2005 - Volume 24: Number 2
Intention and Meaning in Young Children’s Drawing
In this article I present some ideas, based on qualitative research into young children’s drawing, related to the developing discourse on young children’s thinking and meaning making. I question the relationship between perception and conception and the nature of representation, challenging traditional ideas around stage theory and shifting the focus from the drawings themselves to the process of drawing, and thus to the children’s own purposes. I analyse examples of my observations (made in naturalistic settings within a nursery classroom) to reveal the range of representational purposes and meaning in children’s drawing activity. My analysis shows that, rather than being developmentally determined, the way children configure their drawings is purposeful; children can recognise the power of drawing to represent, and that they themselves can be in control of this. I explore aspects of the process, including transformation and talk to show the importance of understanding drawing in its specific contexts. I show how children’s drawing activity is illuminated by the way in which it occurs and the other activities linked to it, presenting drawing as part of children’s broader, intentional, meaning-making activity. As an aspect of the interactive, communicative practices through which children’s thinking develops, representation is a constructive, self-directed, intentional process of thinking in action, through which children bring shape and order to their experience, rather than a developing ability to make visual reference to objects in the world. I suggest that in playing with the process, children are actively defining reality rather than passively reflecting a given reality.
On Models and Mickey Mouse
The re-issue of a nineteenth-century French Drawing Course is the occasion for an examination of issues of ‘models of good practice’ in current art teaching. These are listed as an expanded set of student-centred pedagogical paradigms, which embrace the forceful popular imagery of electronic games and comic strips. The formalist adaptations of comic-strip imagery by artists in the 1970s which challenged traditional divisions between high and popular art, are contrasted with the scathing Marxist analysis by Dorfman and Matterlart, Imperialist Ideology in the Disney Comic, which still has political resonance. The darkly ambivalent, if much theorised, appropriations of popular imagery by contemporary artists Pettibon and Murakami are adduced as part of an on-going problematic, where ideological readings are glossed over for fear of jeopardising the liberal consensus in art and education.
Drawing in Perspective: Scottish Art and Design Teachers Discuss Drawing
GLEN COUTTS AND PAUL DOUGALL
What are the main purposes of drawing in the secondary art and design curriculum? What are Scottish art teachers’ views on the role and function of drawing? How is drawing taught in Scottish schools? These three broad questions formed the basis of the research reported in this article. The small-scale study, carried out between June 2002 and June 2004 will, the authors hope, be of interest to art educators seeking to explore the teaching of drawing as a key component of art and design education. In this article, we report on the background to the study, the place of drawing in Scottish art education,
the methodology used, discuss some of the respondents’ comments and conclude with some reflections and thoughts for future study.
Engaging with Curating
This paper is informed by a DfES funded research project, Creative Connections, initiated and directed by the Institute of Education (IoE) and Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) as part of the DfES Museums and Galleries Education Programme 1999–2003. The concern is to focus on an unexpected finding concerning art and design teachers’ negligible engagement with, and understanding of, curatorial issues and practices. This is set against a backdrop of the recent proliferation of literature addressing curatorial matters. The etymology and genealogy of the curator are discussed in order to establish the curatorial role as a symbolic (modernist) location where discourses pertaining to post-structuralism, postmodernism, post-colonialism and critical pedagogy currently coincide. By highlighting some of the main concerns that art and design teachers experience when taking pupils to galleries and museums, I suggest that engaging with curating has the potential not only to facilitate critical engagement with galleries and museums but also to empower and inform teachers’ use of these venues as learning resources. Through references to the research questionnaire findings, focus group interviews and evaluations of pilot CPD initiatives, a case for more teacher engagement and understanding of the frameworks in which art and artefacts are encountered is argued. First, as an important dimension for learning and teaching about art and design, and second, to counteract the generally uncritical and compliant approach to using galleries and museums that can result from a lack of opportunity to engage with cultural concerns.
