From Deli Girl to Teacher of Artists: A Visual Curriculum Beyond the Script
thesisposted on 07.12.2012 by Jo Eaglin
In order to distinguish essays and pre-prints from academic theses, we have a separate category. These are often much longer text based documents than a paper.
This study is a partially fictionalized autobiographical inquiry into several phases of experience of the author, whose life illustrates the difficulties, struggles, and successes of an individual who experienced poverty and strived for success through community college, undergraduate work, and graduate study by perseverance, adept mentoring relationships, and learning through visual modalities. A substantial portion of the dissertation focuses on how this protagonist parlayed visual learning in teaching science to artists in a collegiate environment. This is a study of great self reflection. I search my past, witnessing the interplay of particular experiences and outside curricula involved in my development of what I am today--- a teacher of science to artists. With the following of a mentor, I began to entertain the notion of going to college, leaving the scripted life of those in my familial working class background. As I pursued this possible reality, I found my individual way of learning--- via the engagement with the visual domain. Lastly, this study finds me as a present teacher of artists, as they come to know science via this same domain. All self reflection is honed with the lens of current literature. This work is perhaps a glimpse of what may be involved with an individual’s coming to know oneself, and living a life of self defined purpose. Many in academia share these thoughts, and suggest a need to open the classroom—and anywhere that learning takes place—to the myriad paths of coming to know. Thus, the goal of this work and that of other like-minded scholars is to promote inclusion, to bring into the fold the multitudes on the journey to learn and to allow them each their unique path. As Greene and Eisner suggest, the many modalities of learning need to be included in the educational process. This would allow the visual learner, the text-based learner, and the kinesthetic learner to all learn—and communicate what they’ve learned—in the mode appropriate to their cognitive design. This dissertation then, is simply an attempt to allow for openness, inclusion, and allowance in the individual’s journey of coming to know.