Art Critique in the Classroom – A Feedback Technique

By |2018-11-12T14:08:46+00:00April 21st, 2014|
With new standards on the rise, 21st century skills as a foundation, and the expectation that writing should be present across all disciplines, it is pertinent that we offer our students the opportunity to write within our arts classes.  Although all of us can prepare a multitude of writing explorations for our students, historical, kinesthetic, expository, informative etc., a quick and easy way to infuse writing into your curriculum is through reflective practice. Enter the art critique!
My Visual and Performing Arts department came together a couple years ago to create a school wide expectation for writing an art critique.  It has proven to be a valuable exercise for not only our direct students when observing professional, personal, or peer work, but also for students who attend our concerts and experience our art forms.

ART critique

A- AFFIRMATION: this is a lower level of Bloom’s and Depth of Knowledge (DOK), requesting that students write affirmations of the work viewed.  Students often confuse this with an opinion and want to explain how they “liked” or “disliked” something about the work.  It is important that the distinction between affirmation and opinion is made.  Regardless of whether a student likes or dislikes something, their affirmations should be made objectively on areas like structure, form, or technique.
R- REFLECTION: this is still a foundational level of both Bloom’s and DOK, requesting students to now make an opinion-based comment on the work with supporting details and evidence for their perspectives.  This task allows students to subjectively provide opinions about the art, and justify their reasoning.
T-TECHNIQUE: still a lower level of Bloom’s and DOK, this section asks students to build on their prior knowledge by evaluating the technique used.  Whether it is the technique of breath during a vocal song, the use of key during an instrumental presentation, the presence of shading in visual art, or the accuracy of a pirouettè in dance; educators can assess student knowledge of skills presented in class by their ability to evaluate those skills on a larger scale.
I-INQUIRY: this phase moves a little higher on Bloom’s and DOK as it is requesting that they apply their knowledge even more, by asking specific questions of the artist.  To focus this task, educators can request that students provide questions regarding specific attributes.  For example, if I am teaching lighting design, I may request that the students ask questions about the lighting design choices.
S-SUGGESTION: similarly this task requires students to build on their understanding by presenting possible suggestions to the artist.  Again, this can be focused based on the specific skills you are working on in class.
T-TRANSLATION: at this point, we are asking a higher level of thinking from our students.  Translation expects students to interpret the artists’ intention and purpose, as well as explicating the possible meanings behind the artistic choices.
I-ILLATION:  as we move into the final tasks, we also move to the highest levels of Bloom’s and DOK.  Illation asks students to draw conclusions and make judgements about the work based on evidence.  Students can make technical, historical, or intention based conclusions, while using the previous tasks to provide evidence for their judgements.
C-CREATION:  creation is now the pinnacle of Bloom’s and resides in the highest level of DOK.  This section charges students to reproduce the artwork with license to alter artistic choices while staying true to artistic intent.  This sections is particularly enjoyable when crossing artistic lines for example turning song into visual art or visual art into dance.
Ideally, the art critique process would begin with first year students utilizing ART and each subsequent year adding a new task, for example, second year students would work through ARTIS, third year students would work through ARTISTI, and in the final year students will practice all areas ARTISTIC.
It is not uncommon for administrators to struggle speaking the language of art, so this offers a common ground for arts educators and administrators.  Although, as arts educators we know that the predominant form of assessment in the arts is an evaluation of a product or performance, however the education world often seeks assessment in the form of a “test” or an “essay”, and this accomplishes both.  Additionally, students’ artistic language also grows through the practice of this art critique.
Happy Writing!
Piquès & Pirouettès
-Typh
Reference:
Harris, T. R. (2013) ARTISTIC Critque: a practical approach to viewing dance, Journal of Dance Education, 13:3, 103-107.

Typhani Harris is a dance educator and mentor teacher who has been on the boards of both the California Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (CAHPERD) and California Dance Education Association (CDEA). Recently, she has made a cross-country move and is now an instructional coach in Brooklyn, New York. Having begun as a high school English teacher, it has been her mission to bring theory and research into the traditional dance class, and in 2009 she won the Music Center’s Bravo award for excellence in Arts Education. Typhani is currently on a mission to help teachers Stop Teaching and Start Reaching their students, check out the unTeacher Lab at stopteaching.org

12 Comments

  1. […] The ARTISTIC critique is a practical tool for critiquing art.  Please see my article ARTISTIC critique for […]

  2. […] ARTISTIC critique, have students complete the steps of artistic analysis.  (See my article ARTISTIC Critique for more information on this […]

  3. […] ARTISTIC critique to evaluate the recreations.  Since it is not a full recreation, nor an original piece, focus on […]

  4. […] ARTISTIC critique to evaluate the recreations.  Since it is not a full recreation, nor an original piece, focus on […]

  5. […] With my new position as Instructional Coach, I am constantly looking for tools and resources for my new teachers.  Last week I picked up Roxanna Elden’s See Me After Class.  In 3 hours I put it down, having read every page.  After each chapter, I told myself to put the book down and go work on something else…then I thought, well just one more chapter.  That continued until I had the read the entire book.  I laughed, I reminisced, I could relate to every story, quote, and situation she presented.  This was definitely a book I wanted to share with others.  For this review, I will be using the ARTISTIC Critique.  See the original article here. […]

  6. […] Another wonderful resource I have found is Ken Robinson’s Creative Schools. Unlike the text I shared last week (Roxanna Elden’s See Me After Class, see that review here) Robinson’s text is content and research heavy and is a great resource for schools attempting to transform education.  For this review, I will be using the ARTISTIC Critique. See the original article here. […]

  7. […] ARTISTIC critique to evaluate the recreations.  Since it is not a full recreation, nor an original piece, focus on […]

  8. […] ARTISTIC critique to evaluate the recreations.  Since it is not a full recreation, nor an original piece, focus on […]

  9. […] ARTISTIC critique to evaluate the recreations.  Since it is not a full recreation, nor an original piece, focus on […]

  10. […]  9-12 Materials: ARTISTIC Critique, completed pieces (click here for ARTISTIC Critique article) Pre-Instruction: Above lesson plan from Anchor Standard 2 or any choreographed piece from Anchor […]

  11. […] ARTISTIC critique, have students complete the steps of artistic analysis.  (See my article ARTISTIC Critique for more information on this […]

  12. […]  9-12 Materials: ARTISTIC Critique, completed pieces (click here for ARTISTIC Critique article) Pre-Instruction: Above lesson plan from Anchor Standard 2 or any choreographed piece from Anchor […]

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