Studio Conversation: Approaches for a Postmodern Context
This article is on the culture of conversation in the studio art classroom. What can be assumed as simple pedagogical acts, talking to one another, become increasingly complex in the context of postmodernism. Breakdowns in perceived truths, agreed-upon styles, and monoculturalism demand that conversation is looked at in a meta-sense – what is it? what skills, values and agendas do we bring to the process? This work includes reflections on a multiyear field study conducted in New York City studio classrooms. Exemplary professors of art, such as the ones studied, practise conversation through an awareness of their position/biases, being pluralistic and practising authenticity. A history of conversation in schools of art is included to demonstrate historical continuity of artists and art students in conversation. Finally, ways to invest in the act of conversation, such as bracketing the time and space for the act in the classroom, are suggested.
The Artist Teacher as Reflective Practitioner
In this article it is argued that in order to be an effective artist teacher it is helpful to be a reflective practitioner. Initially a working definition of the artist teacher is formulated and the artist teacher scheme that has developed in England over recent years is discussed regarding its importance in offering both accredited and non-accredited personal and professional development for artist teachers. Potential problems with adopting this dual practice or identity are then highlighted and reflective practice is evoked as a means by which such problems can be tackled, with particular reference to the theories of Schön.
Evolutionary and Cognitive Motivations for Fractal Art in Art and Design Education
Humans are endowed with cognitive modules specialised in processing information about the class of natural things. Due to their naturalness, fractal art and design can contribute to developing these modules, and trigger affective responses that are associated with certain natural objects. It is argued that exposure to fractals in an art and design context can tap these effects. This entails that such patterns are not only an artistic and creative tool, but develop different aspects of the human individual. Although fractal patterns could be relevant for different educative areas, exposure to fractals has particular urgency for art and design education because it could lead to more psychological receptivity for adopting rich formal grammars. This is valuable, given the fact that some current architectural design is difficult to harmonise with the workings of the human mind.
A Consideration of the Relationship Between Creativity and Approaches to Learning in Art and Design
Creative intelligence is relevant to all aspects of the school curriculum, yet it is through art and design that pupils may come to experience the significance of creativity as a means of exploring innovative and original ideas which offer credence to the individual and affect approaches to learning. This article analyses creativity and the creative process and addresses the links between creativity and intelligence by examining the implications such factors may hold for the teacher when developing approaches to learning in art and design. It focuses in particular on the use of sketchbooks within the context of a number of Art and Design GCSE courses and explores how students have been provided with opportunities to develop creative responses to set tasks. In addition, it sets out to challenge the notion that the requirements of GCSE assessment criteria inevitably restrict creativity and lead to non-creative formulaic practice.
Forms of Knowledge in Art Education and the Corollary of Authenticity in the Teaching and Assessment of Such Forms of Knowledge
This article explores why art education after modernism needs to engage with and assess two forms of knowledge. It distinguishes procedural knowledge or ‘knowing how’ from declarative knowledge or ‘knowing that’, and argues that current classroom practice and more general thinking in art education in the UK confuses evidence of procedural knowledge with evidence for declarative knowledge. A corollary is that assessment evidence for ‘knowing how’, which is shown or demonstrated, is confused with assessment evidence for ‘knowing that’, which requires spoken or written forms of reporting. This conceptual confusion is currently embedded in the national, flagship examination known as the General Certificate of Secondary Education, taken by students at the age of 16, resulting in that examination requiring evidence of understanding the meaning of art in its socio-historical context while at the same time denying the necessity of written or spoken work to reveal such knowledge. The article advocates a Wittgensteinian, socio-cultural solution to the confusions of current practice.
Using Portfolios for External Assessment: An Experiment in Portugal
MARIA TERESA TORRES PEREIRA DE EÇA
This article describes some of the conclusions reached from an experiment using portfolios for art external assessment at the end of secondary education (age 17+) conducted in five Portuguese schools in 2001–2003. Several positive outcomes were found. Students found portfolios to be motivating and fostering constructive learning, dialogue and co-operation between students and teachers. The new assessment procedures developed communities of assessors enabling some increased consistency of examination results and positive professional development opportunities. However some weaknesses were detected such as potential bias related to the degree of teacher aid and practical problems as, for example, time-consuming in-service teacher training.