In the MYP Arts program the last Criterion, D) Responding, is often interpreted as the old Arts Criterion C) Reflection & Evaluation, so many teachers have continued to assign reflections as a way of meeting the assessment requirements.
To clarify, here are the descriptions of the old and new Criteria:
Old Criterion C) Reflection & Evaluation
This objective focuses on the way that a student gradually comes to feel and think like an artist. Ongoing reflection should be more than just a record of what was done. Reflecting critically requires the student to question and justify the choices that he or she has made and to develop an objective evaluation of his or her own work. The student should show a growing insight into his or her own artistic development. The student is encouraged to seek feedback from others and to consider how this feedback might inform his or her work as it develops. Constructive feedback can help a student to confirm, clarify or modify his or her artistic process or intent. Objective C is concerned solely with the student’s reflections and evaluations in relation to his or her own work. Appraisal of the work of others is addressed in objective A, although this may lead a student to reflect on his or her own work subsequently.
New Criterion D) Responding
Students respond to their world, to their own art and to the art of others.
Students must make connections and transfer learning to new settings.
Through reflecting on their artistic intention and the impact of their work
on an audience and on themselves, students become more aware of their
own artistic development and the role that arts play in their lives and in the
world. Students learn that the arts may initiate as well as respond
I see several problems with old VS new, reflection/responding confusion, the biggest one to me being that students, across the board, hate writing reflections. Just ask your students, “What’s the most annoying task you have to do in art class”? and most of them, I guarantee you, will say “REFLECTIONS”!
Reflections are also usually completed at the end of a task or project which means that most of the learning has already taken place. If the students are only responding to what they've learned in past tense then they’re missing out on many opportunities to improve and expand upon their work. The whole process becomes an after thought that the students see as a anti-climactic downer at the end of an exciting learning journey.
I’m not saying that reflections aren’t a valid and beneficial practice, they most certainly are. However, there are ways to have the students reflect on their learning that are more engaging than having them write a journal entry at the end of a project. Here are some suggestions:
More importantly, the language of the new criterion specifically says that the students should also be responding to the artworks of others and the world around them. So, reflections alone aren’t going to cut it anymore. Teenagers are very opinionated, curious, and eager when inspired so getting them to respond to a stimuli usually isn’t a difficult task, but finding a way to capture their responses and assess them can be tricky. I try to avoid written tasks as much as I can, responding to something by making something with your hands is the best way I’ve found to engage and excite students.
Here are some suggestions for how to engage the students with responding to the art of others and the world around them.
These are just a few examples of ways that students could respond to art and the world, please feel free to share more examples with me if you have any!