obtained from the parents and guardians. When the author told her students about her thesis study, she compared it to their science fair projects, in which they form hypotheses, do projects to test them, and then present the
  20. 20. 15 results. She explained the assent forms to them and gave them three days to think about it, talk to their parents, and sign and return them if they wanted to participate. Consent forms were mailed to the parents and guardians, along with self-addressed stamped envelopes, with a seven day time frame figured in to make sure they had time to talk to the students and return the forms if they gave their consent. Follow-up phone calls were made to the parents and guardians to answer any questions and thank them for their help in carrying out the study. Parents and guardians who were not interested were not pressured about their choice. All twenty-eight of the seventh graders returned their assent forms. Twenty-two of the parents and guardians returned their consent forms. All students participated in the lesson and activities so that none were singled out as “nonparticipants,” but only the ones who gave and had permission for the use of their data were included in the data analysis. The first lesson that was presented was on the art of the ancient Near East, namely Mesopotamia or the area currently known as the countries of Iraq and Syria. Many different peoples have influenced the art of that region. Therefore, the focus of the lesson was narrowed to the Sumerians, Assyrians, and Babylonians, and how the art of the region changed with the Islamic Empire. Before the lesson was presented, the students were given a pre-assessment to measure their cultural awareness of Iraq and Syria. The author designed her own cultural awareness assessments for her middle school students, modified from assessments aimed at adults, because she did not find any assessments or surveys meant to be taken by middle school students to measure their cultural awareness. The assessments were created to gather both qualitative and quantitative data. Some of the questions she included in the survey were closed-ended
  21. 21. 16 while others were open-ended. The closed-ended questions consisted mainly of multiplechoice questions on facts about the region’s geography, culture and artistic symbolism, and student knowledge of the Arabic language. A five-level Likert scale to ascertain student interest in a cultural celebration was also included. Using the scale, the students chose which of the five levels of interest best matched their own. A response of, “Yes, a lot,” on the scale indicated the highest level of interest while a response of, “No, absolutely not,” indicated the lowest level of interest (Appendix A). In the Near Eastern assessment, the Likert scale measured student interest in attending a cultural celebration known as Eid al-Adha, which is an Islamic celebration of Abraham’s obedience to Allah that includes a feast, gift giving, and donations to others who are less fortunate. Openended questions were also used in the assessments to enable students to express their own thoughts and opinions on cultural facts and the cultural celebration (American Academy of Family Physicians, 2000; American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 2008; BBC, 2009; Czarra, 2003; Goode, 2004; I-CANS, n.d.; Literacy.net, n.d.; Rose, 2007; San Diego State University. n.d.; University of Kansas, 2003). The Near Eastern lesson and project lasted a combined total of seven class days. For each of those days, the author greeted the students with “marhaba” (an Arabic word for “hello”) at the beginning of each class. The presentation and discussion of the art of ancient Mesopotamia lasted for two class periods. The presentation included the multicultural content suggested by Kader (2005), incorporating geography, vocabulary, history, the role of art makers, artistic symbolism, socio-economic conditions, and how the art was viewed when it was made compared to how it is currently viewed. Then the students worked with clay for another three class periods while they used the slab
  22. 22. 17 technique with additive and subtractive decoration to create their own lamassu relief sculptures. Lamassu were protective deities that had the body of a bull, the head of a human, and often the wings of a bird. The Assyrians used huge sculptures of them as gateway guardians at the entrances of royal palaces (Black, 1995; Frankfort, 1996; Oriental Institute, 2008). While the students worked on their relief sculptures, they listened to traditional Near Eastern music from the music CD Silan by Yair Dalal and the Al Ol Ensemble (1998). After the relief sculptures were built, one class period was spent on a “wrap-up” summary, which included watching the video Mesopotamia (Ancient Civilizations for Kids, 1998). The post-assessment, which contained the same questions as the pre-assessment, was given to the students the following class day. After the projects were dried and fired, the students had another two class days to paint their lamassu sculptures (see Figure 2, Figure 3). Figure 2 – Lamassu by a 7th Grader Figure 3 – Lamassu by a 7th Grader
  23. 23. 18 The other lesson presented was on art made by the Sioux of the North American Great Plains during the 1800s. Before the lesson was presented, the students were given a pre-assessment to measure their cultural awareness of the Sioux people. It was an assessment the author designed, as she did with the Near Eastern one. Some of the questions were closed-ended while others were open-ended. The closed-ended questions consisted mainly of multiple-choice questions on facts about the related geography, culture and artistic symbolism, and student knowledge of Sioux language. A five-level Likert scale was included to ascertain student interest in a pow-wow, an event in which indigenous people join together in dancing and singing to celebrate their heritage, honor war veterans, and socialize. Open-ended questions enabled students to give their own thoughts and opinions on cultural facts and the pow-wow (Appendix B) (American Academy of Family Physicians, 2000; American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 2008; Czarra, 2003; Gedeon, 2001; I-CANS, n.d.; Literacy.net, n.d.; Rose, 2007; San Diego State University. n.d.; Sioux YMCA, 2002). The Sioux lesson and project lasted a total of seven class days. For each of those days, the author greeted the students with “hau” (the Sioux word for “hello”) at the beginning of each class. She also randomly used the expression “atanikili” (Lakota for “you are awesome”) throughout the lesson and project days. The presentation and discussion on Sioux art, which included the multicultural points suggested by Kader (2005), lasted two class periods. Then the students worked with imitation sinew and a variety of beads (including imitation bear claws, eagle claws, and elk teeth) for another three class periods while they designed and made their choice of either a necklace or a choker. Most students had time to make an additional necklace or a bracelet. While they
