International Journal of Art & Design Education

Critical Enquiry in Art in the Primary School

Volume 19.1   2000



This article considers how primary teachers might introduce children to critical studies, in the light of an examination of recent developments in art theory, to show how these can inform our approach. It looks at the work of one teacher, Caron Ementon, to show how this relates to contemporary art theory. Thus, practice is contextualised within theory and vice versa. Some procedural principles are suggested which, in responding to developments in art theory, can provide an approach to critical enquiry that is educationally enriching. This approach can enable children to relate to the work of other artists in ways that are appropriate to their own level of development. It also lays the foundations for later learning, in terms of procedural knowledge both for interpreting art works, and , ultimately, for understanding that theory itself. Furthermore, the metacognitive dimension of critical enquiry, implicit both in the theory and the concomitant processes of learning described, opens up rich possibilities for developing critical thinking.