Promoting Cross-Cultural Understandings Through Art: A Suggested Curriculum for Peace Corps Volunteers
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AbstractThis study examines how experiences with art promote healthy cultural identities of self and others, and focuses on the potentially mutual benefits to Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) and youth living in developing countries. As a returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV) and current elementary art teacher, I combine personal insight with multicultural art education discourse to create a curriculum intended for PCVs to implement during their service. In order to gain relevant feedback on the curriculum's theoretical basis and potential usefulness, I conduct a focus group composed of six RPCVs whose primary or secondary Peace Corps project involved art education or youth development. While examining the critical relationship between the curriculum's meta-narrative, frame narrative, and task narrative, in addition to the unpredictable circumstances Peace Corps service inevitably entails, research findings expose the complex nature of cross-cultural pedagogy. In order to achieve the curriculum's intended goals, implications include emphasizing the PCV's dual role as the facilitator and participant.