Primary student teachers’ perceptions of their prior experiences with craft-making in light of Hannah Arendt’s human condition
This article presents the results of a study about student teachers’ feelings toward craft-making and teaching crafts. As a teacher educator in teacher training, my interest lies first in student teachers’ prior craft experiences and in their prejudices about themselves as craft-makers in relation to the human condition as set forth by philosopher Hannah Arendt (1958/2002). Second, I am interested in how students’ experiences and their image of crafts affect their attitude to crafts and teaching crafts. The study uses qualitative content analysis (e.g. Cohen, Manion & Morrison, 2007), concept clarification (e.g. Kramer, 1993; Burkin, 2011) and thought experiments (Zalta, 2011; Cohnitz, 2006; Sorensen, 1992) to identify and categorise student teachers’ emotional experiences. The data consist of essays (craft biographies, N=144) by first-year student teachers which were written in 2008 and 2009 during a basic course in crafts as part of teacher education at the University of Helsinki. Arendt (1958/2002) labelled the elements of the human condition as labour, work and action. In this study I discuss how, for instance, Arendtian concepts could be explained in relation to crafts, craft-making and education. Arendt categorises craft, defined as things made by hand, as part of the concept of work. In this study, I consider whether crafts and craft-making could be part of other Arendtian terms as well and how these terms fit various educational situations. As a result, there is a need for additional terms alongside Arendtian terms to describe multifaceted craft-making and primary student teachers’ perceptions of themselves as craft-makers. In relation to student teachers’ memories on primary school crafts, I have labelled Arendtian concept labour as students’ credit-orientated activity, the concept of work as making-orientated activity and the concept of action as interaction-orientated activity. These three orientations of craft frame student teachers’ perceptions of themselves as craft-makers and their attitude to crafts.
Keywords: crafts education, teacher education, emotional experience, Hannah Arendt, the human condition
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