  24. 24. 19 worked, they listened to Lakota Sioux stories from the CD The Lakota Way by Joseph M. Marshall III (2002), and Dakota Sioux flute music from the CD Eagle Dreams by Brian Akipa (2001). After the projects were finished, two class periods were spent on a “wrapup” summary, which included watching the DVD Sitting Bull: Chief of the Lakota Nation (Biography, 2005). The post-assessment, which contained the same questions as the preassessment, was given to the students the next class day (see Figure 4, Figure 5). Figure 4 – Necklace by a 7th Grader Figure 5 – Choker by a 7th Grader
  25. 25. 20 For both lessons, when the lesson and post-assessment were completed, the author compared the responses from the pre-assessments and post-assessments. She also shared the overall results of each lesson with the students, while keeping specific identities confidential. The overall results of each lesson were organized into the numbers of students who did and did not score better on the post-assessment than on the preassessment, the numbers of students who did or did not learn new words from the languages, and the numbers of students whose interest in attending the cultural celebrations increased, stayed the same, or decreased. In this way, the students could further share in the study they were participating in and see the effects that the lessons had on them as a group. Some of the limitations of this study include the limited population selection, the length of time that the students were engaged in lessons, vicarious experience versus direct experience, and possible researcher bias. There were only twenty-two participants in the study, and each of those were seventh graders enrolled in one small school district in west-central Minnesota. Therefore, the population selected cannot represent all middle school students throughout the United States. Each of the lessons used for this study involved the students in an art history topic and a corresponding art project for seven school days. It is possible that the length of time that the students are engaged in a lesson could have an effect on its success in fostering cultural awareness. There were no actual Eid al-Adha celebrations, or pow-wows, or similar cultural events being held nearby for the students to attend to have direct experiences with each culture. Their experiences were vicarious, and direct experience may have provided a better measure of practical
  26. 26. 21 application. The ethnicity of the researcher is 90.6% White and the majority of her life has been spent in predominantly White communities. She is 9.4% American Indian, and has spent a combined total of thirteen years interacting with American Indian people and communities, including living on a reservation and attending pow-wows. She has no direct experience with Near Eastern culture or celebrations. Therefore, the researcher’s background may affect lesson construction and delivery. Since the lessons were done with two different sections of seventh graders, there are variables involved including the different personality make up of each section and an interruption for standardized testing. Each class, or section of a grade, has its own “personality” based on the unique mix of experiences, perspectives, abilities, and personality traits of the different students in each group. The Sioux art history lesson for Section 2 was interrupted by two days of standardized testing. The students in Section 1 did not experience any similar interruptions.
  27. 27. 22 IV. Discussion of the Research Results The cultural assessment data of twenty-two students was used for the Iraq and Syria portion of the study (eleven students from Section 1 and eleven students from Section 2). When their pre-assessment and post-assessment results were compared, 100% of the students increased in factual knowledge about Iraq and Syria. On average, the students’ factual knowledge increased by 46.19 percentage points. Before the lesson, 4.55% of the students responded as knowing one or more Arabic words. After the lesson, 95.45% of the students responded as knowing one or more Arabic words. After the lesson, 68.18% of the students showed an increase in interest in attending the Islamic celebration of Eid al-Adha, 9.09% showed a decrease in interest, and 22.73% showed no change in interest. On average, the students’ interest in attending Eid al-Adha increased by .87 of a level on the five-level Likert scale that was used (Figure 12 and Figure 13). The students wrote their reasons for their level of interest in attending Eid alAdha on both the pre-assessment and the post-assessment. Before the lesson, eight students showed a neutral level of interest, the most common reasons given being “I don’t know,” or “I don’t know what it is,” types of answers. Eight students showed a positive (yes) level of interest, with the reason given typically being that it might be “cool” or “fun.” Six students showed a negative (no) level of interest, with the most common reasons given being “I don’t know much about it,” or “I don’t know what it means,” types of answers (see Figure 6, Figure 7). After the lesson, one student wrote, “I don’t know,” as their reason for their level of interest in attending Eid al-Adha, while another student wrote, “I don’t know about them,” and another student left the reason blank. Some students gave reasons that
