An investigation of factors influencing students difficulties in learning art and design

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This paper investigates the factors that affect students learning difficulties focusing in art and design education. Difficulties from different perspectives from background, school environment to the …

This paper investigates the factors that affect students learning difficulties focusing in art and design education. Difficulties from different perspectives from background, school environment to the student attitudes towards learning will be later highlighted. Recommendations and suggestion to overcome students’ learning difficulties are discussed.

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  • 1. AN INVESTIGATION OF FACTORS INFLUENCING STUDENTS DIFFICULTIES IN LEARNING ART AND DESIGN This paper investigates the factors that affect students learning difficulties focusing in art and design education. Difficulties from different perspectives from background, school environment to the student attitudes towards learning will be later highlighted. Recommendations and suggestion to overcome students’ learning difficulties are discussed. INTRODUCTION One of our goals in art education is to promote growth-perceptual, affective, cognitive, creative and expressive by engaging students in art experiences (Bates, Jane K. 2000). To have an art experiences several components needs to be taken for consideration such the students, actions and behaviour and the outcomes. Children come to school with different personality, social background, cultures and socio-economic. Effectiveness of a learning process depends on how well teachers know their students. So that teachers can plan the lesson well and at the same time modify the lesson according to students’ ability. Art is a very interesting subject can be taught in school though it is not a core subjects but its importance in children development is unquestionable. Children started with scribbling to forming shapes, in arts such progress are taken inconsideration by giving them guidance and monitoring throughout the process. Children goes to school as early as when they are 5 years old. This the formidable years for the children where external or internal factors can affect their learning and performance at school. These factors must be examined and tackle to avoid the children left behind in their study and they can gain long term education. 1
  • 2. LITERATURE REVIEW All children differ in temperament, cognitive abilities, personality and experience. These factors and many others (motivation, support at home, past education) contribute to success in school (Rivera & Smith, 1988) pg5. These difficulties affect students’ learning at school. Their greatest learning happens through their senses where they see, feel, smell, hear, tastes and how they move through spaces. Very much of what they say relates to the way they perceive the environments (Linderman, 1997). Both educational researchers and experienced teachers develop what might be called theories of difficulty. A strong theory of difficulty identifies learners’ characteristic trouble spots for a particular area of instruction and includes some causal analysis of why they occur toward improved teaching and learning. The literature on learning and development offers numerous ways of understanding conceptual difficulties, as well as recognizing problems of ritualized knowledge, inert knowledge, knowledge too foreign for learners to engage it readily, and tacit knowledge, the partly unconscious nature of which poses learning challenges (Perkins, 2008) FACTORS INFLUENCING STUDENTS LEARNING DIFFICULTIES In order for students to learn, there are several factors that must be considered. Most of these factors are external; they deal with social or cultural values. The school’s environment, teachers and administrators also determined their learning. Still, another important factor falls upon the student’s ability and willingness to learn. Here are several factors that can affect the way a student learns arts during these formidable years. 2
  • 3. a) STUDENT’S BACKGROUND Students come from various backgrounds. Some come from low income families while others come from affluent household. They may come from strong family structures in which the parents are professionals or are highly educated, while others students may come from a single parent household and/or have parents with limited educational background. Students from affluent neighborhood will most likely have more educational support and resources to help them through school. On the other hand, an affluent neighborhood will be filled with highly educated people. In many respects, students in these neighborhoods are expected to continue their education at college or university level. In struggling, they are not have full support from their family and they are not well equipped with school stationeries that can motivate them to study and developed their interest and creativity in the task given. Parent’s education background influences the children learning. Children that come from educated family and have an artistic ability will benefit more in their learning. Often, the affluent parent will have access to educational resources for his/her child. Also, the parent in from this sector of society will most likely educate his/her child directly or indirectly. It is more likely that these parents will have higher regards for education, set educational goals for the child and/or be models. This is not to say that a child’s education is predetermined by the parents’ education; however, it is merely one factor that can affect the student’s desire to learn. If we see from the art education context, this can affect students’ learning. In art lesson it might required some materials to be prepared earlier. Those who come from the low income family even to provide glitters or colored paper they could not afford it. On the other hand, students from the comfortable income and broken family, seems to face different problem. The parents might be too busy with their work or parents are busy thinking of their family problem might result of not give attention on their kids needs in their learning. 3
