Efficacy of the Arts in a Transdisciplinary Learning Experience for Culturally Diverse Fourth Graders

Angela Maria LA PORTE


The aim of this participant observation was to understand the efficacy of a modified International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program for fourth-graders at a public school with a large percentage of language and socioeconomically disadvantaged students. Data collection over a five-month period concentrated on teaching interactions including audio-recorded time samplings and observations of the art and regular classroom instruction, and interviews (formal and informal) with students, teachers, and school principals in addition to photographs, classroom portfolios, and other artifacts. The analysis, coding, and triangulation of data aided in understanding the art specialist and classroom teachers’ roles and contributions to the Primary Years Program. A cooperative school environment paved the way for student self-confidence and motivation for learning through (1) opportunities for student choice and decision-making and (2) collaborative, inquiry-based, transdisciplinary, project-based learning. Regardless of demographics, transdiciplinary learning through the arts challenged and motivated students to think and make decisions in collaboration with others, using and valuing the expertise of peers. Regardless of student ethnicity or socioeconomic status, learners felt empowered and enthusiastic about attending school and gained knowledge through inquiry and project-based opportunities. This progressive ideology and practice has the potential to benefit diverse learners in 21st century education.


IB, Transdisciplinary, Project-based, Art, Diversity

Paper Details

Paper Details
Topic Elementary Education
Pages 455 - 466
Issue IEJEE, Volume 8, Issue 3
Date of acceptance 15 January 2016
Read (times) 641
Downloaded (times) 401

Author(s) Details

Angela Maria LA PORTE

University of Arkansas, United States


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