  28. 28. 23 expressed specific knowledge about the celebration, such as “Food and presents sound fun,” “Because Abraham is in the Bible,” and “They give presents to each other, help poor people, and eat food.” In Section 1, the tone of Student 1’s reason changed from an indefinite “could be cool” before the lesson to a more certain “would be fun” after the lesson. The tone of Student 9’s answer showed a similar change. One student’s interest level decreased from a neutral level to a negative (no) level. The reason the student gave for her or his neutral answer before the lesson was, “I don’t know.” The student’s reason when she or he gave a negative answer after the lesson was, “They might worship something weird.” The student’s post-assessment reason shows that she or he gained the understanding that the celebration has a religious connection, although their knowledge of the religion may still be incomplete. The student’s use of the word “might” shows that the interest level or reason could change if she or he had more information or experience on the topic. In Section 2, Student 5 decreased in interest, their pre-lesson reason being, “It could be kind of fun,” and their post-lesson reason being, “I don’t know.” The student’s factual knowledge increased by 53.83 percentage points, so her or his postlesson reason could be more from indecision than lack of knowledge. Student 4, who increased in both factual knowledge and interest, gave a post-lesson reason of, “Don’t know about them” (see Figure 6, Figure 7, Figure 8, Figure 9). According to the results, all of the students who participated in the Iraq and Syria portion of the study increased in factual knowledge about the Near East. The percentage of students who reported knowing one or more Arabic words increased by 90.9 percentage points. A majority of students showed an increase in interest in attending the cultural celebration. Students who showed no change in their level of interest or a
  29. 29. 24 decrease in their level of interest gave reasons that showed an overall increase in awareness of the cultural celebration. Based on the students’ increase in factual knowledge about the culture, their increase in learning one or more Arabic words, and their increase in an understanding of Eid al-Adha, the students experienced an increase in their awareness of Near Eastern culture. Although a percentage of the students showed a decrease in interest in attending a cultural event, over seven times as many students showed an increase in interest than showed a decrease in interest. Therefore, the lesson had a greater positive effect than a negative effect on student interest in attending a celebration observed in Near Eastern culture (see Figure 6, Figure 7, Figure 8, Figure 9, Figure 10, Figure 11, Figure 12, and Figure 13, Figure 22, Figure 23). Figure 6 - Iraq and Syria Pre-assessment Results for Section 1 Know one or more Arabic words Interest in attending Eid alAdha Reason given for level of interest in attending Eid al-Adha Student 1 Student 2 Student 3 % of fact questions answered correctly 46.14% 53.85% 30.77% no no no It could be cool. It might be fun. I don’t know. Student 4 30.77% no Student 5 Student 6 11.11% 53.85% no no a-Yes, a lot b-Yes, sort of c-It wouldn’t matter either way c-It wouldn’t matter either way a-Yes, a lot b-Yes, sort of Student 7 46.14% no Student 8 38.46% no Student 9 Student 10 23.08% 53.85% no no Student 11 23.08% no c-It wouldn’t matter either way c-It wouldn’t matter either way b-Yes, sort of b-Yes, sort of c-It wouldn’t matter either way I don’t know what it is. To do something new. It might fun to learn something new. I don’t know. Don’t know what it is. It might be fun to try it. It would be fun to do something new. I don’t know.
  30. 30. 25 Figure 7 - Iraq and Syria Pre-assessment Results for Section 2 Know one or more Arabic words no Interest in attending Eid al-Adha Reason given for level of interest in attending Eid al-Adha Student 1 % of fact questions answered correctly 38.46% c-It wouldn’t matter either way Student 2 23.08% no b-Yes, sort of Student 3 23.08% yes Student 4 7.69% no Student 5 Student 6 7.69% 38.46% no no Student 7 46.14% no Student 8 38.46% no d-No, not much d-No, not much b-Yes, sort of e-No, absolutely not c-It wouldn’t matter either way d-No, not much It may be good trying something new and learning about someone elses culture. I want to learn another peoples culture I don’t know much about it. Cuz Im not Iraqui Student 9 53.85% no c-It wouldn’t matter either way Student 10 38.46% no Student 11 30.77% no e-No, absolutely not d-No, not much It could be kind of fun I don’t know what it is. I don’t know much about the country. I wouldn’t know what to do and it might go against my religion. It would be fun learning a new holiday but I would feel akward not knowing how to celebrate. I don’t know I don’t know what it means.
  31. 31. 26 Figure 8 - Iraq and Syria Post-assessment Results for Section 1 Student 1 Student 2 % of fact questions answered correctly 100% 77.78% Know one or more Arabic words yes yes Student 3 Student 4 88.89% 88.89% yes yes Student 5 23.08% no Student 6 100% yes Student 7 88.89% yes Student 8 Student 9 Student 10 88.89% 100% 55.56% yes yes yes Student 11 100% yes Interest in attending Eid al-Adha Reason given for level of interest in attending Eid al-Adha a-Yes, a lot I think it would be fun. b-Yes, sort of Food and presents sound fun. b-Yes, sort of It might be fun. c-It wouldn’t It doesn’t matter. matter either way a-Yes, a lot It sounds fun to do something new. a-Yes, a lot Because Abraham is in the Bible. c-It wouldn’t I would be OK either way. matter either way b-Yes, sort of It would be fun. a-Yes, a lot It sounds gangster. a-Yes, a lot It would be fun to learn about a new culture. e-No, They might worship absolutely something weird. not
  32. 32. 27 Figure 9 - Iraq and Syria Post-assessment Results for Section 2 Know one or more Arabic words yes Interest in attending Eid al-Adha Reason given for level of interest in attending Eid al-Adha Student 1 % of fact questions answered correctly 92.31% a-Yes, a lot Student 2 Student 3 69.23% 76.92% yes yes Student 4 84.62% yes Student 5 61.52% yes Student 6 92.31% yes Student 7 69.23% yes a-Yes, a lot c-It wouldn’t matter either way c-It wouldn’t matter either way c-It wouldn’t matter either way d-No, not much b-Yes, sort of Yes, to try something new and learn about it… food. I love food I have never been to one. Student 8 100% yes Student 9 84.62% yes Student 10 76.92% yes Student 11 53.85% no Don’t know about them I don’t know I am not a Muslim. Because theres cool artwork b-Yes, sort of They give presents to each other, help poor people, and eat food. b-Yes, sort of I would like to learn about their culture and what their celebration is like. d-No, not much b-Yes, sort of Because it would probably be a good experience and be interesting.
