Doctoral student awarded IU Sustainability Research Development Grant

By 

Javier Cardona Otero

An arts-based research project by Javier Cardona Otero, a second-year Ph.D. student in Arts Education, has been awarded a Sustainability Research Development Grant from the Indiana University Office of Sustainability.

Drawing on qualitative research, the project, "Global Stage, Local Classrooms: An Inquiry into Performing Sustainability Practices with Preservice Teachers Using Children’s Literature and the Arts," harnesses the power of children’s literature and the arts to expose preservice teachers to compelling sustainability messages from diverse Latinx and Ibero-American authors. 

In the first phase of this research and art project, Cardona Otero will be curating thirty picture children’s books in Spanish to be supplemental and expand the collection of IU’s Education Library. Additionally, he will conduct a critical and intersectional content analysis of how notions of social, economic and environmental justice are represented in multilingual, bilingual and Spanish children’s books. The outcome of this research will be published in an academic journal and shared with the academic community at the Indiana University Sustainability Symposium in 2020.

Through artmaking and performing arts experiences as inquiry, I seek to stimulate, collect and examine what creative and arts-based pedagogical practices support preservice teachers and how they (re)imagine and (re)frame their practices as critical teachers and as stewards for sustainability in the global stage and in local classrooms.

Javier Cardona Otero

In phase two, from the thirty books selected for the Education Library, Cardona Otero will draw on the five most compelling picture books examined in phase one to integrate into two courses for preservice teachers in the School of Education. Through education activities, written scripts and visual material inspired by the five books selected, pre-service teachers participating in this performing arts and research project will stage storytelling events and theater performances for children. 

“Through artmaking and performing arts experiences as inquiry, I seek to stimulate, collect and examine what creative and arts-based pedagogical practices support preservice teachers and how they (re)imagine and (re)frame their practices as critical teachers and as stewards for sustainability in the global stage and in local classrooms,” Cardona Otero said. 

This art and research project is critical to the expansion of children’s literature scholarship through an inclusion of rigorous content analysis of Spanish picture books. It will build a critical knowledge base of these picture books through an intersectional evaluation that address social, economic and environmental sustainability. In addition, it expands sustainability scholarship within education – both at the university level with pre-service teachers, with the potential to also influence their future learners. 

Framed as an interdisciplinary and collaborative practice, "Global Stage, Local Classrooms" is mentored and supported by Carmen Medina, Associate Professor in the Literacy, Culture and Language Education Program, and Julie Marie Frye, Director of the Education Library at the School of Education.