International Journal of Art & Design Education

To the Parthenon Again! Reflections of an English Teacher

Volume 12.3   1993



Knowledge of all sorts, says Creber, is often implicitly presented as a kind of medicine that in some inexplicable way does us good. He is concerned that strategies used to enhance visual awareness should leave room for responses that include an element of uncertainty, of exploration and what he calls ‘mental play’. He contends that it is the teachers’ task to extend and enhance perception, to enable children to widen their perceptual repertoire and this necessitates building confidence. He compare approaches in English and Art teaching, the place of the canon, and suggests that the debate about the place of critical studies in art is actually about the connection between activity and analysis: a question of balance and relationship. He concludes that effective critical studies teaching requires certain conditions to be met: (1) encouraging talk and sharing while doing, at the same time as offering information appropriate to the age and stage of development of the students concerned; (2) enabling the development of critical confidence through the study and the re-working of pupils’ own efforts (whether in art or English). This is not to be done in a complacently subjective vacuum but in relation to their experience and discussion of work by other artists and writers;(3) in all this, it should be remembered that our knowledge as teachers is not something that can simply be `handed over'.