  33. 33. 28 Figure 10 – Comparison of Iraq and Syria Pre- and Post-assessments, Section 1 % of students whose knowledge of facts score increased % of students whose knowledge of facts score decreased % of students whose knowledge of facts score stayed the same % of % of students students who who knew knew one or one or more more Arabic Arabic words words before after 100% 0% 0% 0% 90.91% Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding. % of students whose interest in attending Eid alAdha increased % of students whose interest in Eid alAdha decreased % of students whose interest in Eid al-Adha stayed the same 45.45% 9.09% 45.45% Figure 11 – Comparison of Iraq and Syria Pre- and Post-assessments, Section 2 % of students whose knowledge of facts score increased % of students whose knowledge of facts score decreased % of students whose knowledge of facts score stayed the same % of % of students students who who knew knew one or one or more more Arabic Arabic words words before after 100% 0% 0% 9.09% 90.91% Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding. % of students whose interest in attending Eid alAdha increased % of students whose interest in Eid alAdha decreased % of students whose interest in Eid al-Adha stayed the same 90.91% 9.09% 0% Figure 12 – Comparison of Iraq and Syria Pre- and Post-assessments, All Students % of students whose knowledge of facts score increased % of students whose knowledge of facts score decreased % of students whose knowledge of facts score stayed the same % of % of students students who who knew knew one or one or more more Arabic Arabic words words before after 100% 0% 0% 4.55% 95.45% Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding. % of students whose interest in attending Eid alAdha increased % of students whose interest in Eid alAdha decreased % of students whose interest in Eid al-Adha stayed the same 68.18% 9.09% 22.73%
  34. 34. 29 Figure 13 – Change in Iraq and Syria Factual Knowledge and Interest Level, All Students Change in percentage points of fact questions answered correctly SECTION 1 Student 1 Student 2 Student 3 Student 4 Student 5 Student 6 Student 7 Student 8 Student 9 Student 10 Student 11 Average of Section 1 SECTION 2 Student 1 Student 2 Student 3 Student 4 Student 5 Student 6 Student 7 Student 8 Student 9 Student 10 Student 11 Average of Section 2 AVERAGE OF ALL STUDENTS Change in interest level in attending Eid al-Adha (on a Likert scale) +53.86 +23.93 +58.12 +58.12 +11.97 +46.15 +42.75 +50.43 +76.92 +1.71 +76.92 +45.53 0 0 +1 0 0 +1 0 +1 +1 +1 -2 +.64 +53.85 +46.15 +53.84 +76.93 +53.83 +53.85 +23.09 +61.54 +30.77 +38.46 +23.08 +46.85 +2 +1 +1 +1 -1 +1 +1 +2 +1 +1 +2 +1.09 +46.19 +.87
  35. 35. 30 Cultural assessment data from the same twenty-two students was used for the Sioux portion of the study. When their pre-assessment and post-assessment results were compared, 95.45% of the students increased in factual knowledge of the Sioux while 4.55% showed no change in factual knowledge. On average, the students’ factual knowledge increased by 43.44 percentage points. Before the lesson, 9.09% of the students reported knowing one or more Sioux words. After the lesson, 100% of the students responded as knowing one or more Sioux words. After the lesson, 54.55% of the students showed an increase in their interest in attending a pow-wow, 9.09% showed a decrease in interest, and 36.36% showed no change in interest. On average, the students’ interest in attending a pow-wow increased by .82 of a level on the five-level Likert scale that was used (see Figure 20, Figure 21). The students expressed a variety of reasons for their level of interest in attending a pow-wow, both before and after the lesson. Before the lesson, nine students showed a neutral level of interest, the most common reasons being, “I don’t know,” or “I don’t know what it is,” types of answers. One student left the reason blank. Four students showed a negative (no) level of interest before the lesson. The reasons given were, “It’s annoying,” “Cause I would not fit in cause it is a different culture,” and “Don’t know what it is,” while one student left the space blank. The other students showed a positive (yes) level of interest, writing a variety of reasons including, “Like to try new things,” “It would be a good experience,” and, “For fun.” In Section 1, it appears that Students 6 and 9 already knew something about pow-wows, because one wrote that they had already attended one, and the other wrote about the “gangster dancing” (“gangster” currently being used as a positive slang term, similar to the slang term “cool”). In Section 2, it
  36. 36. 31 appears that Student 9 knew something about pow-wows because she or he wrote that they like listening to the music and watching the dances (see Figure 14, Figure 15). After the lesson, none of the students used an “I don’t know” type of reason for their level of interest in attending a pow-wow. In Section 1, Student 2 wrote, “I don’t know,” on the pre-assessment then left the reason blank on the post-assessment. Student 11, who’s interest level changed from the lowest negative to the highest positive, changed her or his reason from, “Don’t know what it is,” to, “It would be fun to see the dancing,” showing an increase in knowledge that had a high impact on interest level. Student 5’s interest level also increased dramatically, while her or his response changed from, “Cause I would not fit in cause it is a different culture,” to, “Because I would like to learn new things about different cultures.” Student 3’s responses showed a similarly high impact on interest level, changing their reason from, “It’s annoying,” to, “It sounds cool.” Student 8’s responses showed an increase in interest, with their reason changing from a “no answer” response to, “Because it would seem like a cool experience.” One student’s interest declined from a positive (yes) answer to a negative (no) answer. Before the lesson, the student’s reason for a positive level of interest was, “It would be a good experience.” After the lesson, the reason for the student’s negative level of interest was, “I probably wouldn’t like it.” The student’s responses show a change from viewing it as an experience to viewing it in terms of an opinion of whether or not she or he would like to attend. Such a change, viewed with the student’s percentage increase in factual knowledge, may indicate an opinion formed based on new knowledge of the culture. The use of the word “probably” shows that there is still room for the student to change his or her mind, or to develop a firmer opinion, if they had more information or more
