International Journal of Art & Design Education

Responding to Bilingual Pupils in the Art Classroom

Volume 15.2   1996



The issue of assessing early-phase bilingual pupils in the secondary-school art classroom is approached through a close description of the experiences of one pupil. Against the background of a pluralistic whole-school policy for the Arts, this pupil's early work is subjected to an apparently non-pluralistic, 'universal' model of development and assessment, which results, it is argued, in the pursuit of an unhelpful pedagogy. This essentially ethnocentric approach is contrasted with other approaches, which locate pupil performance in the cultural rather than the psychological domain and which suggest the value of teachers pursuing a 'repertoire extension' model of development. It is argued that in order to do this, teachers need not merely validate 'alternative' forms of cultural representation, but distance themselves sufficiently from their own cultural norms in order not to 'misrecognise' such alternatives as failed versions of the dominant cultural forms of the institution.