From: Naomi Reid <email@example.com>
I have a question about critiques. In my province's curriculum
guidelines, (I teach in Canada) it says that the students should get
experience discussing their work and other students' work.>>
Naomi: I start with younger students than you do...but beginners at
looking at and discussing art all need to start simple and in a non
threatening manner. (Your comments about critiques struck a nerve with
My students spend about three minutes at the end of every class (while
I am grabbing stuff for my next incoming class) doing what some call
"pair share". I tell them to find a friend and ask "what did you do
today?" I can circulate among the seated students and prompt some of
them to ask good questions (where did that idea come from? how did you
mix that color? etc)
After the students have talked about their own work and questioned a
friend several times they seem to get the idea. I then invite four or
five students to the front of the room...perhaps they have all worked
on a similiar subject matter or medium. I invite classmates to make a
comment or ask a question of the artist. If someone says "I like
Robert's sculpture" I gently ask the all important follow up: "what is
one thing that caught your eye" or something like that...
If you try this, I think you will find that the students will get used
to looking carefully at the work of others and themselves.
Another end of class question I use sometime: "who had a struggle
today?" Many hands go up because struggle is valued highly in my class.
I ask the student to comment on if the problem was overcome and if it
was not we look to the group for possible strategies.
With my younger students answering one of these questions gets them a
place in line to go out the door. For some reason, lots of hands go up
when I do that...