Exploring the links between visual arts and environmental education: Experiences of teachers participating in an in-service training programme
SourceInternational Journal of Art and Design Education
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An in-service teachers' training programme was designed aiming to encourage art teachers to learn through theoretical and artistic experiential activities in a specific environmental setting (Lemithou environmental education centre, Cyprus). The programme was based on the use of the environment as an educational resource, and sought to develop participants' environmental perception through artistic activities. Teachers (N=12) from public nursery, elementary and secondary schools, with particular interests and backgrounds in visual arts were invited to participate. The present study is particularly concerned with participants' artistic work inspired by the environment in three different settings of the area: (1) natural (e.g. forest) (2) the rural-building (e.g. the village) and (3) culture and tradition (e.g. myths and people). Qualitative methods based on observation; diary reports and photographic material were applied on a case study basis. Results revealed teachers': (1) abilities in integrating environmental aspects in their artistic work, (2) positive attitude and interest for environmental art, (3) abilities in enhancing their personal power of artistic expression based on their experiences and the world around them. The findings highlight the significance of artistic experiential activities (hands-on activities) and critical enquiry in developing teachers' environmental perception.