  37. 37. 32 experience with the topic. In Section 2, it appears that Student 9 already knew something about pow-wows before the lesson. However, Student 9’s interest level decreased one level, although her or his interest levels and reasons remained positive. It is possible that the lesson triggered a more accurate remembrance of the celebration and the student’s thoughts and feelings about it. Student 10’s interest level increased one level, although her or his before and after interest levels were both negative. Before the lesson, the student left the reason blank. After the lesson, the student wrote, “It would not be fun for me.” It is possible the student’s new knowledge increased their interest while helping them decide whether or not the celebration would be “fun” for them (see Figure 14, Figure 15, Figure 16, Figure 17). According to the results, 95.45% of the students who participated in the Sioux portion of the study increased in factual knowledge about the Sioux. The percentage of students who reported knowing one or more Sioux words increased by 90.91 percentage points. A majority of students showed an increase in interest in attending the cultural celebration. The reasons written by some of the students show they gained an increase in understanding what a pow-wow is, or a more positive attitude toward experiencing one. The interest of two students in attending the cultural celebration decreased after the lesson. The reason that one of those students gave with their decrease in interest, along with her or his other data, shows an opinion may have been formed based on new knowledge. Based on the students’ increase in factual knowledge, their increase in learning one or more Sioux words, and their changes in responses about attending a powwow, the students experienced an increase in their awareness of Sioux culture. While a percentage of the students showed a decrease in interest in attending a cultural event, six
  38. 38. 33 times as many students showed an increase in interest than showed a decrease in interest. Therefore, the lesson had a greater positive effect than a negative effect on student interest in attending a celebration observed in Sioux culture (Figure 14, Figure 15, Figure 16, Figure 17, Figure 18, Figure 19, Figure 20, Figure 21, Figure 22, Figure 23). Figure 14 - Sioux Pre-assessment Results for Section 1 Student 1 Student 2 % of fact questions answered correctly 44.44% 44.44% Know one or more Sioux words no no Student 3 22.22% no Student 4 44.44% no Student 5 11.11% no Student 6 66.67% no b-Yes, sort of Student 7 55.56% no Student 8 55.56% no Student 9 Student 10 33.33% 44.44% no no c-It wouldn’t matter either way c-It wouldn’t matter either way a-Yes, a lot b-Yes, sort of Student 11 0% no Interest in attending a pow-wow Reason given for level of interest in attending pow-wow a-Yes, a lot c-It wouldn’t matter either way e-No, absolutely not c-It wouldn’t matter either way e-No, absolutely not Like to try new things I don’t know e-No, absolutely not It’s annoying I don’t know what a pow-wow is so it wouldn’t matter Cause I would not fit in cause it is a different culture It would be cool. I’ve already been to a little one. It doesn’t matter to me Gangster Indian dancing It would be a good experience Don’t know what it is
  39. 39. 34 Figure 15 - Sioux Pre-assessment Results for Section 2 Know one or more Sioux words no Interest in attending a pow-wow Reason given for level of interest in attending pow-wow Student 1 % of fact questions answered correctly 33.33% a-Yes, a lot Student 2 55.56% yes b-Yes, sort of Student 3 11.11% no Student 4 44.44% no Student 5 22.22% no Student 6 55.56% no Student 7 Student 8 Student 9 55.56% 66.67% 44.44% no no no c-It wouldn’t matter either way c-It wouldn’t matter either way c-It wouldn’t matter either way c-It wouldn’t matter either way b-Yes, sort of b-Yes, sort of a-Yes, sort of I like learning about Indians. I want to learn about other cultures I don’t know what it is Student 10 66.67% no Student 11 77.78% yes e-No, absolutely not c-It wouldn’t matter either way Don’t know about them I don’t know what it is It might be fun, it might not. For fun To see what it is about I like listening to the music and watching the interesting dances I don’t know
  40. 40. 35 Figure 16 - Sioux Post-assessment Results for Section 1 Know one or more Sioux words yes Interest in attending a pow-wow Reason given for level of interest in attending pow-wow Student 1 % of fact questions answered correctly 100% a-Yes, a lot It would be fun to try new things Student 2 77.78% yes Student 3 Student 4 88.89% 88.89% yes yes Student 5 11.11% yes Student 6 Student 7 Student 8 100% 88.89% 88.89% yes yes yes Student 9 100% yes Student 10 55.56% yes Student 11 100% yes c-It wouldn’t matter either way b-Yes, sort of It sounds cool b-Yes, sort of It would be fun to try something new. a-Yes, a lot Because I would like to learn new things about different cultures a-Yes, a lot They’re cool b-Yes, sort of It would be cool b-Yes, sort of Because it would seem like a cool experience a-Yes, a lot Fun to see Indians dancing d-No, not I probably wouldn’t like much it a-Yes, a lot It would be fun to see the dancing
