The effects of instructional experience in clay modeling skills on modeled human figure representation in preschool children

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1979

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Abstract

The primary purpose of this study was to determine the effects of instructional experience in clay modeling skills on the Formal Elements, Structure, and Details of the modeled human figure representation in preschool children. A secondary consideration was to investigate whether there were sex differences for the Modeled Human Figure representation in preschool children who had been exposed to the instructional module. A tertiary concern of the study was to investigate whether instructional experience in clay modeling skills would have a transfer effect on a task of drawing the human figure. In addition, the drawn human figures were examined for possible sex effects within the experimental group following instruction. Seventy-seven preschool children (four years six months to five years four months) participated in the study, 41 in the experimental group (three intact classes) and 36 in the control group (three intact classes). Subjects were students enrolled in a private nursery school in a middle class, Anglo-American suburb of Houston, Texas. The duration of the experimental treatment was five weeks with fifteen 30-minute instructional periods scheduled three times weekly. Instructional experience consisted of 15 sequential, developmentally based lessons which emphasized physical manipulation of the clay medium; specific clay modeling skills such as flattening, indenting, rolling, incising, stretching, joining, stamping; and making and combining spheres, disks, cylinders, and other forms. The learning facilitators were the classroom nursery school teachers who had been trained by the researcher in the use of the Clay Modeling Instructional Experience Module Handbook for Teachers. Instructional experience did not involve any representational tasks nor were representational models shown to the subjects at any time. Pretest and posttest modeled and drawn human figures were obtained from all subjects. Five graduate art education students, selected in consultation with the chairperson of the Art Education program area, judged the art products. Seven instruments were used to evaluate the figures, four for the modeled figures and three for the drawn figures. These scales measured the Formal Elements, Structure, Details, and Structural Types of the Modeled Figures and the Formal Elements, Structure, and Details of the Drawn Figures. All scales were designed by the researcher for the purposes of this study except for two. Those used to evaluate Structure of the Modeled and Drawn Human Figures, which were designed by Dr. Claire Golomb. Data was processed by computer and then interpreted. Twelve null hypotheses relating to the primary, secondary, and tertiary research questions of the study were tested for statistical significance. Campbell and Stanley's Quasi-Experimental Design 10, the Nonequivalent Control Group Design, was used in this study. It was found that instructional experience in clay modeling skills did result in a statistically significant increase in the Formal Elements, Structure, and Details of Modeled Human Figure Representations. There were no statistically significant differences between the performance of girls and boys with respect to the Modeled or Drawn Human Figure prior to or following exposure to the instructional module. It was found that following exposure to the instructional module. It was found that instructional experience in clay modeling skills did not result in statistically significant improvement in the drawn human in preschool children although there was a trend for subjects in the experimental group to include more details at a level which approached statistical significance. There was a slight trend for girls to include more details in their Drawn Human Figure than did boys, both before and following instruction. However the difference was not statistically significant. The major conclusion drawn from this research was that instructional experience in clay modeling which emphasized physical manipulation of the medium, skills, and the acquisition of nonrepresentational three- dimensional forms accelerated the development of the Modeled Human Figure Representation in preschool children.

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