Visual arts declarative knowledge : tensions in theory, resolutions in practice

Exley, Beryl Elizabeth (2008) Visual arts declarative knowledge : tensions in theory, resolutions in practice. International Journal of Art and Design Education, 27(3), pp. 309-319.

View at publisher


This paper focuses on the contribution literacy, linguistic, curriculum and pedagogic theories make to realising declarative knowledge (Wittgenstein, 1967) outcomes for middle years visual arts students in one multi-age Australian classroom. Understandings of literacy as visual arts content and process, as articulated in the Queensland School Curriculum Council (QSCC, 2005) Years 1 to 10 Syllabus, are analysed in terms of the above mentioned theories.. This analysis reveals four significant tensions: an absence of linguistic knowledge for the construction of declarative knowledge written texts; the assumption that subject English provides the skills base for the production of visual arts declarative knowledge written texts; slippage between the proposed curriculum orientation and teaching position for achieving high quality declarative knowledge outcomes; and, a lack of specificity for the form of metaphor to be used in visual arts education. The paper presents classroom data from one middle years teacher, Mr Brandt Ember (pseudonym), who takes up multiple curriculum orientations and teaching positions to facilitate high quality declarative knowledge outcomes. He commences the lesson by drawing on the students’ life worlds, and then moves into the role of expert so as to provide arts-specific content and linguistic instruction before the students complete their written descriptions. The findings contribute to the worldwide debates surrounding teaching and learning practices for developing visual arts declarative knowledge outcomes by re-issuing the call for syllabus planners to make the links between a content area and its literacy demands explicit and for teachers to reclaim spaces for subject specific literacy instruction.

Impact and interest:

3 citations in Scopus
Search Google Scholar™
2 citations in Web of Science®

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

429 since deposited on 31 May 2009
16 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 20886
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: This is the final author copy before publication
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Visual arts, Functional grammar, Declarative knowledge, Literacy, Art education
DOI: 10.1111/j.1476-8070.2008.00583.x
ISSN: 1476-8062
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200) > English and Literacy Curriculum and Pedagogy (excl. LOTE ESL and TESOL) (130204)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200) > Creative Arts Media and Communication Curriculum and Pedagogy (130201)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Past > Schools > School of Cultural & Language Studies in Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2008 Blackwell Publishing
Copyright Statement: The definitive version is available at
Deposited On: 31 May 2009 22:48
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:47

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page