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

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today