We must teach visual language

13th July 2001 at 01:00
I would like to support sentiments expressed in "It's a pass - but is it really art?" I have marked GCSE art and design for 12 years. This year, (my first with Edexcel) I found the marking and moderation truly depressing. As a practising artist, I have always felt that my purpose was to help students realise their aesthetic, expressive and creative potential. I know these qualities are difficult to quantify. However, it is wrong to abandon them and go for the safer option of assessing documentation and recording progression of ideas with little or no reference to the visual quality of the image or artefact, or its expressive and aesthetic value.

Expression and aesthetics are essential to art production and appreciation. If these qualities are marginalised in the assessment criteria, teachers will be forced to concentrate on documentation at the expense of artistic activity and art lessons will become arid academic exercises that will turn off students and waste their talents.

Ironically, with the growth of information technology, web design and 3D animation, the requirement for creative people with a command of a visual aesthetic language is growing and art courses that fail to develop these skills will not do our young people any favours in the jobs market.

P Bryan 17 George Street Bedford, Bedfordshire

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