Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Critique Session at Kennedy High School

Matt Dealy, project manager for the Studio Thinking and American Art project, recently observed Ms. Barron's class at Kennedy High School. He witnessed a very interesting critique session and asked Ms. Barron these follow up questions.

Where did you discover this Critique process?
Deborah and I were introduced to some of the critique questions at a MCA workshop using a dialogue called, Asking Art 10 Questions. I also used 13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird to generate other conversational, critique questions. We generated a list of questions which I printed and cut into strips. Students randomly selected a question from a cup as they entered the classroom, laid out their artwork and then engaged in dialogue utilizing the questions as their catalyst. I created this process on my own based from past experience leading critiques.
What drew you to it? What are its strengths?
I enjoy the idea that students receive a unique question and get to select a piece of work to discuss. I also like that the pressure to generate their own conversations is removed and students have a prompt to which they can respond. The strength of this process is that all the artworks on the table were discussed and all students had an opportunity to speak. This is different from past critiques in that typically the same group of students will participate and their conversation can be a bit simplistic, such as "That's cool" or "That's cute" or "I like it because...". The prompts added variety and diversity to our conversation in that we were not focused solely on the subject matter or the principles or elements of design.
 Can you briefly describe the steps/process?
1. Create general questions.
2. Distribute those questions randomly.
3. Begin conversation by modeling how a student might discuss a piece of art using the questions.
4. Call students using a roster to ensure all students participate.
5. Facilitate dialogue to make the critique a conversation.

How could you improve it?
I could improve the process by adding more questions to the bucket for greater variety. Though, it was interesting to see how two students might respond to the same prompt using different artworks. It offered perspective and a level of engagement that was unexpected.

How could you include Studio Thinking?
In the future I will create a series of critique questions utilizing the Studio Habits in order for students to discuss their own work in a group setting. I would most likely use the same process as this critique, but students would have a unique entry into a dialogue about their art-making process.

1 comment:

  1. I think I'd really like to try this with the Mixed Media students (possibly even Art I as an introduction to peer discussion) and add an additional critique component to their self-evaluation process. The students are getting used to closing an activity with ST refections. I have them choose 4 habits to reflect on-sometimes I will let them choose, other times I'll include one or two within the mix that I'd like them to focus on. After the reflection process they move into the formal rubric and self-evaluation where I have added ST prompts to focus their self-evaluation reflective responses. I might try a closing critique session where each student is given one of the 8 ST prompts from the rubric to discuss. In classes of 26-31 students there may be 3-4 students addressing the same prompt, but each student-artist is going to have a different experience (successful or not) with process and product to discuss.