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Berit-Bärbel Rebane

  • Faculty of Art and Culture
  • Art Teacher
  • ma
  • Experience of 8th Grade Pupils Using a Visual Diary as a Tool to Support Self-Actualization Competence and Self-Expression
  • Tutor(s): Eve Kiiler, Margot Kask

This thesis looks at the role visual diaries could play as a tool for encouraging self-expression and developing the self-actualization skill in art lessons. 

As part of the research for this paper, the experiences of 26 middle school pupils aged 14-15 years were recorded over for five weeks. Pupils were tasked with maintaining a visual diary and making at least 12 entries. The students were given 17 introspective topics to choose from, but were also given the freedom to create their topics, or use the diaries in howsoever they deemed fit. Their responses were measured through two follow-up surveys, as well. 

Although much of the research was impacted by the exceptional emergency, the results gave a deep insight into how visual diaries can become a helpful tool for art teachers to support the creative self-expression of their students, and for students to ignite their self-actualization. At the end of the 5 weeks, it was observed that students became better acquainted with themselves.

The paper is structured such that the first part covers the importance of visual diaries, as supported by referenced material, and the psychological and self-actualization needs they fulfill.

The theoretical part is followed by an explanation of the research methodology used and the most important inferences drawn from the research. In conclusion, the paper seeks to show how visual diaries can be an inexpensive, accessible, and flexible tool for art educators to support self-expression among their students as well as further a lifelong learning and self-actualization process among them. 

Although due to the limitations of the sample size, no broad or far-reaching conclusions can be drawn from the study, the research successfully indicates the value that visual diaries can provide as a tool of self-expression and self-actualization.

Visual thinking and visual literacy
Safe place for experimenting with different technique
Helps to find motivation and keep moving closer to your goals
All thoughts and ideas are allowed
Makes difficult concepts more tangible
Visual diary can be a personal paper psychologist
Setting rules and giving challenges
Visual diary´s mind map
Personal place, where you can be hairy and honest