3. Responding to criticisms
A government minister and a school governor made the following comments, respectively:
‘Art is the icing on the cake.’
‘We have children here who can't even speak English properly – they should be doing more of that instead of leisure subjects like art.’
Both of these are, as you may appreciate, instrumental – or means–end – statements. In their various ways they place art, and by implication other humanities subjects, unfavourably on a spectrum according to their perceived ‘usefulness’ or applicability. These and similar arguments are of course not new and have been voiced at regular intervals throughout history. However, of more relevance in terms of contemporary pedagogic practice and constructive engagement with a key-skills agenda is how teaching professionals might tackle these statements and perceptions.
Consider your own experience of criticisms and the context in which they were made. How did you respond to them?
As an exercise, take one or two of the aptitudes listed earlier and formulate a reasoned argument in response to criticism, possibly biasing your choice towards your own experience or subject specialisation. Develop ideas of how you would counter specific comments you've experienced, or use those above.
To inform this exercise you may wish to consider the arguments set out in ‘Examining rationales’ below.
Click on the 'View document' link below to read ‘Examining rationales’.