The Arts as a Lens
on the World
Friday, July 10, 2009
How I Spent My
Exploring works historically
Who made this? When? Where? Significance?
How I Spent My
Exploring works critically
Is this good art? Why? Who says that it is good?
How I Spent My
Exploring works aesthetically
Is this art? What is this object worth? Why is this beautiful?
How I Spent My
What arrangement? How will I create this effect? What else?
Moving from “Exposure” to
• VTS- “Visual Thinking Strategies”
• Token Response
• Project-Based Learning -using big
ideas & driving questions
• The arts and global learning
Visual Thinking Strategies
Based on the research of Abigail Housen & Phillip Yenowin
What is VTS?
Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS), is a school curriculum and teaching
* Uses art to develop critical thinking, communication and visual literacy skills
* Asks educators to facilitate learner-centered discussions of visual art
* Engages learners in a rigorous process of examination and meaning-making
through visual art
* Measurably increases observation skills, evidential reasoning, and speculative
* Engenders the willingness and ability to find multiple solutions to complex
* Uses facilitated discussion to enable students to practice respectful, democratic,
collaborative problem solving skills that over time transfer to other classroom
interactions, and beyond
* Uses eager, thoughtful participation to nurture verbal language skills, and
writing assignments to assist transfer from oral to written ability
* Produces growth in all students, from challenged and non-English language
learners to high achievers
* Underscore connections to art and strengthens the role of museums as a
valuable resource in students’ lives
VTS Facilitation 101:
Visual Thinking Strategies uses art to foster students’ capacities to
observe, think, listen and communicate.
In VTS discussions teachers support student growth by facilitating
discussions of carefully selected works of visual art.
Teachers are asked to use three open-ended questions:
* What’s going on in this picture?
* What do you see that makes you say that?
* What more can we find?
Mary Erickson, Ph.D. and Eldon Katter, Ph.D.
Learning to think clearly about art and discuss personal reactions to art comes easily
when students play Token Response. Players of all ages can participate fully in
this interactive game. Imagine the dynamic discussions students will have as
they consider important questions and distinctions about art. The teacher's
guide gives lots of pointers for dealing with very complex issues about the
nature of art and the experience of viewing it. Token Response can be used
again and again with different reproductions or works of art at museums.
Your students will learn to:
* Express their opinions effectively
* Evaluate art with different criteria
* Differentiate between preference and judgment
* Respect differences of opinion about art
* Appreciate the value of art
* Value their own and others' responses to art
Grades K to Adult (Crizmac, 2009)
“Big Ideas” for this Project
1. We have perceptions of community
homelessness that may be based on bias
or false information.
2. Artists frequently communicate big ideas
about significant social themes.
3. Zines are a unique way to make
4. Collaboration with other schools/artists
adds richness to idea development.
The Driving Question:
Can artists communicate the challenges, the
impact, and the significance of homelessness
through the creation of art objects?
Some Final Thoughts:
Studio art and the Real benefits of
Visual Arts Education
Hetland, L., Winner, E., Veenema, S. & Sheridan, K.M. (2007).
Studio thinking: The real benefits of visual arts education. New
York: Teacher’s College Press.
Eight Studio Habits of Mind
Learning to use tools, materials, etc.
Engage and persist
Learning to embrace problems of relevance
Learning to picture what cannot be directly observed
Learning to create works that convey ideas, feelings, or personal
Learning to attend more than just look
Learning to think & talk with others about work and process
Stretch and Explore
Learning to reach beyond one’s capacities
Understand Art World
Learning about art history and current practice
“To teach is to create a space in which
the community of truth is practiced.”
“Truth is an eternal conversation about
things that matter, conducted with
passion and discipline.”