SchoolArts Magazine

APR 2019

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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26 APRIL 2019 SchoolArts A S S E S S M E N T I n our provincial curriculum, we are required to teach a unit called Art Appreciation and cover such topics as visual arts and art history. We must also teach our students to analyze images and discuss how art affects our emotions and environment. In the past, I included art appreciation topics as students created art, and did not teach it specifically as a self-contained unit. For the past two years, I've been teaching a very talented group of boys who desperately want to move around my classroom, create artwork, discover at their own pace, and not listen to a teacher lecture. Therefore, to incorpo - rate interpretation and art apprecia- tion, I decided to conduct an interview with each student, ask six questions about his own work, videotape him (with permission), and post highlights of the interviews on our website. Interview Questions I conducted these interviews at the end of students' second and final year of Visual Arts, thinking they would have experienced two years of art classes and had a variety of their own artworks to choose from for the topic of their inter - view. I posed the following questions: 1. Name a few aspects of your paint- ing that were successful. 2. Name a few aspects of your paint- ing that were not successful. 3. Tell a short story that can be inspired by your painting. 4. If you were not the creator of this painting and you were seeing this artwork for the first time, what do you think the viewer's first reac- tion would be? 5. When looking at your painting, name five words that come to mind. 6. What was your experience in art class over the last two years? Nega - tive and positive comments are encouraged. Reviewing Progress As a rule, I do not let students take home any of their artwork until the end of the year, mostly because of our year- end vernissage (private viewing before public exhibition), but I also enjoy hav - ing a class where students can look at the variety of artwork they've created, observe which style they were most successful with, and see an overview of their two-year-long progress. Conducting Video Interviews To avoid class interruption during the videotaping of each student, I had students wait their turn in our class- room. I called each student into our school auditorium for a quiet private interview, setting a formal mood that had to be taken seriously. Because of the nature of the class, I wanted stu- dents to also be comfortable and to give honest and creative answers, and they might not be as inclined to do so if they were in front of their peers. Responses Because I did not allow students to prepare answers ahead of time, each response was off the cuff. The answers to question three were the most inter - esting as these required the student to use his imagination. The areas where I would like my students to improve would be ques - tions two and six, where they had to be critical of their work and my program. Each student only commented nega - tively on minor aspects of his work, and the only criticism I received on the program was that the physical class size was not big enough for the number of students in the class, resulting in a classroom with insufficient workspace. I witnessed something very special after the project was finished. On the day of the interviews, several students were absent. To make up the missed time, I asked each student to meet at their lunch hour to interview them - selves and ask the same questions while I filmed them. The interview turned into an informal conversation about their personal paintings, and I captured almost thirty minutes of foot - age, which I then edited down to their best answers. I was so impressed with the maturity and attitude of the class that I decided to develop the idea as a unit and treat it as their final exam. Christopher Taylor is a fine arts specialist at Hebrew Academy in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. N A T I O N A L S T A N D A R D Responding: Interpret intent and meaning in artistic work. Art Appreciation Interviews Christopher Taylor I enjo aving a class where students can look at the variet f artwork the 've created and see an overview of their progress. Samuel Malamud, grade eight.

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