Theses Doctoral

Constructivist Approaches in Museum Tour and Workshop School Programs

Yoo, Juyoung

This research investigated how constructivist approaches are conceptualized and implemented in “gallery tour and studio workshop” programs at three art museums, and the relationship that exists between the gallery and studio learning. To address these questions, I examined how administrators from each museum designed programs and supported educators, how educators facilitated teaching, and how students responded to the gallery and studio learning.
I employed a basic qualitative multi-case study. This method suited my research—an investigation of three cases (three iterations of a program at each museum)—because I aimed to understand the uniqueness of each case while examining a range of similar and contrasting cases. Data collection methods included observations of program sessions, interviews with museum administrators and museum educators, casual conversations with participating students, photos of students’ artworks, and museum documents.
The cases offer examples of educators’ teaching approaches, which reflect—or do not reflect—constructivist tenets, as well as factors that influence the connection—or lack of connection—across gallery and studio learning. Specifically, the findings indicate that a smaller students-educator ratio and knowing students’ information in advance helped ensure a conducive learning environment. Another relevant factor was the educators’ facilitation of dialogue. Students became more involved in interpreting artworks when educators were most responsive to their ideas, and less involved when educators asked leading or less open-ended questions. Program themes, reflections on the tour prior to the studio session, and motivating questions for studio activities helped ensure connections between gallery and studio. Additionally, exploratory studio activities and small group discussions in the studio helped students make unique choices within their art projects, whereas step-by-step demonstrations led to prescriptive artworks. Further, students’ responses reflected the sequencing of the program: ways of discussing artworks travelled from the galleries to the studio, and student artworks referenced visual elements from artworks displayed in the galleries.
While the findings of this research are not generalizable, they provide insight into methods and approaches that might be adopted by museum administrators, museum educators, and art educators who aim to provide school students meaningful and well-connected museum “gallery tour and studio workshop” educational programs.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Arts and Humanities
Thesis Advisors
Hubard Orvananos, Olga M.
Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
June 6, 2019