This mixed methods inquiry took place in an advanced high school art class to determine if the application of art criticism practices in their sketchbooks would improve students writing and thinking about their art.
During the study, the targeted class was involved in a variety of classroom and sketchbook exercises designed to assess the impact that reflective journals have on the students' thinking about art and develop their skills in the use of art criticism.
Data for the study was gathered using a variety of data collection methods as a form of triangulation. These methods included: Pre- and Post-study questionnaires, detailed observations, direct participation, informal interviews, reflective journal writings, and the student sketchbook journals.
Combining the use of art criticism as a part of students daily sketchbook procedures successfully engaged students in critical thinking about their art, and impacted their ability to articulate their ideas in a more meaningful way, improved their journaling performance and developed their ability to think and write critically about their art.
Because art teachers are continually describing, analyzing, interpreting, and evaluating works of art during the process of instruction, implementation of the four actions of art criticism into my curriculum proved to be a natural step for not only my students, but for me as an art educator.
Art making alone provides students with an unmatched opportunity to digest the abundance of media and information they come in contact with throughout the day. By combining art making with the journaling process (even without art criticism), educators can cultivate yet another avenue through which they can strengthen their student's educational experience.