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A. Ramasoot, S. Khayankij

Chulalongkorn University (THAILAND)
The purpose of this research was to study teachers’ roles in organizing aesthetic experiences for preschoolers in schools under the Office of the Basic Education Commission in 3 aspects: 1) being aesthetic role model 2) arranging contexts and 3) organizing activities.

The samples were 332 preschool teachers in schools under the Office of the Basic Education Commission from 4 regions of Thailand: 97 teachers from the northern region, 80 teachers from the central region, 84 teachers from the northeastern region and 71 teachers from the southern region. There were four sets of research tools- a questionnaire, a semi-interview, an observation form, and a survey. The data were analyzed by using frequency, mean, percentage, standard deviation, and content analysis. The research findings were as follows:            

Teachers’ roles in organizing aesthetic experiences were at high level ( = 4.06, S.D. = 0.42). The highest performance of teacher was being aesthetic role model ( = 4.14, S.D. = 0.42); followed by organizing activities ( = 4.03, S.D. = 0.49); and arranging environments ( = 4.01, S.D. = 0.52) respectively.          

Being aesthetic role model was achieved by sharing beauty in art, nature and disposition with preschoolers; in expression, by dressing appropriately; in emotional modeling, by having a sense of humour, being enthusiastic, and in calmly helping children through difficult situations. This included using body language to build trust with children; and being communication model by speaking clearly with a neutral voice.

Teachers’ role in arranging contexts was seen in the decoration and layout of their classrooms based on their children’s interests, the classroom decoration's relevance to the lesson units, and in the preparation of clear and multi-purpose spaces in classrooms. Materials and furniture in classrooms were provided by schools, so the lack of variety in both materials and furniture were a result of limited budgets.

Regarding organizing activities, teachers inspired preschoolers by taking them outside (e.g. to gardens), selecting age-appropriate activities to promoting focus and attention, and using open-ended questions to encourage creative thinking and imaginative expression. Teachers bolstered children’s strengths with compliments and overcome their weaknesses and build their confidence by providing opportunities for practices, and grouping children among different competence. Shortage of budget was still one of the main reasons for the lack of diversity in organizing aesthetic activities. Teachers’ limited understanding of diversity in art and limited time for the preparation of materials had a direct impact on variety of children’s work. Furthermore, important information about child development was often lost as teachers rarely record children's expressions during aesthetic activities.