International Journal of Art & Design Education

Towards Critical Study in the Primary School

Volume 2.1   1983



This research is based on a number of pilot studies conducted with children aged seven and eleven years, who were taught by the author himself. These studies were designed to test four hypotheses:

1That, as a result of a specific teaching programme based on study and discussion of adult artworks, children's responses would change significantly.

2Similarly, children's responses to their own artwork would change significantly.

3Their picture-making skills would change.

4The range of art vocabulary accessible to children would significantly increase.
In each of the four hypotheses, it was proposed that the degree of change would be related to variations in one or more of the following factors:

a)chronological age
c)intellectual maturity
d)general ability
e)artistic ability
f)art vocabulary
g)attitude to art

The paper draws on the work of Brian Allison and Elliot Eisner and the experimental project was conducted in 20 schools. The pilot studies incorporated both an art vocabulary test and a picture-making task. These were followed up in interviews with the class teachers. The need for closer links to be established between art exhibition organisers and educational institutions is considered in the light of the outcome of these case studies.