“I Was Skeptical at First”: Content Literacy in the Art Museum


  • Arlene Lundmark Barry


This manuscript describes 51 preservice teachers’ reactions to their engagement with works of art in a community art museum. Participants were individuals in an adolescent literacy course who were future teachers of middle and secondary content subjects. They were initially skeptical about using artwork to support their content and serve as a catalyst for reading and writing. Based on their written reflections, however, attitudes changed dramatically following their experiences at the art museum and their application of the images to specific issues in their subject specialization. Analysis of their feedback showed perceived benefits to fall into five categories: (1) increased understanding of ways to integrate content, (2) development of additional resources, (3) practice thinking outside the proverbial box, (4) the ability to provide for multiple intelligences and learning preferences, and (5) an opportunity to get out of the classroom. Such benefits, they concluded, better prepared them as teachers.