Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Karen Hamblen


The first and central purpose of this study was to identify and describe one high school art teacher's basis for incorporating into the curriculum right-brain drawing instruction based on Edwards' (1989) book, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. The second was to provide art educators with preliminary information about the right-brain theory's popularity that might assist them in future research on a larger scale. Computer searches of ERIC and PSYCH INFO were conducted to locate related research findings dealing with hemispheric function. The empirical findings were analyzed and compared to rationales for employing right-brain teaching strategies. The research methodology was descriptive and was referred to as an ethnographically informed case study. Data collection involved observations over a period of 9 months during the 1992-93 school year. Documentation included taped interviews, researcher's journals, and photographs. Two informal informant interviews were conducted. In addition, a survey was conducted to determine the prevalence of right-brain drawing instruction among a group of secondary art educators. Reviewed research supported this study's assumption that artistic abilities require both hemispheres and did not support right-brain concepts advocated in Edwards' (1989) book. It was concluded that the presentation of drawing techniques in Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain (Edwards, 1989) first attracted Ms. Bates' attention. From the research findings, it was determined that Ms. Bates used the right-brain theory to (a) maintain classroom control, (b) motivate students, (c) give structure to class, (d) give students confidence, and (e) give students confidence in her as a teacher. She also used right-brain drawing instruction because it (a) contained sequenced exercises, (b) was grounded in what she thought was research, (c) was easy to apply in the classroom, (d) was accessible, (e) easy to understand, (f) produced improvements in student artwork, and (g) put into words techniques she wanted to teach the students. A limited survey indicated that 53 of the 69 survey respondents used some form of right-brain drawing instruction in their current curricula. This study was designed to be the first step in initiating further research into the popularity of the right-brain theory.