To see, to read: dyslexic students' journey through a visual thinking strategies museum/school partnership

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2015-12

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Baker, Hannah Rose

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Abstract

Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) is a teaching method that provides for an open-ended discussion of visual art objects. The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA) utilizes the VTS curriculum for their Partnership Program with the Boston Public Schools (BPS). Although extensive research has been conducted on the benefits of VTS for school students, no study has looked into specific advantages for those who are dyslexic. This study examined the MFA’s VTS Partnership Program in regards to four pertinent areas to dyslexic students’ academic success. These include student engagement, critical thinking, language skills, and social skills. Within this study, the voices of the participants', from students, to teachers, to museum educators, are prioritized. Sources of data collection were interviews, field notes, and documents from the MFA education department. The data provided indications on how VTS affects dyslexic students socially, emotionally, and academically. In addition, my experience with dyslexia was the starting point for this research. I present an autoethnographic sketch narrating my experience as a dyslexic student in the public schools. My history also renders transparent the biases I hold so the reader can discern how this informs my data analysis and interpretation.

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