UNESCO-NIE Centre for Arts Research in Education (CARE)

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Name of Author: 
Cheong, Pauline Siew Lin
National Institute of Education
Year of completion: 
Country of Research Data: 

An Academic Exercise submitted in partial fulfillment of requirements for Bachelor of Arts (Hons)


Students often attempt to excel academically in art at the expense of learning. They approach learning in a superficial or "shallow" manner which does not result in meaningful learning. There exists a pressing need for in-depth learning or "deep learning" in art. With deep learning, students would learn more by emphasizing the process of making art rather than being preoccupied with the end-product. Deep learning aids in the growth and development of students by means of intrinsic motivation, inducing in learners the ''want? to learn. Eisner supports this by saying that one of the most important contributions that schools can make to a person's development is "the disposition to continue to learn throughout life" (Eisner, 2002).

If art wants to continue to have a role in education through the 20th century then it has to engage with learners and their approach towards learning in art. In Singapore, there are no known researches conducted on art learning among primary school students. This lack of research could account for the declining interest in art learning among students. Notably, these students are fresh graduates from primary school entering secondary school. These students form apathetic attitudes towards art that gradually wanes into dislike and ignorance. Students' profound misunderstandings about art lead them to be extrinsically motivated in their approach towards learning art.

The intention of this study is to review the learning of art among primary school students in Singapore. It will consider the unique context of Singapore's education system and introduce and analyse some important concepts and ideas from art education and educational psychology. This study will be supplemented by quantitative and qualitative research on art learners in primary school. The research seeks to uncover learners' art experiences in school, learners' concept of artistic learning, the learning they have acquired and their types of interest in art. With the analysis, this study makes known the ways in which learning is acquired by primary school students and the issues and implications for art learning in Singapore. The objective is to construct framework which would help stimulate and support artistic learning by means of deep learning among primary school students in Singapore.

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