Visual Thinking Strategies
Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) is a research-based teaching methodology based on the work of cognitive psychologist, Abigail Housen and veteran museum educator Philip Yenawine that supports learner-centred thinking and feeling when looking at art objects.
Over the past three years Dublin City Arts Office has been testing the practice of VTS in its municipal space, The LAB Gallery. By working in collaboration with children and teachers in local schools within its innovative arts in education programme Project 20/20 we have been learning about how this method responds to artistic, education and community objectives.
In 2017, Dublin City Arts Office was awarded an Erasmus+ project called ‘Permission to Wonder – Supporting Schools to Implement the Visual Thinking Strategies Method to Support Learning with Visual Arts’. (link) In the Permission to Wonder project, the VTS method will be developed for educational use in schools and cultural institutions by teaching the method to art educators and school teachers in 2017–2020.
The partners of the project are:
Ireland – Dublin City Council’s Arts Office & LAB Gallery, Dublin
Netherlands – VTS Nederland, Amsterdam
Finland – The Finnish Museum of Photography, Helsinki
Denmark – Muserum, Roskilde
Spain – CREA 360, Cocentaina
Slovenia – The Slovenian Association of Fine Arts Societies, Ljubljana
We have also been piloting training and resource materials for teachers with the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment. Our focus has been on supporting professional educators from early years settings; primary school classroom teachers; secondary school (art) teachers; art educators (freelance museum and gallery educators, including teaching artists). (link)
Professional Development in Visual Thinking Strategies
Dublin City Council and the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment continue to work together and test the training pathway for ‘educators’ in Visual Thinking Strategies. Trainings are developed based on the evaluations from participating educators – artists, art educators, primary classroom teachers, secondary (art) teachers, science educators and third level educators.