Monday, October 1, 2012

Facilitating Discussion

I came across a great website devoted to a way of teaching children to think critically while looking at a piece of art. Visual Thinking Strategies uses three open-ended questions to enable children to draw their own conclusions about art:
  • What's going on in this picture?
  • What do you see that makes you say that?
  • What more can we find?
The docent leading the discussion paraphrases the students' answers, while pointing out on the slide (or whatever visual aid you are using) the part of the picture the child is referring to. The docent should also try to link the student comments together, thus enabling a conversation that makes sense for the kids.

By doing these things, the kids:
  • Look carefully at works of art
  • Talk about what they observe
  • Back up their ideas with evidence
  • Listen to and consider the views of others
  • Discuss multiple possible interpretations
To see this way of discussing in action, click on this link which will take you to the VST website and you can see examples of Kindergarten through 5th grade classes discusses art this way. It's pretty amazing!

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