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Issues in Educational Research, 2021, Vol 31(1), 149-165.
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What teachers learn from science and arts integration in a design-based learning framework: An Australian study

Valerie Lovejoy
La Trobe University, Australia

Vaughan Prain
Deakin University, Australia

Chris Musk, Lydia Poljak, Drew Roberts and Iain Stewart
Crusoe College, Australia

Secondary teachers face a plethora of advice on why and how to integrate science with the arts for mutual benefit. Diverse rationales for this integration are matched by wide variation in recommended programs. However, there is limited research on what exactly teachers learn, or need to learn, over time beyond the life of any particular approach or topic, to succeed. In this paper we contribute insights into this issue by analysing, in the light of relevant literature, participant teachers' learning after four years experience of a standalone, two-day annual program that aimed to integrate science and the arts in a whole-school approach. Our case study entailed interviews with the principal and key participant teachers, observational notes on program enactment, and participation in teacher planning and review meetings. We found that: (a) participant teachers perceived multiple benefits from this curricular innovation; (b) the integration was enabled by a design-based learning framework, and (c) diverse conditions were needed for this innovation to be sustained, with implications for other forms of program integration.
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Authors: Valerie Lovejoy (corresponding author) is a research officer and honorary associate at La Trobe University. Valerie has worked as a research officer on the Australian Research Council project, Improving Low SES Regional Students Learning and Wellbeing. This project involved working with teachers in regional schools to develop and promote innovation and excellence in regional education.
Email: v.lovejoy@latrobe.edu.au

Vaughan Prain is a professor in education at Deakin University. He has published widely on innovative teaching and learning approaches in primary and secondary science. His recent research focus is student learning through engaging with representational affordances.
Email: vaughan.prain@deakin.edu.au

Chris Musk has been teaching high school science for 25 years and currently works at Crusoe College in Kangaroo Flat. He has taught at a range of secondary schools in regional Victoria and has been Head of Science.
Email: christopher.musk@education.vic.gov.au

Lydia Poljak is a neighbourhood leader at Crusoe Years 7-10 College. Lydia is an Arts domain leader, a school improvement team leader, and a Bendigo Technical School curriculum committee member. Lydia's interest in the Arts goes beyond her school. She is the combined schools art show coordinator and a facilitator of parent partnerships.
Email: sheryl.poljak@education.vic.gov.au

Drew Roberts has been the Music Coordinator at Crusoe College for 20 years and has taught predominantly within that domain. He has also enjoyed time teaching digital technologies and humanities and is currently employed as a learning specialist at the school.
Email: drew.roberts@education.vic.gov.au

Iain Stewart is an artist who has recently retired from secondary school teaching. He taught for over 30 years, and has a background in both science and art. He has been head of the art department in two secondary schools and has a particular interest in the science and art of photography.
Email: iaindadio@gmail.com

Please cite as: Lovejoy, V., Prain, V., Musk, C., Poljak, L., Roberts, D. & Stewart, I. (2021). What teachers learn from science and arts integration in a design-based learning framework: An Australian study. Issues in Educational Research, 31(1), 149-165. http://www.iier.org.au/iier31/lovejoy.pdf

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Created 4 April 2021. Last correction: 4 April 2021.
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