  • 4. b) SCHOOL’S FACILITIES The condition and availability of resources at a school can play a major factor. Teaching in a classroom that not conducive and with limited resources is tough for a teacher. A well equipped class with space and the least amount of distractions will usually help students especially those with learning disabilities to focus on instructions. Nowadays, most of the school has special room for arts. But the room are not fully well equipped for art learning. It is just an ordinary classroom, but for it is not suitable for art lesson that required water for example water color or paper mache’ where students need to wash their hands and their color palette. c) LANGUAGE BARRIERS If students’ language abilities are affected, they will have trouble retaining the lesson. Communication between the teacher and students can be greatly hindered by this particular factor. Students must be aware and understand the terminology that teacher’s used in the explanation. There are several terminology that might got confused or not understand by the students for example balance, elements, principles, distort and many others. d) COMMUNICATION BETWEEN TEACHERS/ADMINISTRATOR A teacher’s skills, expertise, and willingness can help students learn. Beside that teachers commitment and have better knowledge on the lesson content are also take into consideration. This rule applies to administrators as well. Support from the administrator can influence students learning. 4
  • 5. e) STUDENT’S WILLINGNESS TO LEARN A very critical factor that influences students learning difficulties in art education is the student’s willingness to learn. If a student is eager, motivated, or goal oriented, the likelihood is that student will learn. If not, the student may regurgitate the education given to him or her but not retain it. However, in the long run, the willingness to learn may trump all other factors, for it is up to the individual to overcome difficulties and reach the educational goal that he or she wants. RECOMMENDATIONS According to Bloom, the environment will have the greatest impact on a specific trait, during that’s trait’s period of greatest growth. In other words, if we ignore this period of rapid growth of the intellect during these early preschool years, we may never be able to make up for this loss of growth. For the preschooler, this means we must provide the most stimulating, challenging, meaningful and perceptive experiences that we can during this accelerated growth period (Linderman, 1997). Facing students with severe family problems which affect their academic performance, a meeting with the administrator to overcome the problem is important. Then the administrator might call up the parents by showing the students performance record. Students can learn best if they are exposed with multiple media to experiment it in the task given. Teacher must find initiatives to overcome the problem of students who don’t have any stationary either by asking the budget from the administrator or ask for sponsorship. In this way, that particular students will not feel aside and did not lost his interest in learning. Teacher also must be very creative in using the spaces in the classroom and make sure the classroom is conducive and can attract students in learning. The special room that most of the school has nowadays may only suitable for learning and displaying students work. If that day lesson requires the students to use sink and water, teacher may adapt 5
  • 6. different approach such ah learning outside the classroom. Teacher may use the school area which is suitable for learning and near to tap water or school’s sink. In teaching, teacher must use simple and easy terminology for students understanding. If teacher must use the art terminology, make sure students understand by the term by asking them questions and ask for their understanding in the lesson. If possible terminology that teacher going to use must be explain earlier before teacher explain about the lesson content so that students will understand more easily. It may be necessary to teach prerequisite skills or modify curricular materials before introducing new materials (Rivera, Deborah 1997) This is best done if teacher have good communication with the students. Teacher must always have a good rapport with the students so that student’s progress will be better aware by the teacher. In this way any difficulties arise will be handle earlier before it go bad. Good communication with the administrator is important to maintain stability in teaching and support from the administrator can motivate not only teacher but also for the students. If the students have good communication with the teachers and also the administrator there will be no problem on student’s willingness to learn art in the classroom. In fact, they will love the lesson and enjoy the lesson so much. Teacher must tackle their self esteem and develop their interest at early stage of learning. CONCLUSION Students learning difficulties in any aspects must be tackle at early stage so that it can meet the academic need. The challenge for teachers is to implement and adapt method that can help students to participate and show their interest in learning. Teachers must understand the characteristics of the students so that positive learning environments can be develop. 6
  • 7. REFERENCES David Perkins, (2008) Senior Professor Theories of Difficulty. Harvard Graduate School of Education Factors that affect student learning, retrieved on 19.02.2013; Rivera, Diane Pedrotty (1988), Teaching Students With Learning and Behavior Problems, A Viacom Company, USA Schirrmacher, Robert (1988), Art and Creative Development for Young Children; Delmar Publisher Inc Turner, Christine (2011) Supporting Children With Learning Difficulties: Holistic Solutions for Severe Profound and Multiple Disabilities, Continuum International Publishing Group 7