Academic journal article CEPS Journal : Center for Educational Policy Studies Journal

The Differences between Pre-Service Chemistry, Fine Art, and Primary Education Teachers regarding Interest and Knowledge about Fine Art Materials

Academic journal article CEPS Journal : Center for Educational Policy Studies Journal

The Differences between Pre-Service Chemistry, Fine Art, and Primary Education Teachers regarding Interest and Knowledge about Fine Art Materials

Article excerpt

Introduction

Fine art and chemistry can be interdisciplinarily integrated into education from the primary to secondary and university levels. The primary purpose of this paper is to identify the level of knowledge about fine art material that can influence primary school, chemistry, and fine art teachers' implementation of this context into their teaching. It is essential to emphasise that knowledge of the chemistry of fine art materials can be beneficial for fine art teachers. This knowledge can help them be aware of possibilities and limitations that a specific fine art material can be used to define the techniques and application of these materials in fine art classes. Chemistry teachers can benefit from fine art materials when explaining the chemical characteristics of these substances.

The chemistry education community has recognised that the examination of artwork is a valuable tool for teaching science to students at all stages of education (Uffelman, 2007). Since the late 1970s, different reports have suggested how to integrate fine art into chemistry classes in ways that represent the cognitive features of chemistry contents through various fine art materials, fine art techniques, and other features of artworks (Denio, 1979; Newman, 1972; Stamovlasis, 2003).

One of the aims of the general science and chemistry curriculum is to make science and chemistry more relevant to students, including by relating art to chemistry in interdisciplinary, individualised, and life-oriented approaches to learning the content of these subjects (Kafetzopoulos, Spyrellis, & Lymperopoulou-Karaliota, 2006). Gaquere-Parker and Perker (2012) suggested that students from all backgrounds benefit from working with real-life applications of chemistry and by keeping the students engaged with cross-disciplinary examples (such as fine art products). Using simple art concepts can assist non-science university students in better appreciating scientific facts related to chemistry (Hemraj-Benny & Beckford, 2014).

For implementation in school environments, practices dealing with fine art materials and techniques can be found, for example making paint (Potočnik, 2017; Solomon Rutkowsky, Mahon, & Halpern, 2011) and exploring ancient and modern pigments (Orna, 2001), dyes and dying process (Alves, Manhita, Barrocas Diasb, & Ferreira, 2014; Epp, 1995), glass, pottery, and ceramics (Denio, 2001; Kolb & Kolb, 2000). Furthermore, in close observation of art objects, students can be introduced to a variety of modern analytical tools and tests designed to assess the composition, age, and condition of art objects. Students learn to perform elemental analyses with a hand-held X-ray device, fluorescence (XRF) device, to collect infrared (IR) spectroscopic data on dyes and binders, to use gas chromatography and mass spectrometry (GC-MS) to analyse paint-binding media, and to use florescence microscopy for close observation of paint chip cross-sections (Wells & Haaf, 2013).

Some research (Burton, Horowitz, & Abeles, 1999; Danipog & Ferido, 2011) in the last two decades has shown that students exposed to art-based chemistry activities have significantly higher mean scores in chemistry achievement tests (e.g., they easily made connections between new and old information, they related the familiar with the unfamiliar information, and integrated the new intellectual challenge into the existing mental structures) than the students exposed to non-art-based activities did.

As mentioned above, fine art material can be used for stimulating students' individual interests and self-concepts about science in general (e.g., students beliefs about their academic performance), and specifically in chemistry. According to Schraw, Flowerday, and Lehman (2001), interest stimulates learning, and promoting interest in the classroom increases students' intrinsic motivation to learn (Belova & Eilks, 2014; Pressley, El-Dinary, Marks, Brown, & Stein, 1992; Slapničar, Devetak, Glažar, & Pavlin, 2017). …

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