University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Pattern and Pedagogy in Print: Art and Craft Education in the mid twentieth-century classroom

McCannon, Desdemona ORCID: (2019) Pattern and Pedagogy in Print: Art and Craft Education in the mid twentieth-century classroom. Journal of Illustration, 6 (2). ISSN Print: 2052-0204, Online: 2052-0212 (In Press)

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In this article I compare a set of early and mid-twentieth-century print publications supportive of the ‘new’ art teaching in schools. The educator Marion Richardson’s reflections on her use of pattern in the classroom in Art and the Child (1948) is considered alongside publications by artist-teachers such as Robin Tanner’s Children’s Work in Block Printing (1936) and Gwen White’s A World of Pattern (1957). The monthly publication Art and Craft Education first published in 1936 was a magazine for teachers of art which showcased the work being done in schools around Britain that were involved in the ‘new’ art instruction. Pattern-making in schools in these publications is positioned as a modular and constructivist form of learning encouraging multisensory and exploratory ways of looking at and making sense of the world. Ackerman (2004) outlining theories of constructivist models for learning stresses the need for children to be ‘builders of their own cognitive tools’, and I argue that the exploration of pattern offers multiple strategies for the child to explore their phenomenological experience of the world. Pattern-making is also presented as a democratic form of creativity and a means of introducing the concept of art into everyday life, inculcating an appreciation of well-made things in daily life. I argue that through the lens of this pedagogic print culture with this emphasis on the benefits of teaching pattern-making in schools a nostalgic and pastoral English arts and crafts sensibility can be seen meeting a modernist cultural agenda via psychological theories of child development, creating a distinctively egalitarian, child-centred and craft-led model for learning. Revisiting this moment in childrens’ education in Britain offers a timely insight into alternatives to the current educational landscape, with its emphasis on measuring pupil’s achievement and downgrading of creative subjects in the school curriculum.

Item Type: Article
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Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1501 Primary Education
N Fine Arts > NC Drawing Design Illustration
N Fine Arts > NK Decorative arts Applied arts Decoration and ornament
Divisions: Divisions (2019 onwards) > College of Arts, Humanities and Education > School of Arts
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Depositing User: Desdemona Mccannon
Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2019 14:34
Last Modified: 12 Nov 2019 13:28

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