An analysis of attitude recognition, formation, and change concepts in selected art education textbooks

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Parks, Michael E.
Spoerner, Thomas M.
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Thesis (D. Ed.)
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The purpose of this study was to analyze selected art education textbooks to determine if art education majors were receiving exposure to attitude formation and change information as it relates to the teaching of art. This study was limited to textbooks designed for use in art teacher training courses.To initiate the study, university level art educators were asked to identify prominent art education textbooks from Books in Print. A list was compiled of the books collectively identified by the educators which was then further narrowed to seven texts based on number of editions and longevity.The content of each text was analyzed using attitude-related words as recording units to isolate attitude statements or context units. After all seven texts had been analyzed, each text's context units were sorted into statements of definition or statements suggesting action. Statements of definition, which revealed the author's understanding of attitudes, were subdivided into six characteristics of attitudes as identified by Morris and Stuckhardt (1977). Statements suggesting action were sorted into categories related to attitude formation and change as recognized by Berscheid and Walster (1969).Of the seven texts analyzed, five of the seven authors made frequent reference to attitudes and values, yet only one explicitly discussed their relationship to the art classroom. When discussing attitudes, the explicit author did so almost entirely in statements of definition with only 13.6% suggesting ways to nurture positive attitudes in students. The overall assessment of context units revealed that a total of 451 context units were found in the seven texts, of which 69.4% were statements of definition and only 28.4% suggested ways to nurture positive attitudes in the art classroom.With the one limited exception, the authors virtually ignored in their texts the body of attitude research from art education and social psychology. The frequency with which attitude concepts appeared in five of the seven texts suggested that their authors considered them important to art learning, yet no one discussed what they are, where they come from, or how they can be affected in an organized, systematic way.