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Lesson Plans

Re: Visual Thinking Skills

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
wendy sauls (wsauls)
Sat, 15 May 1999 19:47:13 -0400


i attended a vts workshop and was disappointed. while i agree its important
to have kids respond to artwork unhindered by what we tell them as PART of
the learning/critiquing process, i don't see how this can be touted as a
complete experience. its our job (i think) to give kids information when
they are ready for it ---my students demand it of me! many times i have to
go back and do more research on my own to answer the tough, specific
questions my kids ask me about an artwork. they usually aren't happy with
just conjecture on my part, either. from watching and listening to my
middle school students, i believe a real response to an artwork for them
involves a complex process that takes time and input from resources in
addition to the artwork itself. the framework i and my students are most
comfortable with is tom anderson's method which includes initial reaction
expanded through stages of visual analysis as well as incorporation of
contextual/background information. to me it is a much more in-depth,
thorough, and valid process than just having students fantasize about what
an artwork means and ending it there.

one of the things that turned me off most about the vts method or philosophy
is that there seemed to be a very snobbish undercurrent. it appeared to
me that the presenter believed so few of the intellectual elite could go
through a formal critiquing process, so few people want to and are capable
of learning about art, why bother? why not just let them make up pretty
stories rather than worry them with lots of information?

my experience with students and "non-artsy" friends proves this false. i
have found almost any artwork presented with lots of enthusiasm and
stimulating related information and the chance for lively discussion is of
interest and meaningful in some way to almost everyone. maybe i've just
been really lucky to not have run into many of the dodos and philistines out

:D wendy