International Journal of Art & Design Education

Tuition or Intuition? Making and Using Sketchbooks with a Group of Ten-Year-Old Children

Volume 12.1   1993



This paper addresses the aesthetic theories of Roger Fry and investigates their significance for art education in the primary school. Fry’s recognition of the significance of ‘primitive’ art, which gave rise to his theories of modern art, in turn influenced his views concerning the value of children’s art and his beliefs about art teaching. Thus children's `personal vision', and the opportunities they deserve to manifest this in their creative work, are Robinson's concerns. She presents a curriculum development project featuring sketchbook work, in which the sketchbooks are regarded as private to individual pupils until and unless they reveal their contents to others, including the teacher. She offers evidence that children's work develops unexpected levels of confidence and initiative in the `semi-private' context that is thus encouraged. Parallels are offered with the equally semi-private world of `mind--picturing', and the pupils' resulting confidence in articulating creative objectives and in self-criticism provide evidence of the necessity to avoid a degree of prescription in the National Curriculum, that would discourage such initiatives.