Original Research

The construction of knowledge through visual perceptual training in visual arts

Willem A. Mostert
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 12, No 1 | a988 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v12i1.988 | © 2022 Willem A. Mostert | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 February 2021 | Published: 31 January 2022

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Willem A. Mostert, Department of Education, Faculty of Social Science, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, South Africa

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Background: Visual perception and observational skills are an essential part of Visual Arts education, through which young learners, in the primary school, acquire important and necessary skills to create artworks during their creative projects. These skills provide learners in the primary school the opportunity to overcome their self-imposed criticism to their own works of art. Similar research projects highlight the inability of learners in the middle childhood to creatively express what they visually perceive.

Aim: The study sought to assist learners in the middle childhood to overcome the slump in their creative attempts through a series of visual sharpening exercises, in the form of an Art intervention.

Setting: A qualitative case study with elements of action research was conducted at a single site at a primary school in the Northern Suburbs of Cape Town.

Methods: The participants of the study comprised of four grade 5 classes divided into a test group and control group. The intervention was administered to the test group in the form of visual sharpening exercises. The practical projects of four grade 5 classes were assessed, analysed, compared, and the findings were discussed according to the themes identified during the study.

Results: The results indicate factors that might influence the visual perceptual skills of learners in middle childhood, while completing Visual Art projects. Analysis of the research data revealed an increase in the test group’s score compared to the control group. There was a marked effect on the test group participants’ ability to record what they visually perceived.

Conclusion: This study investigated and highlights shortcomings in the CAPS Visual Art curriculum for Grade 5. Bridging the gap between practice and curriculum shortfalls is important. The study suggests that the Department of Education (DoE) should supplement the Visual Arts curriculum with visual perceptual training for middle childhood learners.


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