Skill-based training is a method for teaching visual art where students are introduced to skills that build on each other in order to intelligently translate objects into drawings, paintings, and sculptures.
This includes being able to sensitively interpret three-dimensional subjects into two-dimensional artworks. In cases of sculpture, students work in a medium such as clay to better understand subjects and their construction in three-dimensional spaces. Just as in music where each new skill requires an understanding of the previous skill in order for the student to learn more advanced material i.e. students must learn how to play notes before a song.
Teaching of technical aspect is, however, only one aspect of skill development. Concepts such as dignity of labour need to be hardcoded into our curricula, besides occupational skills and competencies. In addition, school education should embrace soft skills, also called “21st century skills” empathy, collaboration, teamwork, peer management, IT skills, communication, negotiation and the like. These skills are essential for positive, workplace-ready, sought after social behaviours.
Benefits of Skill-Based Training
Continuity in Education
Skill-Based Learning requires a targeted teaching approach so that teachers can better assess what technical skills students can learn, and at what developmental stage pupils can learn them. With clear assignments where children execute specific tasks, continuity is gained in art education. When clear objectives are presented for what a student should learn from a day’s lesson, teachers can measure how and what the student is actually learning. Skill-based training allows for accurate assessment of whether a student has learned the objectives for the lesson being given.
Skill-based methods have been used to teach art since before the time of ancient Rome and continued to evolve throughout the 19th century. A strong foundation in classical training techniques engages students in history by exposing them to art of the past and the training methods that were spread from generation to generation throughout human history. By teaching these technical skills, students can more deeply understand how historical artworks were created. Classical training teaches history to students through the application of traditional art-making techniques.
It is important to note that skill-based training at its core forces the human brain to advance its visual intelligence. It is one thing for students to be able to recognize objects in the world around them and it is another for students to be able to break those objects down into specific abstracted shapes, lines and values. By teaching students how to break objects down and reconstruct them in a different dimension, students gain advancement in their visual perception and therefore their visual intelligence is increased.
Eye Hand Coordination
Skill-Based Learning builds eye hand coordination in a deliberate fashion that engrosses children in creating specific lines and shapes as well as fine motor skills that are easily applicable to many aspects of life. When a specific skill is taught in art classrooms, such as finding the angle of a line, students are often wildly inaccurate at first. When an inaccurate line angle is corrected, students improve how precisely their hands translate information from their eyes. Additionally, it takes a tremendous about of fine motor control in order to draw more and more accurate line angles, and practicing nuanced hand control improves overall fine motor skills. The act of practicing specific skills at a high level of accuracy trains the eye and hand to work together in the precise fashion needed to create skill-based artwork and complete other fine-motor-skill-based tasks.
Common Core English Language Arts Standards and Understanding Art as a Visual Language
By depicting objects and people from nature such as a moody landscape of fog over rolling hills, or blooming cherry blossoms on a sunny spring day, whether a work of art shows a mother playing with her child or a fierce battle scene, art literally paints a picture, and a picture is worth 1,000 words. A student can equate the word tree for example with an actual tree in the same fashion as they can associate the word tree with a painting of a tree, hence demonstrating a visual language. When students use recognizable subjects in their artworks, it creates a language that their peers intuitively understand.
Makes Art Exciting
Many teachers are lead to believe that art has to come naturally from within and cannot be taught, but when art teachers make the assumption that art can be taught, everyone benefits. Teaching specific skills to students who self identify as “not artists” is the most obvious way to convince them that, like all other subjects, hard work under the guidance of a knowledgeable teacher will yield impressive results. When the belief that they can learn art emerges, students become more actively engaged in art classrooms. Approaching art classrooms with the belief that art can be taught allows teachers to help all students develop a sophisticated understanding and appreciation for the visual arts and makes art class exciting for everyone.
An Additional Skill Set to Use in Self Expression
Teaching a student skill-based techniques do not rob a student of the other techniques available to them. It simply gives them an extra tool in their proverbial toolbox. Rather then relying on emotion or innate ability alone, students can incorporate their skill-based training with their emotions as much or as little as they choose in order to attain the desired result. Not having the skill-based training at their disposal only limits the number of choices artists can make when creating their art.
Although not every student will become a professional artist, through skill-based training students experience visual problem solving and can therefore appreciate and identify the skills of other artists. Students gain understanding of the work and dedication needed to create the skill-based artwork that they see hanging on the walls of museums and gain a deeper appreciation for the skills and knowledge required by the artist to create it.
By – L. Sanmiha
(Content Writer @ Legal Bites)