  41. 41. 36 Figure 17 - Sioux Post-assessment Results for Section 2 Know one or more Sioux words yes Interest in attending a pow-wow Reason given for level of interest in attending pow-wow Student 1 % of fact questions answered correctly 88.89% a-Yes, a lot Student 2 100% yes b-Yes, sort of Student 3 Student 4 Student 5 100% 100% 66.67% yes yes yes b-Yes, sort of b-Yes, sort of a-Yes, a lot Student 6 88.89% yes Student 7 Student 8 77.78% 100% yes yes c-It wouldn’t matter either way a-Yes, a lot b-Yes, sort of Student 9 100% yes b-Yes, sort of Student 10 88.89% yes Student 11 100% yes d-No, not much c-It wouldn’t matter either way It would be fun to do something new and see the dancing. I would like to see how they dance. It sounds like fun. Sounds cool Because I would like to learn new things about different cultures It could be fun, but maybe I don’t have the same beliefs It would be awesome It would be cool to see what they all did and the type of food they ate It is fun to see what goes on in different cultures and who they have fun It would not be fun for me I don’t care it’s a party
  42. 42. 37 Figure 18 – Comparison of Sioux Pre- and Post-assessments, Section 1 % of students whose knowledge of facts score increased % of students whose knowledge of facts score decreased % of students whose knowledge of facts score stayed the same % of % of students students who who knew knew one or one or more more Lakota Lakota words words before after 90.91% 0% 9.09% 0% 100% Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding. % of students whose interest in attending a powwow increased % of students whose interest in a powwow decreased 63.63% 9.09% % of students whose interest in a powwow stayed the same 27.27% Figure 19 – Comparison of Sioux Pre- and Post-assessments, Section 2 % of students whose knowledge of facts score increased % of students whose knowledge of facts score decreased % of students whose knowledge of facts score stayed the same % of % of students students who who knew knew one or one or more more Lakota Lakota words words before after 100% 0% 0% 18.18% 100% Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding. % of students whose interest in attending a powwow increased % of students whose interest in a powwow decreased 45.45% 9.09% % of students whose interest in a powwow stayed the same 45.45% Figure 20 – Comparison of Sioux Pre- and Post-assessments, All Students % of students whose knowledge of facts score increased % of students whose knowledge of facts score decreased % of students whose knowledge of facts score stayed the same % of % of students students who who knew knew one or one or more more Lakota Lakota words words before after 95.45% 0% 4.55% 9.09% 100% Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding. % of students whose interest in attending a powwow increased % of students whose interest in a powwow decreased 54.55% 9.09% % of students whose interest in a powwow stayed the same 36.36%
  43. 43. 38 Figure 21 – Change in Sioux factual knowledge and interest level Change in percentage points of fact questions answered correctly SECTION 1 Student 1 Student 2 Student 3 Student 4 Student 5 Student 6 Student 7 Student 8 Student 9 Student 10 Student 11 Average of Section 1 SECTION 2 Student 1 Student 2 Student 3 Student 4 Student 5 Student 6 Student 7 Student 8 Student 9 Student 10 Student 11 Average of Section 2 AVERAGE OF ALL STUDENTS Change in interest level in attending pow-wow (on a Likert scale) +55.56 +33.34 +66.67 +44.45 0 +33.33 +33.33 +33.33 +66.67 +11.12 +100 +43.44 0 0 +3 +1 +4 +1 +1 +1 0 -2 +4 +1.18 +55.56 +44.44 +88.89 +55.56 +44.45 +33.33 +22.22 +33.33 +55.56 +22.22 +22.22 +43.43 0 0 +1 +1 +2 0 +1 0 -1 +1 0 +.45 +43.44 +.82 According to the results of the Near Eastern and Sioux art history lessons, both increased the cultural awareness of the seventh grade students. Both lessons resulted in an increase in factual knowledge about another culture, with an average increase of 44.82
  44. 44. 39 percentage points from both lessons combined. Both lessons resulted in an increase in knowledge of the language of another culture, with the percentage of students reporting knowing one or more words from a different culture increasing by 90.91 percentage points. Both lessons also resulted in an increase in the students’ awareness of celebrations practiced in both cultures with an overall positive effect on student interest in attending a celebration from another culture. On average, the students’ interest in attending a celebration from another culture increased by .85 of a level on the Likert scale that was used. The results of both lessons show that when the author teaches art history to her seventh graders, it raises their cultural awareness (see Figure 22, Figure 23). Figure 22 – Fact and Language Percentages Averaged from Both Lessons, All Students % of students whose knowledge of facts score increased % of students whose knowledge of facts score decreased Near East art history lesson Sioux art history lesson 100% Average of both lessons % of students who knew one or more words from the culture before % of students who knew one or more words from the culture after 0% % of students whose knowledge of facts score stayed the same 0% 4.55% 95.45% 95.45% 0% 4.55% 9.09% 100% 97.73% 0% 2.27% 6.82% 97.73%
  45. 45. 40 Figure 23 – Interest Percentages Averaged from Both Lessons, All Students % of students whose interest in attending a cultural celebration increased 68.18% % of students whose interest in a cultural celebration stayed the same 9.09% 22.73% 54.55% Near East art history lesson Sioux art history lesson % of students whose interest in a cultural celebration decreased 9.09% 36.36% 61.37% 9.09 Average of both lessons Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding. 29.55% Figure 24 – Average from both lessons combined Change in percentage points of fact questions answered correctly After Near East art history lesson After Sioux art history lesson +46.19 Change in percentage points of students who learned one or more words used in another culture +90.9 +43.44 +90.91 +.82 Average of both lessons +44.82 +90.91 +.85 Change in interest level in attending a cultural event (on a Likert scale) +.87
