Advocacy & Policy

NAEA Position Statement on the Importance of Pre K-12 Visual Arts Educators Engaging in Research

[Adopted April 2024]

NAEA affirms that both research-informed practices and research conducted by educators in the visual arts, design, and media arts classrooms supports enhanced comprehension of learning outcomes, the process of teaching, and the improvement of pedagogical practices. In turn, this fosters student learning and curiosity.

The profession of teaching involves more than action and activity in the classroom. Best practices encompasses reflection, speculation, questioning, and theorizing. These practices focus not only on the outcomes of learning but also on the process of teaching. Engaging in discipline-specific, teacher-driven research supports Pre-K-12 educators in becoming more reflective; more analytical with decisions around curriculum and assessment; and more open and committed to professional learning.

Knowledge and perspectives gained through participation in research in PreK-12 Visual Arts classes enable educators to:

  • develop a professional disposition of mindful teaching, self-transformation, and lifelong learning.
  • strengthen learning and make the visual arts curriculum more relevant for students.
  • provide opportunities for creating, responding, presenting, and connecting
  • Engage in research and data collection, sparking collaborative relationships with researchers in other educational settings.
  • Increase their impact on the growth and development of the field of arts education.

Defining Language:

“Action research generates knowledge around inquiry in practical educational contexts. Action research allows educators to learn through their actions with the purpose of developing personally or professionally. Due to its participatory nature, the process of action research is also distinct in educational research. (1)“

(1) What is Action based research? Center for the Advancement of Digital Scholarship:,also%20distinct%20in%20educational%20research.

The Value of Teacher Research: Nurturing Professional and Personal Growth Through Inquiry, Andrew Stremmel, Young Children, 2002; edited and updated by Diane Horn-Winguard, Young Children, 2007

How to do Action Research in Your Classroom, Frances Rust & Christopher Clark,Teachers Network Leadership Institute

Detlefsen, J. D. (2012). A Conversation About A/r/tography: What Are the Qualities of Living Inquiry That Foster a Qualitative Whole in Art Education? Visual Arts Research, 38(2), 71–82.

NBCT Early Adolescence-Young Adulthood

NBCT Early childhood - middle childhood

Virginia Tech: Research Methods Guide