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Lesson Plans

Critiques and College Art Teaching

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
craig roland (rol1851.EDU)
Thu, 26 Sep 1996 19:24:11 -0500

Like others, I've found the discussion on critiques generated by Terry
Barrett's inquiry quite interesting. It's certainly touched a nerve in
some. Although I don't recall any real horror stories from my
undergraduate or graduate studio classes (perhaps I've surpressed them?
:^), I do have a few comments to add to the discussion.

Several people have raised questions/concerns about the teaching abilities
of studio professors and have pointed to the fact that few receive any
formal training in this area. I am pleased to say that here at the
University of Florida, I've been able (with the strong support of the
studio faculty) to introduce a course titled "Teaching Art in Higher
Education" into the MFA graduate program in the art department. This
course is directed toward MFA studio candidates and is an attempt to better
prepare those individuals to teach art in college and university settings.
If you're interested in more info on the course, point your browser to:

A portion of this course deals directly with the issue of critiques. In
addition to hearing from a few selected studio faculty on their "critique
methods," I offer students two "critique" models for their consideration.

Both are based on models developed by Edward de Bono (a leading advocate of
teaching thinking in schools) and are quite similar in nature to the
"praise, question, propose" model mentioned in earlier postings here. Both
lend themselves to "critiquing" a variety of problem situations and work
(not just student art work) and focus attention on the importance of

The first is called PMI, i.e., find the pluses, minuses, and interesting
things in the problem or work. The way I usually use this is to create 3
columns on the board (with a +, -, I above them). Then, we look for the
good things, things that need improvement or more work, and the things that
are just interesting about the work (neither + or -, or sometimes both). I
sometimes have students use this model themselves on their own work.

The second model is a little more elaborate:

Praise. Find something positive to honestly praise about the work.

Clarification. Encourage the student to discuss his or her own work and

Criticism. Help the student to see mistakes. Apply criteria (i.e., from
the objectives of the given assignment or problem).

Amplification. Encourage the student to think further about his or her own
solution or direction.

With each model, I stress the importance of encouraging the student to go
back to his or her work, re-examine it in light of the discussion and then
re-work/re-do the work if necessary.

I might add here, that I think the "Arts Propel" model encourages this type
of studio production and revision...and for that reason I favor it over
other art ed models. I'd like to also point out that I introduce these
models to undergraduate art ed students in our program.

More food for thought I hope,


CRAIG ROLAND. Associate Professor-Art Education.
Department of Art, University of Florida, Gainesville Florida.
32611-5801. (352) 392-9165 - Art Ed Office (352) 392-8453 - Fax

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