  46. 46. 41 V. Conclusion The author hypothesized that when she teaches art history in her middle school art classes, it raises the cultural awareness of the students. She wanted to find out in what way and how much. She teaches in a predominantly White rural farming area in westcentral Minnesota, and art history and the art of various cultures have been important elements of her teaching since her student teaching days. Through this study, she learned that art history lessons raise the cultural awareness of her middle school students. It increases their knowledge and understanding of art, language, traditions, and celebrations of different cultures. It also has a positive effect on student openness to other cultures, increasing their interest in attending celebrations observed by them. Cultural awareness has become an important topic for many organizations and individuals due to events happening in our society and around the world, as they see that cultural awareness enhances communications and promotes positive interaction between peoples. Children progress through stages of cultural awareness, and their attitudes become more difficult to change after they are nine-years-old. However, middle-school students are in a significant period of development for learning about other cultures and peoples. The experiences they have during that period can have a notable impact on the adults they become, presenting further opportunity for parents and educators to help them towards becoming culturally aware adults. Promoting cultural awareness fits naturally within the inclusive spirit of multicultural education, which is gaining support from a variety of people who want to overcome inequality and work toward a just and humane society. Multicultural education
  47. 47. 42 and art education are logical partners because of art's universal nature that spans the human experience throughout times, places, and peoples. The art history component of art education, with its iconographic and contextual approaches that reconstruct a culture's roots, traditions, and legacy, also becomes a natural partner with multicultural education. Art teachers who wish to promote cultural awareness in their programs have access to many resources that offer art projects that reflect the art of various periods and cultures. However, it is important to know how to go beyond simply doing a multicultural project and build an art lesson that effectively promotes cultural awareness. Kader (2005) listed seven elements that should be included in an effective multicultural art lesson. The author used Kader's list as a guide when she developed the art history lessons she uses with her students, including the lessons she used for this study. The results of both art history lessons show that teaching art history raises the cultural awareness of middle school students and has a positive effect on their openness to other cultures. It is important to note that the art history lessons used for this study incorporated the elements of an effective multicultural art lesson as suggested by Kader (2005). It can be assumed that different teaching methods or strategies have an effect on the effectiveness of a lesson. For example, the points Kader suggests incorporating include the geography, history, vocabulary, and socio-economic conditions of the culture whose art is being studied. It can be hypothesized that an art history lesson that includes those points has a greater impact on student cultural awareness than an art history lesson that does not. Therefore, using Kader’s list as a guide for developing the art history lessons may have contributed to their success in raising cultural awareness. This study has shown that art history lessons have an impact on the cultural awareness of middle school
  48. 48. 43 students in either positive or negative ways. How the content of an art history lesson, or various teaching methods and strategies, or a combination of either of those, effects its success in fostering cultural awareness in students is a potential topic for further study. There are several other avenues for further exploration. For example, engaging a group of students in an art history lesson and project for a shorter or longer time may produce different results. It would be advantageous to find how time impacts the success, and the positive and negative effects, of an art history lesson on cultural awareness. It would also be advantageous to learn how direct experience with the culture being studied may impact the results of an art history lesson. Gaining a broader view by gathering data from larger student populations, and from students in different areas of the country, is a possibility for further study. Another avenue for further exploration is to see how art history affects other age groups. For example, art history lessons could result in a greater or lesser rise in cultural awareness for elementary students, or for high school students. There may be an age group that art history has the most significant impact on, which would affect how educators approach art education and cultural awareness. Art history lessons raise the cultural awareness of middle school students and are assets to an art program. They increase student awareness of the richness and value of other cultures around the world. When the cultural awareness of students increases, the cultural awareness of the community increases also as the students interact with others and grow into adulthood. Schools can increase the cultural awareness of their students by including art history as an integral part of a multicultural curriculum. Art history is also an important ingredient for museum education programs aimed at widening the global perspectives of adolescents. The effect of art history on students, and the construction of
  49. 49. 44 art history lessons that promote cultural awareness, are pertinent topics for colleges and universities to present to pre-service art educators. They are also relevant topics for current art educators. Art history lessons build bridges between cultures. They create positive change in the world and help pave the way for an equitable, socially conscious future.
