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The Power of Critique

Research on how students learn most effectively has repeatedly pointed to feedback as one of the best and most powerful tools used in education. Whether it is through peer reviews in class, or simply a written comment explaining a wrong answer, students greatly benefit from direct contact from their Professors and the positive feedback they provide. Research has also shown that feedback appears to be more effective when there are seemingly low levels of threat to student self-esteem. It is precisely this type of low-threat and low-stakes feedback that is effective in a Visual Arts classroom critique. The practice of critique is a long-standing and widely used way of providing feedback to art students by creating a group critical dialogue about a work of art or a collection of pieces. Students learn in a secure low-stakes environment because they are assessed on the assignments, objects or concepts they present, not on their performance or level of participation in critique. The art critique is also an effective way to deliver feedback due to the frequency with which it is given. Visual Arts students become so accustomed to not only receiving and giving feedback, but thinking critically, which becomes a habitual practice, both in and outside of the classroom. In 2014, my research then titled, The Power of Critique for Student Feedback received a Presidential Academic Innovation Award. The goal of this project then and now is to reveal the critique process in Visual Arts courses for the high-impact practice that it is, educate others on the nuances of critique and how to effectively use it, and to promote it in other academic disciplines that value the benefits of immediate feedback for any type of performance or understanding for their students.


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18 Jul 2022
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  • Subject
    • Visual Arts

  • Event date
    • 11 November 2016

  • Date submitted

    18 July 2022

  • Keywords
  • Additional information
    • Author Biography:

      Jennifer Graff Biography Ms. Graff attended the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in Alfred, New York where she earned a B.F.A. in ceramics and painting. After graduating, she worked as a production potter’s apprentice in Kane, Pennsylvania, and then as the Ann Arbor Art Center’s Ceramics Studio Manager in Michigan. The pursuit of a graduate degree brought her south to Athens, Georgia where she earned a M.F.A. in Ceramics from the Lamar Dodd School of Art at the University of Georgia. Ms. Graff then worked for two years as a Summer Assistant at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle, Maine. For the next several years, she earned a living as a studio potter and taught in various ceramic centers in the Southeast. She is currently an Associate Professor of Art, the Associate Department Head of Visual Arts, and the Gainesville Campus Honors Program Director at the University of North Georgia in Gainesville, Georgia.