Narrative Discoveries of Adolescent Students with Emotional Disabilities in the Art Classroom
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This classroom-based study explores the role of storytelling among adolescent students with emotional disabilities in the art classroom. The research is based on existing literature and seeks to make useful discoveries about the effects of combining art and narrative methodologies as a method for increasing participation and engaging interests among the student population studied. The research question investigates how students construct their own stories when prompted to share. To discover participant responses and the effects of storytelling, a visual exemplar and a TED biographical artist narrative of the contemporary artist Gabriel Barcia-Colombo were presented to the students. Data was collected to reflect students’ personal storytelling constructions in relation to the narrative examples which also included the shared teacher story. Student surveys, interviews, warm-up questions, artwork, and researcher field notes were analyzed for significant meaning. The author reports that storytelling in the classroom proves to have a positive effect overall on student engagement. The research findings show students had a clear vision of the personal stories they wanted to tell for their visual constructions prior to the artist exemplars. The author notes that the phenomenon of student participants’ predilection for sharing personal stories might be reflective of the supportive and structured environment in which they are cultivated. The research study results will be used for the design and development of future storytelling units to encourage students’ continual engagement in art curricula.