Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Major Professor

Bárbara C. Cruz, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Deirdre Cobb-Roberts, Ph.D.

Committee Member

James A. Duplass, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Stephen J. hornton, Ph.D.


Arts-Based Pedagogy, Multicultural Education, Social Studies, Socially Conscious Art, Teacher Professional Development


Ongoing educational reforms and the accountability movement in public education can pose significant challenges for teachers as they strive to meet a critical, social-justice vision for the social studies. Teachers’ continued professional growth and learning are viewed as the main factors towards achieving this goal; however, quite often the long-term impact of professional development goes unexplored. This qualitative case study explores the impact of an arts-based professional development program called InsideART on social studies teachers’ decisions for curriculum development and instruction. Semi-structured interviews, curricular and instructional artifacts, and researcher’s reflective journaling illuminated the impact of InsideART on social studies teacher-participants’ curricular-instructional decisions. As such, six themes emerged from the data analysis: 1) mandated teacher professional development lacks subject matter specificity to meet the needs of social studies teachers’ curricular and instructional needs; 2) arts-based teacher professional development facilitates a professional learning community; 3) arts-based teacher professional development fosters teacher renewal; 4) socially conscious, contemporary art and Visual Thinking Strategies fundamentally reflect content and critical thinking skills for the social studies; 5) socially conscious, contemporary art and Visual Thinking Strategies offer flexibility that allows coherence with the social studies curricula; and 6) arts-based teacher professional development creates a pathway for multicultural and global education social studies curriculum and instruction. The concluding recommendation resulting from this qualitative case study calls for the expansion of socially conscious, contemporary arts-based social studies teacher professional development in order to effect change in teachers’ practice towards a more critical social studies.