In the present study we have analysed educational activities related to the field of conservation and protection of cultural heritage and conducted by primary schools teachers at fine art classes.
This paper deals with the problem of awareness and training of teachers for teaching various contents concerning the conservation and protection of cultural heritage and with effects of teaching pupils according to the level of their capacity for critical judgment and evaluation of cultural heritage, its preservation and protection, and according to their artistic creativity, with the help of various teaching methods and forms of work, relevant teaching media, fine art materials and methods of artistic expression used in the educational process. It is important to comprehensively implement these learning contents at each developmental stage and to include a discussion on the problems of preserving and protecting the cultural heritage. If a teacher is qualified, informed and responsible and therefore includes these contents into the teaching process, this can in the long term contribute to the strengthening of national and cultural identity with each pupil. The study included 125 teachers who teach fine art classes in primary and upper level elementary education in Slovenia and 61 sixth grade pupils from three elementary schools from different Slovene regions and their fine art teachers. The objectives of the first part of the research were to determine to what extent and in what manner the contents on the conservation and protection of cultural heritage are included into fine art classes, what the teachers' views on these contents are, how willing they are to integrate these topics into their lessons and what additional training the teachers require in order to teach pupils about the conservation and protection of cultural heritage. In the second part of the research (action research) the objectives were aimed at improving the teachers’ qualifications and the pupils’ ability to achieve the objectives set at fine art classes with the contents related to the conservation and protection of cultural heritage. The data from the first part of the research were processed with the SPSS 18.0 statistical program. For the attitudes and actions related to the conservation and protection of cultural heritage and the attitudes and actions related to including these contents into fine art classes, we have calculated the descriptive and inferential statistics. To identify the differences between teachers in relation to the profession variable the Levene test of homogeneity of variance (F-test) and the t-test for independent samples were used. We have calculated the average (arithmetic mean) and the relative measure of dispersion (standard deviation) for the analysis of attitudes related to the conservation and protection of cultural heritage, attitudes related to cultural heritage, its conservation and protection and the attitudes and actions related to including these contents into fine art classes. Action research was carried out in three rounds. It covered the planning, implementation and analysis of the learning process and a concurrent survey of pupils’ attitudes towards cultural heritage, the awareness of its endangerment, conservation and protection, and an analysis of the students’ artistic creativity and the ability of critical assessment and evaluation of the importance of conservation and protection of cultural heritage.
Research has shown that teachers need training in the field of conservation and protection of cultural heritage and teaching aids to help them confidently unify information and facts and transfer those into the curriculum with an aim to help develop the pupils’ positive attitudes towards these issues. The study was monitored by means of qualitative techniques: direct observation in the classroom, the pupils’ concurrent survey, forwarding the questionnaires to teachers and students after every round of action research as well as data recording (work sheets, pictures, sound recording, fine art products). The survey showed progress in the pupils’ positive and responsible attitude towards preservation and protection of cultural heritage, in the design of their fine art work, as well as in the teachers’ increased ability to organize fine art activities and their greater responsibility for successfully teaching pupils about the aforementioned issues.