How to use ART in the classroom: VTS method

When I do an analysis of art in my social studies classroom, I use Visual Thinking Strategies: VTS. It is a very useful method of using art to enhance student learning. Read on to discover more....

What is VTS?    

(The text below is taken directly from the VTS homepage.)

The Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) teaching method and school curriculum centers on open-ended yet highly-structured discussions of visual art, significantly increasing students' critical thinking, language and literacy skills along the way.
Through VTS' rigorous and engaging individual and group 'problem-solving' process, students cultivate a willingness and ability to present their own ideas, while respecting and learning from the perspectives of their peers.  
Through VTS training programs for schools and museums, educators learn to facilitate student-centered discussions, engaging learners in a rigorous process of examination and meaning-making through visual art that has been carefully selected for age and developmental appropriateness. Visit the VTS homepage for more details by clicking here.
(text copied from the VTS website)

VTS Facilitation Method 101

In VTS discussions, teachers support student growth by facilitating discussions of carefully selected works of visual art.
Teachers are asked to use three open-ended questions:
  • What's going on in this picture?
  • What do you see that makes you say that?
  • What more can we find?
3 Facilitation Techniques:
  • Paraphrase comments neutrally
  • Point at the area being discussed
  • Linking and framing student comments
Students are asked to:
  • Look carefully at works of art
  • Talk about what they observe
  • Back up their ideas with evidence
  • Listen to and consider the views of others
  • Discuss many possible interpretations

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