Department Chair

Shirley Hayes

Date of Award


Access Control

Open Access

Degree Name

Art Education (K-12), M.S.Ed.


Art Education Department


Shirley Hayes

Department Home page


This qualitative participatory action research study explored the question, How might the introduction of a campaign to raise environmental consciousness in a high school art classroom impact art students and their artworks, other students in the school, and the local community?” This study was conducted in an all female catholic high school. One Studio in Art One class and one Studio in Advanced Digital Media class comprised of 15 students in grades 9-12 participated in the study. The data was collected and analyzed over a period of eight weeks. Guided by the lens of critical pedagogy, my focus was primarily on why students were not practicing eco-conscious behaviors, and what it would take for them to change their habits. I collected data through field notes, questionnaires, and analysis of artwork. I repeatedly read through this data searching for themes. The data was then color-coded and grouped. After a process of narrowing down the groups, five categories emerged: 1) Preconceived Notions and How They Changed, 2) Student Response to Eco-Consciousness, 3) Effect on Community, 4) Teacher Reflections, and 5) Willingness to Commit to Green Practices.

My findings illustrate the preconceived notions that were holding students back, what students needed to commit to green habits, and what classroom practices would help them learn more about the environment. My findings support the benefits of employing a participatory action research paradigm in a high school art classroom. They showed that students were willing to work towards change with a little extra push, that the preconceived notions of students could change with increased knowledge, that a community could be positively affected by a campaign to go green, and that I, as the teacher could create change through this research project.