Choosing the correct age group for a lesson on art in general and exemplary arts, in particular, is essential. In this lesson, an audience of children from kindergarten to primary school age was chosen. Children at this age are ideal for exploring the world of fine arts, and for some crucial reasons. The most influential of these is the psychology of the young child, which is flexible and vividly perceives visual objects.
Thanks to this lesson project, children learn to understand art more deeply, as far as their age allows. The lesson will expand their perception of fine arts and provide an opportunity to find new things in art. There are already recommended lessons on the subject of art criticism in Hawaii, yet they do not cover all the needs of the individuals (Hawaii State Department of Education). Thus, the class will raise their cultural horizons and teach them to look for and study things that are interesting to them in art. Moreover, this lesson will undoubtedly improve their ability to make art themselves.
Importantly, children of kindergarten and early school age already have nascent preferences and views on visual art. Thanks to popular culture and the abundance of information provided by the Internet, children have a great cultural experience in arts. Children can distinguish between different styles, albeit in the most conspicuous details. Likewise, such young minds already have access to an understanding of beauty and aesthetics based on their preferences.
The art lesson project is undoubtedly related to social justice. It will show that what in the past was only available to the wealthy and privileged is now available to everyone. The ability to express yourself, to be who you are, is no longer the privilege of just one class, caste, estate, racial, or age group. Now everyone, both children and adults, can learn about art, create it and express themselves freely.
Since the lesson supposes not only the expression of each child’s opinion but the discussion as well, it addresses the hidden curriculum by presenting a possibility to exchange experience in a critical and yet not toxic manner. Namely, the students are given the opportunity to connect their life understanding with art they like and dislike and observe the causal relationship of the experiences and opinions. Hence, they would not only learn the language for describing the art but would also understand the sources of positive and negative emotions that people might have for other persons’ works. Therefore, this lesson provides children with the skill of apprehension of different perspectives and receiving criticism adequately.
The theme of art discussions sparked my interest because of my observation of people who cannot succinctly explain their liking and disliking of particular pieces. I have noticed that individuals often experience difficulty communicating their emotions and connecting their opinions for specific reasons. Then, I decided to interview my friends and relatives about whether they consider some particular gaps in education related to their inability to express opinions on art. The majority of these people answered that there was little place for discussion in their school time, and the essays on visual arts are primarily in written form rather than oral; also, they present a dialogue with a teacher and not with peers. Hence, I decided that this topic needed to be addressed in the school program.
I believe that the skill of description and opinion expression is necessary for the psychological health and personal growth of each individual. Moreover, it is essential to understand the multifacetedness of art perception to escape future conflicts based on criticism and disagreement. Thus, the theme of art discussion is valuable and needs to be paid more attention to in each school program.
Articulation of Concept
The lesson would include several elements to achieve its objectives. First, children would be asked to prepare one work of art that they like for some reason and one that raises negative emotions in them. During the class, they would be presented a possibility to describe their feelings toward the pieces they have chosen as well as to describe the artistic features of the works. Next, after everyone has expressed their opinion, they would be allowed to ask questions about the specific reasons for preferences of their classmates that they do not entirely understand or share. The discussion also supposes exchanges of life experiences that contribute to understanding the peers’ likings. Finally, children could make their conclusions about the opinions of others about the works of art and engage in the socialization process in this way.
To teach children about art criticism, I would use the interactive strategy. This method entails developing learning settings that encourage communication and conversation. It asserts that learning occurs through the interactive exchange of information and that this engagement can take the form of discussion in this particular lesson. This strategy is particularly helpful for the chosen concept since it supposes a dialogue, an open space for exchanging personal experiences and subjective opinions. Yet, there should be some instruction about the toxic and unreasonable criticism; children should understand that they need to discover the grounds for their views and connect them with the process of formulating a position. Moreover, it is essential to encourage individuals in discussion with the whole group so that to guarantee that each opinion is important. Thus, the interactive instruction method would be the most helpful for the theme mentioned earlier.
A few essential resources would be employed for this lesson. First, some projection device is necessary to display the chosen works of the students. The visual arts that they would describe and express opinions about should be clearly seen by all the peers so that they could assess the rationale behind the view of each pupil. Moreover, I believe that there should be pictures printed in advance with several works of art. These could be used by the teacher to illustrate how to express an opinion and what matters need description. Children who, for some reason, have forgotten to prepare a work or have no access to technologies that allow them to present their pieces also can use these pictures. Thus, these resources would supplement the discussion and make it more demonstrative.
To assess students’ understanding, skill attainment, and change of disposition, several criteria are proposed:
- the presence of appropriate vocabulary in the description of the details of the pieces of art;
- the presence of a basic understanding of the ideas behind the artworks;
- the use of emotional language to describe one’s opinion about an artwork;
- the ability to make connections between personal experience and opinion;
- the ability to make questions about others’ opinions;
- the ability to participate in assumptions about the reasons of others’ preferences;
- the ability to make conclusions about preferences and opinions.
Hawaii State Department of Education. “Content Area: Fine Arts.” Hawaii State Department of Education, 2018, Web.