  50. 50. 45 Appendix A Your three initials here: ________ Iraq and Syria For questions 1 – 7, circle your answer. For questions 8 – 9, write your answer. Questions 10 is mixed. 1) What continent are Iraq and Syria located on? South America Asia Africa I don’t know 2) What other cultures and peoples have influenced the art and history of Iraq and Syria? Mongols Aztecs Babylonians Sumerians Assyrians The Islamic Empire 3) Who spun thread and wove cloth in ancient Iraq and Syria? Anyone who was skilled at it The men did The women did I don’t know 4) In Iraq and Syria today, who makes thread and weaves cloth? Anyone who is skilled at it The men do The women do I don’t know 5) In ancient Iraq and Syria, was it OK to make artwork showing gods and goddesses? Yes I don’t know No
  51. 51. 46 6) In Iraq and Syria today, is it OK to make artwork showing gods and goddesses? Yes No I don’t know 7) Do you know any Iraqi or Syrian words? Yes, I know one or more Iraqi or Syrian words. No, I don’t know any Iraqi or Syrian words. 8) Look at picture at right. It shows a type of art that has been popular in Iraq and Syria for hundreds of years. What is it called? By Hashim Albaghdadi ca. 1950 http://calligraphyislamic.com/ 9) Look at the picture at right that shows the Mesopotamian sculpture. Notice the crown, head, body, and wings. What does the sculpture mean? What was it used for? Lamassu ca. 870 B.C.E http://www.metmuseum.org/
  52. 52. 47 10) Pretend that a new family has moved to town. They lived in Iraq before moving to the United States. They have a daughter that is in your class. She is friendly and fun to talk to. One day she tells you that her family will be celebrating Eid al-Adha next week. She invites you to come over to her house for their Eid al-Adha celebration. a. What is a Eid al-Adha celebration? (Write your answer below.) b. Would you be interested in going to an Eid al-Adha celebration? (Circle your answer.) a. Yes, a lot. b. Yes, sort of c. It wouldn’t matter either way. d. No, not much e. No, absolutely not c. Please explain why or why not. (Write your answer below.)
  53. 53. 48 Appendix B Your three initials here: ________ The Sioux (Lakota, Dakota and Nakota) For questions 1 – 7, circle your answer. For questions 8 – 9, write your answer. Question 10 is mixed. 1) Where did the Sioux peoples live during the 1800s? a. Toward the eastern United States, including Ohio, West Virginia, and Kentucky b. In the central United States, including South Dakota, Minnesota, and Nebraska c. Toward the western United States, including Idaho, Utah, and Nevada d. I don’t know where they lived during the 1800s. 2) Where do Sioux people live today? a. Toward the eastern United States, including Ohio, West Virginia, and Kentucky b. In the central United States, including South Dakota, Minnesota, and Nebraska c. Toward the western United States, including Idaho, Utah, and Nevada d. Mostly in the United States, but some live in other countries around the world. 3) In Sioux culture during the 1800s, who made the beadwork on clothing, moccasins, bags, etc. Anyone who was skilled at it The men did The women did I don’t know 4) In Sioux culture today, who makes the beadwork? Anyone who is skilled at it The men do The women do I don’t know
  54. 54. 49 5) In Sioux culture during the 1800s, who painted pictures and symbols on clothing and teepees? Anyone who was skilled at it Usually just the men Usually just the women I don’t know 6) In Sioux culture today, who paints pictures and symbols? Anyone who is skilled at it Usually just the men Usually just the women I don’t know 7) Do you know any Lakota, Dakota, or Nakota words? (Circle your answer.) Yes, I know one or more Lakota, Dakota, or Nakota words. No, I don’t know any Lakota, Dakota, or Nakota words. 8) Why did Sioux people decorate their clothing and other items with animal parts like feathers, claws and tails? 9) Pretend you are visiting in a town where a lot of Dakota live. You see a Dakota girl wearing a turtle necklace, like the one in the picture. What special meaning does it probably have for her, in her Native culture? Beaded turtle necklace Date unknown http://www.aktalakota.org/
  55. 55. 50 10) Pretend that you heard there is going to be a big pow-wow near Lake Traverse. a. What is a pow-wow? (Write your answer below.) b. Would you be interested in going to the pow-wow? (Circle your answer.) a) Yes, a lot. b) Yes, sort of c) It wouldn’t matter either way. d) No, not much e) No, absolutely not c. Please explain why or why not. (Write your answer below.)
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