I have a question about the use of reading and writing in art classes that
my literacy in the content areas class has raised for me. Do practicing
teachers actually use reading and writing in art classes or is it just
something teacher training programs teach you about to then be left behind
once you start actually teaching? How angry would the average high school
art student be if you handed them a 5-page article to read and respond to?
I understand the value of learning about these things, but I am still
wondering about the practicality of it.
As an elementary school art teacher, I use reading and writing almost on a
daily basis with my students. Each time I introduce a new lesson or
concept, they have vocabulary words to write in their sketchbooks (older
kids have to define them). We read books on artists whose work relates to
what we are doing. My older students do written self-evaluations on
selected large projects throughout the year. My fifth graders do a one
page artist report. They may moan and groan a little at first, but they
learn quickly that there is a whole "language" of words that goes along
with art. With this knowledge, conversations about famous works and
classroom art are much more involved and interesting. Also, it helps them
to see how art can tie into other subjects in school. The most important
thing is to be consistent. If you make it part of every lesson, reading
and writing about art just becomes part of the experience.