Through observations, life history research, and qualitative data analysis, this study seeks to answer the question: Who and what influences elementary school teachers to ultimately use or not use art in their current classroom practice? This study examines the personal histories of nine elementary school general education teachers in the United States and Japan. Through reflections upon life history, pre and post teacher education this study investigates what influences the use of the arts in teaching practice and what influences the recognition of the arts as a vehicle for learning in a cross cultural context. In order to have a deeper understanding of this this study investigated what ultimately contributed to the shaping of trajectory and developing these beliefs which influence self-efficacy in the arts before entering into a teacher education program. It is with this self- efficacy already in place that teacher education programs make a mark on pre-service teachers' beliefs about arts integration, which ultimately leads to a new teacher's decision whether or not to practice using an arts integrative approach to teaching. This is a Cross-Cultural Comparative Ethnography. Using phenomenological based interviews and observations. The data was analyzed through a recursive analytic process which included both a deductive and an inductive approach. The study found four central concepts which reoccurred across the data sets. They are influences, self- efficacy, teacher education, and agency. The findings make explicit the similarities and differences across two cultures of how teacher's education, teacher's practice, and student learning are all influenced by the recognition of the arts within academic content areas.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/jana_silver/1/