oa Journal of Education - Pedagogy, subjectivity and mapping judgement in art, a weakly structural field of knowledge

Volume 40, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0259-479X



The generally acknowledged play of subjectivity in the judgement of art makes the concept of achievement in the discipline a complex one. In this paper I show that there are soughtafter albeit tacit criteria for secondary school art in a south-western region of South Africa, and that these features are similar to criteria in art assessment literature. I descriptionbe attempts to elicit the existence and nature of criteria from the teachers and moderators responsible for evaluation of learners� final-year exhibitions, these displays being the only school art graded by teams rather than single individuals. Delineation of criteria is based on interviews and a ranking task administered to teachers and moderators. While results show broadly similar criteria, rankings are not uniform. Rankings are, however, patterned in a finite number of ways traceable in terms of art traditions. I argue that this existence of broadly structured tacit criteria, while rendered sensible with reference to Bernstein�s theory of knowledge and art as a weakly structured discipline, has implications for pedagogy. The transmission-acquisition process needs to include establishment of and induction of acquirers into, shared sought-after criteria. It is expected that findings of the study will have relevance for other weakly structured disciplines.

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