Pfeiler-Wunder Receives National Art Education Foundation Grant

KU professor teaching art course in park

Dr. Amy Pfeiler-Wunder and Dr. Erin Kraal lead their class of art educators at Kutztown Park during their summer course entitled Discover! Science and Art Integration for K-12 Educators Workshop, July 1, 2019.

KUTZTOWN, Pa. – Dr. Amy Pfeiler-Wunder, professor of Art Education, has received one of only 14 grants awarded by the National Art Education Foundation (NAEF) this year. The grant, which totals $10,500, was awarded in collaboration with Dr. Shyla Rao, principal of City Neighbor’s Hamilton School in Baltimore, Maryland.

The goal of Pfeiler-Wunder and Rao’s project, titled “Socially Engaged Pedagogy: The Impact of Teacher Identity on Views of the Learner and Curriculum Development,” is to help art educators understand how their personal and professional identities impact their learners. The pair will undertake both small and large-scale studies to collect data, with Pfeiler-Wunder serving as the lead investigator.

Specifically, Pfeiler-Wunder will be responsible for contacting, interviewing and creating the narrative portraits of 4-5 individual art teachers, their stories and how their experiences have impacted their current philosophy of teaching. Pfeiler-Wunder will also examine data from a large survey, which will be sent out to K-12 art educators nationwide.

Pfeiler-Wunder noted this project first began to unfold when she worked on her dissertation, where she examined how a common visual art curriculum shared by a district is interpreted by a teacher for students through the lens of socioeconomic status. Her current project further expands upon her dissertation work, examining socioeconomic background, race, gender among other identities in order to encourage teachers to embrace cultural competency.

“The research is intended to encourage teachers to think, ‘who am I when I unpack all my different identities both visible and invisible, shared and/or concealed,’ in the hopes that having a better sense of their own positionality will help teachers develop curricula where learners feel the lessons speak to their lived experience,” Pfeiler-Wunder said.

Pfeiler-Wunder and Rao hope the outcome of the project will create a collaborative and dialogical space in which teachers embrace conversations about intersectionality, recognize cultural competency and incorporate both into not only their professional identities and growth, but also into the development of curriculum and views of their learners.

A sister organization of the National Art Education Association (NAEA), NAEF supports visual art educators and promotes the teaching of art through professional development, research and program sponsorship. NAEF assists with efforts to represent the teachers of art, improve the conditions of teaching art, encourage research and experimentation in art education, and publish articles, reports and surveys about art education.

The Foundation has supported 330 projects since its inception in 1985. For more information, please visit their website.