Masters Thesis

Aligning the state standards with student-directed learning in a high school art course: a resource guide for art educators

Current trends in education seek to put learners at the center of their educational experiences in order to develop skills deemed necessary to succeed in the 21st century; however, the effectiveness of this goal is hindered due to the perpetuation of an outdated construct of schools. Research on student-directed learning suggests that this approach increases student engagement and motivation and nurtures 21st century skills such as creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration because greater control and responsibility is put into the hands of the students themselves; however, there is very little evidence in the literature that suggests how such an approach also enables students to meet state content standards. This thesis project demonstrates that with proper scaffolding, student-directed learning in the high school art classroom is indeed effective in supporting students in the development of 21st century skills while maintaining the rigor necessary to meet the state content standards for the visual arts. The curriculum framework represents standards-aligned strategies, student resources, and specific lessons and activities for art educators to successfully scaffold and implement a student-directed approach in a high school art class over the course of one semester.

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