International Journal of Art & Design Education

Teaching Visual Literacy - Some Reflections on the Term

Volume 13.2   1994



The statutory Order for art in the national curriculum identifies visual literacy as an essential aim of contemporary art education. In the Order visual literacy is located in the second attainment target. This paper suggests that, since the concept of literacy embraces reading and writing, the term visual literacy might be more usefully employed as an overarching concept embracing both attainment targets. This suggestion draws upon some of the extensive work carried out into literacy within the discipline of English. Further, the paper suggests that the ambition of the Order for art must be weighed against the dominant practices of art and design education and asks whether a curriculum which centres on painting and drawing can realistically be considered to be providing an adequate education for visual literacy in the 1990s.