Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Adria Hoffman Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Joan Rhodes Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Lisa Abrams Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Lisa Donovan Ph.D.

Fifth Advisor

Yi Wen Wei Ph.D.


The purpose of this study was to examine how elementary teachers applied their professional learning to integrate arts in the classroom. The research questions guiding the study included: (1) What content, skills, and understandings do teachers transfer from professional learning to practice? and (2) How do teachers navigate the implementation of arts integration? Knowles' (1978) Adult Learning Theory was used to examine how meeting the needs of teachers as adult learners during professional learning influenced the implementation experience.

A case study design employing qualitative data collection methods such as focus groups, individual interviews, and the sharing of artifacts from practice was used to better understand the knowledge transferred from professional learning to practice and the influences on these participants’ actions during implementation (Creswell & Poth, 2018). Four participants were purposefully selected to ensure they work with Prek-5 students, have attended professional learning for arts integration through the same organization, and planned to employ arts integration methods in the spring of 2022. Transcripts were analyzed through memoing, inductive hand-coding, and the development of themes, while shared artifacts informed the understanding of participant responses.

The central finding of this study suggests that the use of an experience-based instructional approach during professional learning for arts integration supports the acquisition and transfer of new knowledge to practice. This finding is significant because it suggests implications for the field of arts integration and adult learning. Specifically, being in the role of a student while immersed in the arts helps teachers acquire and transfer specific arts concepts, skills, and understandings to practice, thus expanding their instructional capacity to provide meaningful learning for students. Other key points of significance in the findings show that the variation in the support these participants received and the obstacles they faced did not influence whether implementation occurred, only to what degree. Similarly, the participant's district, building leadership, and subject/teaching responsibility appeared to influence the support received, and the obstacles faced. Recommendations for further research suggest a more extended timeframe without restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic to allow the researcher to develop an increased understanding of implementation through classroom visits and observation of arts integration in practice.


© Amy Jefferson

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