Making Art vs Showing Art in Art Class

In our art classes at school we spend a lot of time on Art making – but do we spend enough time on observing, discussing, critiquing works of Art ? And should we?

The benefit of exposing students to art works are clear – they learn Critical Thinking, Culture studies, Communication and the develop the ability to make Human and Academic connections. Of course ideally we take our students to Museums or Galleries but Lately its also become very easy to bring museums into the classroom!

Once you put an artwork in front of your students you can engage them by asking open ended questions, providing them with factual or contextual information and allowing group dialogue or individual writing activities to evolve in response to the students comments or questions.

In summary, we want our students to see and artwork and Describe | Analyze | Interpret | Evaluate 

Here are some of our favourite resources for Educators from museums around the world –

National Gallery of Modern Art India

The NGMA in Delhi is houses the largest collection of Indian art from Traditional Art to the Modernists Movement and Contemporary Artists. Now teachers have wonderful access to the collection as the museum is one of the partners in the Google Arts and Culture initiative to make the worlds best museums accessible to school online.

The Museum offers a variety of programs designed for K–12 educators that explore objects in The Met collection, interdisciplinary curriculum integration, and methods for teaching with objects. The museum offers many free online lesson plans based on their collection. These lesson plans help you integrate learning about works of art in your classroom.

Teaching history with 100 objects consists of 100 resources based on objects selected from museums in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and from the British Museum. These Object Files may be used individually to support and enhance teachers’ current practice or can be combined to provide object-based units of study for a historical period, culture or theme.

This project harnesses the power of objects to motivate young people’s interest in history and to provide teachers with resources to inspire their students’ study of events and people in the past. Every one of the historical objects mentioned has an important significance in Art curriculums as well.

MoMA offers professional development workshops and online resources that will give you tools and tips to guide your students to look closely, discuss art, and think critically.

The National Art Education Association Museum Education Division and its partner, the Association of Art Museum Directors shared a study on the benefits of guided art museum visits for students in Grades 4–6. You will find here a pdf (Summary report and Discussion) ready for download.