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
As a New Mexico public school art teacher turned teacher of gifted students, I’ve long been interested in the overlap of artistic and academic talent. It was satisfying to learn of positive reviews from both professional fields of the recent ESEA reauthorization. The Every Student Succeeds Act has been praised for revisions that will benefit advanced and gifted learners in the public schools It has also been recognized for including the arts as essential, no longer peripheral, to a “well-rounded education.” This reorientation prompted me to consider again what I can do to help develop the talents of gifted visual artists on my caseload.
I’d like to know if anyone in New Mexico is currently providing artistic talent development for students with a demonstrated very superior ability in the domain of visual art. If so, what instruments are used to demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual arts and to show the need for services, and what services can be designed to meet these needs?
The Impact of Disadvantage on Potentially Eminent Visual Artists
By Daesherri (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons
I have no doubt there are students with high potential in the visual arts who, without support, will not be prepared to succeed in post-secondary visual arts training. Without such credentials, they are not likely achieve positions of leadership in the arts and influence the work of museums, galleries, and higher education institutions. They have great potential but may be poor, recent immigrants, or racially, culturally, or linguistically marginalized. Unlike the young artists of families with more resources and connections to invest in talent development through clubs, lessons, mentorships, and arts activities, these disadvantaged students may lack affirmation of their artistic talents while young. For college and careers in the arts, they might lack the preparedness of better resourced peers. Can New Mexico’s gifted education programs support young, high-ability visual artists who lack their own connections and resources?