This study was constructed to respond to concerns about the ability of teachers within Queensland Christian Schools to promote student development, understanding and engagement in issues and actions of social justice and how their level of understanding and knowledge of the Arts and their familiarity with and confidence in utilising arts-based pedagogies impact this. An interpretive inquiry using semistructured interviews and arts-based graphic elicitation sought to understand the extent to which teachers within Queensland Christian Schools educate for social justice through the Arts. Discussion centred on the themes of social justice, the Arts and aesthetics, and factors that influence teachers to incorporate these into their programs and pedagogy. Six different elements of social justice engagement were identified. Major findings suggested that the extent to which teachers educate for social justice through the Arts is determined by the quality and level of engagement in the different elements of social justice, teacher knowledge, skills and attitudes towards the Arts, and different personal and professional motivating factors. Specific training and support in aesthetics, the different forms of art, social justice and educating for social justice, including the incorporation of social justice understandings and actions into learning programs, were identified as areas requiring action to support teachers in increasing their own and their student’s capacities for social justice and to empower social justice actions. Further research is suggested to understand the connection teachers make in connecting social justice and the Arts.
Submitted in the fulfilment of the requirements of the degree of Masters of Education, University of the Sunshine Coast, 2015.