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Selected Development Project
Project Title

Developing Students’ Critical Response to Visual Arts: A Study of Inquiry Approaches and Outcomes in Learning Art Criticism

Principal Investigator Dr TAM Cheung On
Area of Research Project
Teaching and Learning
Project Period
From 01/2015 To 06/2017
  1. To develop an inquiry-based art criticism learning model based on the tenets proposed by Geahigan
  2. To field test and refine curriculum plans using an inquiry approach at the senior secondary level.
  3. To identify the ways in which teachers translate inquiry-based art criticism into practice.
  4. To investigate the effectiveness of inquiry-based art criticism and related learning activities in enhancing student learning of art criticism.
  5. To evaluate the impact and outcomes of inquiry-based art criticism and related learning activities on student learning of art criticism.
Methods Used
The study will be conducted in three phases. Phase 1 will be the preparation of eight teacher participants on their understanding of different approaches of art criticism learning and the development of inquiry based art criticism curriculum plans. Phase 2 will focus on the implementation of the curriculum plans. Teacher participants will be interviewed twice and observed three to four times. Phase 3 will investigate the effectiveness and outcomes of the inquiry based art criticism learning on students. Data will be obtained from interview of teacher and student participants, observation in classrooms, and pre-test and post-test of student performance in art criticism writings. The data collected will be examined in relation to current theories of art criticism learning, and used to develop a pedagogical model which is theoretically and practically sound, taking into consideration the Hong Kong context.
Summary of Findings
  1. Students’ Performance of Art Criticism in the Pre-test
    Students’ performance on art criticism was identified after conducting the pre-test. The results showed that most students were quite well on the aspect of description, formal analysis and interpretation of artworks. But they were not capable of providing an informed judgments on the basis of what they had described, analysed and interpreted.

  2. Teachers’ Questioning Patterns Related to Art Criticism in Classrooms
    Teachers’ questioning patterns related to art criticism were analysed after lesson observation. The results showed that the teachers tend to raise questions to lead students to describe, analyse or interpret an artwork, but questions of judging an artwork were rare to find in the observation.
The following had been conducted, impacting on the teachers’ strategies in teaching art criticism:
  1. A 2-days workshop for introducing inquiry-based teaching method
  2. A markers’ training workshop
  3. A workshop for reporting pre-test result and suggesting methods for improvement
Biography of Principal Investigator

Dr Tam Cheung On was awarded Certificate of Studio Ceramics in 1991 (Hong Kong Polytechnics), the Bachelor of Education in 1992 (University of Wolverhampton), Master of Education in 1996 (University of Hong Kong) and Doctor of Philosophy in 2006 (University of London). Tam is currently working at the Hong Kong Institute of Education as an Associate Professor in the Department of Cultural and Creative Arts.  Tam is a member of the Contemporary Ceramics Society Hong Kong and his works have been selected for exhibitions at the Contemporary Hong Kong Art Biennial Exhibition (Hong Kong Museum of Art, 1992, 1996 and 2003) and the Tea Wares by Hong Kong Potters' Exhibition (Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware, 1989, 1992 and 1998). Tam’s publications include From Galleries to the Classroom: Museum and Art Education and Art Appreciation, Criticism, and Education.  Tam’s paper appeared in International Journal of Education Through Art (2010), Research in Arts Education (2010), Research in Learning Technology (2012), The International Journal of Arts Education (2012 and 2013), The International Journal of Art and Design Education (in press), Special Education Perspectives (2015) and Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology (in press).  Tam is the co-editor of the Asia-Pacific Journal of Arts Education.

Funding Source

General Research Fund