Although nearly all educators value as an outcome for students skillful critical thinking, defined as well-reasoned reflection informing decisions (Ennis, 1987), many still choose to limit student decision-making and to avoid opportunities for practicing critical thinking. Art classes can be a locus of critical thinking when art teachers encourage a cycle of reasoning, reflection, and evaluation, leading to artistic decision-making. Popular educational resources set high standards for the thinking students do in art class. Research has shown that a rigorous art program can improve critical thinking skills.

Gifted students’ needs include the challenge of practicing critical thinking skills in every class every year. Advancing at an appropriate pace in knowledge and skill is not enough to develop talent. Cognitive abilities also must be developed in various contexts in order to maximize potential as future experts, scholars, and artists.

What would it take for art class to meet gifted students’ needs to develop their critical thinking skills, and what other benefits might art class have for the intellectually gifted? Continue reading