Month: September 2015

Where I Am, And Where I Want To Go: Critiquing Artworks


As I grow to become an Art Educator, I have learned to create ways to guide my previous students to understand the techniques and see the art world. Although technique and exposing them to the art world is important, I would like to dig deeper into creating new ways to guide my future students to understand the art making. I believe teaching my future students how to critique and interpret art works is important to have to an art classroom because it will create a deep and rich conversation amongst the students to understand the a better understanding of the art work and open their eyes to greater meaning.

A great technique that I have learned to get students to critique art work is asking them:

What do you see?

What do you think it means?

What is the message?

During my previous experience working with students on an art lesson, I have taught them to look at the art work and tell me what they see, this is the first step to critiquing art works. By doing this group activity with the students, it lets them all participate without feeling like they are wrong because it is all about what they see in the piece. After I was able to get them to feel more comfortable with looking and talking about artworks, the next step was asking the students, what do you think it means? Fewer students were unable to figure out what it the meaning of the piece was because they did not want to give the wrong answer. After a few students gave their opinion, I asked them what the message of the piece is and even less students responded to the question. This was when I realized I had to find a new and creative way to get students to start understanding how to interpret work before i start asking them these questions.

During the next teaching session, I have decided to have the art work in the front with the artist’s interpretation of his work to get student’s minds working. First, I had them look at the art piece on the first side in their small groups and write down as much as they see and know about the piece. After they have discussed what they wrote down from their journals they can flip to the back side where they can read the artist’s interpretation. By doing this, I though it would help the students slowly understand how to see the piece.

Even though I was able to find a new way to give students the idea of critique and interpretation, I would like to figure out what to do next? I want to get students to dig deeper. What I did was just to get students the idea of what it can be like but I don’t want students to think I will always provide them with the meaning of the work. So what I need to figure out is how to help students interpret work and understand what it is to critique art work without always having these flash cards posters I have for them.

After a few researching I have found a few resources to guide me to answer my questions: