International Journal of Art & Design Education

Thinking about art: could elementary textbooks serve as models of practice to help new teachers and non-specialists support reasoning in art?

Volume 24.3   2005



Some primary school teachers may neglect reasoning about art. Models of practice can exemplify classroom teaching and, to some extent, a textbook for children can be seen as a model of practice. Can those in art serve as models of practice and help teachers foster reasoning? This study examined 19 art textbooks intended for use by Key Stage 2 children (7 to 11 year old) to see to what extent they might direct a teacher’s attention to reasoning in art. Some gave no attention to reasoning but some were found to have the potential to do that, at least in connection with evaluating the art of others. In this respect, they might serve as models of practice. Nevertheless, the teachers most likely to benefit from such models may not recognise a good one, be proficient in using it productively, be able to develop thinking about the art of others further or extrapolate thinking to the child’s own art. Consequently, knowing what counts in art education and using models of practice to good effect could be an important part of training courses.