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The Art of Teaching the Arts

Focus On: Critiquing Student Work

Critiquing student artwork demands care. Teachers must be honest in their judgments, because students can only develop as artists if they learn to value critique and take it seriously. But honest judgements may also risk making students feel inadequate or self-conscious, hindering further growth.

Arts teachers have many ways of helping students understand how their work can be improved, without shutting down their initiative.

Elements of effective critique include the following:

At Mamaroneck High School there is frequent peer critique in visual art classes. In addition, students ask teachers for feedback on their artwork, and some students have also formed an Art Critique Club, where they give each other feedback.

In the interactive below, first watch two teacher critiques. Then watch two student critiques. Determine whether students are learning the elements of effective critique from their teachers.

NOW: Write and Reflect

You've just watched teachers and students critiquing student work. Now we'd like you to write about your own classroom practice. Read the following questions and respond in light of the students and art form you teach.

Questions to write and reflect about:

Be sure to save or print what you have written before you navigate out of this feature.


Your work will be displayed in a printer-friendly format to enable you to print.