Document Type


Date of Degree

Summer 2010

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Teaching and Learning

First Advisor

McGuire, Steve

First Committee Member

Williams, Rachel

Second Committee Member

McCarthy, Christine

Third Committee Member

Sunstein, Bonnie

Fourth Committee Member

Boldt, Gail


Using a multilayered qualitative approach I draw from hermeneutical phenomenology informed by autoethnography through a case study to illuminate the culture and community of three elementary art rooms through the lens of socioeconomic status. Through my own story of having limited art education as a child from a rural working class background I simultaneously tell the story of students from three economically diverse schools in the same district. Focusing on their experiences within the space of the art room, I explore the ways children negotiate identity, notions of class, and interpret the shared district art curriculum.

A rich description of each school along with interviews and conversations with children elicit important dialogue in terms of how the curriculum, in both hidden and overt ways, promotes a particular art aesthetic. Through a digestion of image, story and interviews with administrators, teachers and students this project focuses on the importance of action research and revealing one's own identity as a teacher and researcher as one attempts to unfold the multifaceted space of the art room.

Front and center, this project calls for relevant and meaningful curriculum tied to the interests and lives of the children. My attempt is to tell the stories of the children I was privileged to work with for a semester. My research is intermingled with my experiences as a public school teacher for thirteen years, partnered with my own multifaceted identity as artist/child/working class/mother/student/teacher/middle class/learner.


Class, Culture of the Art Room, Identity, Socioeconomic Status


x, 245 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 235-245).


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Copyright © 2010 Amy Lynn Pfeiler-Wunder