Shit Crits?

Many students and professors at Mary Washington will agree that the feedback given to students by students during critiques in studio courses is almost always positive and rarely challanging. Though everyone likes hearing positive comments during critique as a source of artistic affirmation, I contend that more constructive criticism in the classroom helps students identify the weak aspects of their work and improve. If that’s so, then why aren’t students helping each other by being tough on each other? Is this behavior compromising the quality of our education? Do people feel unsafe in our classrooms? Is it because too few students plan on pursuing careers in art after they graduate? Have professors done enough to encourage this kind of challanging discourse in our classes? Are people just lazy? What would it take to change things?

Let’s talk about it.

3 Responses to “Shit Crits?”

  1. Mike Isaacson Says:

    I think it has something to do with the philosophy that everyone in pee-wee soccer and baseball should get a trophy, regardless of whether the team sucked…

  2. Earnest Ernst Says:

    I don’t really think that really explains the issue at hand. In fact, I’d say you’re wrong. Additionally, cynicism doesn’t do anything to ameliorate the problem.

  3. Aarghmac Says:

    Students might need to learn how to critique a work before they critique each other’s. A critique that describes what the work means to the critic and what added to or distracted from that experience means more than a value judgment or an “I agree with…” Students can smell BS on each other as well as their instructors. They don’t want to “say” anything, unless they have something to say.

    That said, wouldn’t the instructor accomplish both by, say, “green-lighting” student input and comparing variations of experience with regard to the work? Is that the intent?

    Why complain that students don’t like to do something they know nothing about so the instructor can correct them, or worse, contradict them? Where’s the Flow in that?


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