Artistic Self-Perceptions: Sociocultural Learning in the Elementary School


  • Karen A. Heid University of South Carolina Columbia


self-efficacy, self-perception, mentoring, sociocultural learning, communities of practice


This study considers the possible impact of children’s artistic self-perceptions This four-year study focused on afterschool visual arts instruction in an inner city school with third, fourth, and fifth grade students who were mentored weekly by college-age students on a one-on-one basis. Through the theoretical lens of social learning theory (Vygotsky, 1934/78; Bandura, 1977; Noddings, 1995), the program’s impact on children’s sense of agency was analyzed. The researcher enlisted the use of a measurement survey each spring semester over the course of the study. Utilizing the dependent means t-test, it was determined that students showed important gains (significant at the .05 level) on a self-perception scale. The significance is attributed largely to the children’s active engagement in art, to the social organization of the art classroom, and to collaborative instruction. These sociocultural dynamics were cultivated, developed, and reinforced by the collaboration between the college-aged mentor and the elementary-aged student.