Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS)
Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) is an educational non-profit that trains educators in schools, museums, and institutions of higher education to use a student-centered facilitation method to create inclusive discussions.
It was developed by cognitive psychologist Abigail Housen and museum educator Philip Yenawineare. VTS is based on Housen’s Theory of Aesthetic Development and corresponding research. (VTShome.org).
VTS is noted for developing critical, creative thinking skills that lead to increased visual literacy for students across all fields of study.
At the core of VTS are three key questions:
* a personal connection to art from diverse cultures, times and places
* confidence in one’s ability to construct meaning from art
* active class discussions and group problem solving
* development of thinking and communication skills
* development of writing skills
* transfer of these skills to other subject areas
Are you intimidated by going into a museum or gallery and looking at a painting? Do you feel that painting is difficult and that painting should be drawn and appreciated by special people? Do you find it educationally helpful to look at the pictures and talk about them?
In fact, when ordinary people visit an art gallery or museum, regardless of age, they look at the artwork and think about what it means. In the gallery, the painting was actually painted.
We invite painters to talk about the meaning of their work and exchange opinions. In the classroom, I teach students about the history of art and the artist's view of art while watching the paintings of the artists. In fact, one of the teaching methods for these pictures was developed under the name of the Visual Thinking Strategy (VTS).
VTS was created by Harvard-educated psychologist Abigail Housen and museum educator Philip Yenawine. Housen has spent more than 25 years studying how people grow from beginners to expert viewers. Her research yielded a stage model for aesthetic development that provides a basis for assessing student growth. Her research has also provided museums with valuable insight into the needs of their most common visitor: the non-specialist art appreciator.
Research shows that over time, engaging in VTS discussions helps students develop important skills in dealing with new and complex information in many subject areas. They practice critical thinking and logical argumentation, and practice language skills in VTS discussion courses. Internalize valuable learning strategies modeled and recommended by facilitators.
The arts play a small part in our education system. In particular, it is safe to say that there are very few programs within the art class that allow students to acquire visual language skills and develop critical thinking through art. Museum educator Philip Yenawine used to express his concern about the marginalization of the arts in our educational system. And to address and address these challenges, Housen and Yenawine worked together to deliver research and create a strategy that transformed the way museums serve general visitors and school audiences.
VTS uses a questioning strategy that is distinct from other question-based approaches. Looking at the new work, “What happened to this picture?” This is a starting question. When a viewer makes an interpretive comment, the moderator paraphrases and then asks "what did you see that made you say/think that way (e.g. men can be angry)?" This question encourages opinions based on visual evidence for everyone to see. All opinions are paraphrased by facilitators so that everyone can hear, understand and verify their meaning. The facilitator draws the group's attention to relevant ideas.
Art is, by definition, multi-layered and often ambiguous in meaning. There are many 'correct' answers. In fact, the more answers a group shares, the better they understand the piece. This kind of meaning-making activity through the visual arts trains the viewer's intellect and emotions and draws on personal experience.
Myungja Anna Koh