Pupils' Creative Self-Expression in Visual Art: The Challenge of the Prospective Teachers

Pupils' Creative Self-Expression in Visual Art: The Challenge of the Prospective Teachers

Daiga Kaleja-Gasparovica
Copyright: © 2021 |Pages: 9
DOI: 10.4018/IJSEUS.2021070103
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The study is devoted to the organization of the teaching/learning content of visual art and self-expression process in practice. The article, based on theory, explains creative self-expression in the context of pupil's meaningful learning, based on the new education policy and the developed guidelines in basic education. The individual experience of prospective primary school teachers and their understanding of self-expression in visual art has been clarified during the reflection and pedagogical observation in the study process in methods of teaching visual art which led to stating the research problem. The theoretical account offered in the article reveals pedagogical possibilities for prospective teachers to organize purposefully self-expression classes in visual art during the teaching practice so that the pupil, learning visual art without professional literacy in art, improved his/her transversal skills acquiring the experience of self-guided learning, critical thinking and problem-solving, innovation, cooperation, and civic participation.
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Competence-based approach in education assigns special importance to deep learning which requires pupil’s active and interested involvement in diverse teaching/learning activities. One of the new key words in education policy documents is pupil’s self-expression. It is included in the domain of understanding culture and self-expression in art which envisages the improvement of pupils’ transversal skills, virtues, and values.

Observations during the classes in the methods of visual art course lead to bringing forward the problem that prospective teachers hesitate to engage in the self-expression process; they neglect their abilities in art, they do not believe in their creative potential, they are afraid to make mistakes and be misunderstood because their experience is connected with the teacher’s created subjectivity in the assessment of their work which has resulted in creating a psychological barrier for artistic activity and inadequately low self-assessment. This leads to thinking that prospective teachers do not understand the nature of self-expression and to doubting whether they will be able to be creative as teachers and be able to connect the freedom of self-expression with the teaching/learning content of visual art in order to plan and implement meaningfully the teaching/learning process that is based on pupil’s competence as the educational outcome.


The aim of the article is to analyze the nature, structure and manifestations of creative self-expression, possibilities of its facilitation in the teaching/learning process of visual art in primary school according to the education policy of Latvia and the readiness of prospective teachers to do it.

In order to reach the aim: 1) theoretical analysis of the concept of self-expression in visual art was performed; 2) prospective teachers’ experience of creative self-expression in primary school and understanding of the concept “self-expression” were explored; 3) the suggestions for the teacher education were summarized.


The data for the qualitative study were obtained in teacher education program students’ free-form essays. The respondents’ reflections were analyzed qualitatively to indicate pre- and in-service teachers’ readiness to promote the pupils’ creative self-expression in visual art lessons.

Participants of the study were 90 pre-service and in-service teachers.

The results of the theoretical analysis offer structured criteria and indicators for the measurement of the creative self-expression in the visual arts.

The findings of the empirical study will contribute in the development of initial teacher education programs and lifelong learning to help them to promote the pupils’ creative self-expression purposefully.


Theoretical Background

Self-expression in theory of psychology and pedagogy is related to the creative process, in which human conscious and unconscious psychic forces interact: man’s imagination under the impact of leading emotions creates new combinations of experience (Выготский, 1998), divergent thinking creates varieties solutions (Guilford, 1967; Cropley, 1999), lateral thinking opposite to vertical connects seemingly incomparable objects and remote associations (Де Боно, 1997), systemic thinking contrary to linear observes the diverse connections between objects and perceives things in their wholeness (Edwards, 1999), alignment and surrender to the flow in which the person forgets about his ego, loosens the difference between work and play (Csikszentmihalyi, 2002).

Giving up the dominant of abstract, symbolic, logical thinking to engage all human psychological components – attention, perception, memory, imagination, associations, intuition, etc. – is essential for the creative process.

The basis of creative self-expression in visual art is spontaneous expressions that come without strain, stereotypes, prejudices, and clichés. It corresponds to the theory of artistic innovation psychology emphasizing the extravert line of art works, when art works emerge as if out of themselves, outside the artist’s will; they are the expression of artist’s nature, the result of a creative impulse, a sudden revelation of which the author himself is unaware (Jungs, 2009; Eisner, 2002; Pöllänen, 2011).

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