International Journal of Art & Design Education

Children's Responses to Art: Interpretation and Criticism

Volume 2.2   1983



Based on the analysis of conversations in the Tate Gallery with several groups of 14-year-old children, the author's aim is to assess how judgements of art can be achieved, and what importance these may have in the education of the individual. The author discusses expectations and prejudices, quoting from the interviews, and then explores the subjective responses of these same groups. Language and concepts are also considered, again drawing upon the sessions with the children at the Tate, before the author proposes her theory. The latter is articulated under the headings: Perception, Interpretation, Formal Analysis, Art History, Critical Judgement, Teaching Children. The paper concludes with thoughts on how children might find the transition from comparative interpretations to comparative judgements, and gain confidence in the idea that their views are important and vital in these matters and not merely the prerogative of specialists.