Art Learning Behaviours
In order to teach art you should identify what you feel are the most important learning attributes, behaviours and knowledge that your pupils need to learn or demonstrate.
These aren’t just generic learning objectives that mean little to the pupils but should be deep, focussed behaviours that you want them to evidence. They need to be able to demonstrate that they can do these, or that they have understood them, which may be in the form of a conversation or activity they have taken part in, rather than nailed on, concrete evidence.
Pupils should not only be able to read and assimilate these objectives (with help) but understand that they will take time to achieve, they aren’t just a tick list. If the pupils understand these well enough then they can form the basis for all of your future assessments. Because the key point is that the pupil must understand and take ownership of the learning objective. They have to not only understand it, but also want to do it! They should understand that they have to demonstrate to you that they have successfully achieved that objective, then your role is to judge to what degree they have achieved it.
So the first step is to identify what the important things are that you want the pupils to learn over the key stage. In core subjects the curriculum is prewritten, they don’t have to design the content, it’s all mapped out for them, but in art this is a blank canvas and as we all know, a blank canvas can be a nightmare for many artists. So you should identify not only what the key learning is, but also the behaviours you want your pupils to exhibit, the knowledge they should have and, just as importantly, the application of that knowledge. Art skills are important too, but not in the way you might expect. There is no expectation for any student to have a set of art skills based on drawing ability or in fact anything resembling traditional art skills. Contemporary art shows us that conceptual art is king and therefore art can be an idea, it can be music, performance, film, text, found objects and even thin air! It may seem like the emperors new clothes, but what this approach shows us is that art can be inclusive for all. You don’t need to have skills, you need good ideas.
I believe these are the most important Learning Behaviours we should teach in art
INCLUSIVITY Art for pupil’s of all abilities, to show them that you can be good at art regardless of traditional art ability.
PERSONAL interpretation that allows pupils to investigate the visual world that appeals to them most and isn’t too teacher directed.
ART SOURCES that inspire personal outcomes and that aren’t just traditional art or artists work but cover a diverse references from the arts and contemporary society.
RESEARCHING as a complex skill that needs to be taught directly, so that pupils are able to find, filter and utilise only what they need.
EVALUATION as a constant, ongoing thinking process that informs every decision, and that other’s opinions can really help them to develop and grow.
METACOGNITION as a means for pupils to confidently explore and identify personal preferences, develop understanding and complexity of thinking and approach.
CREATIVITY as a diverse and valuable skill that can be applied in many different areas outside of art.
IDEAS generation, from the use of direct purposeful solutions through to the understanding of deep, complex, metaphors and symbols.
PRESENTATION as a personal and diverse process that can be tailored to suit learning styles.
PROCESS when making as a complex, often unresolved, exploratory, non linear, experimental thinking journey that may or may not result in final outcomes.
ANNOTATION as a means of adding something extra, for understanding, or for explaining choices, influences or how problems have been overcome.
APPRECIATION and understanding of visual culture without it being attached to a bigger making process.