Art Critiques with ESL Students

“I like it. It’s nice.”: Art Critiques with ESL Students

By Allison Yasukawa

October 29 at noon; in the CTL meeting room (Library, 2nd Fl)

Please RSVP your attendance for this event.

Critiques. Whether they are good or bad, stimulating or boring, they are unavoidable in an art school context. Critiques function simultaneously as a form of assessment and a space for engagement in which students learn critical and creative dispositions of art school practice. Yet, while we do critiques all the time, we rarely teach critiques. Instead, students are expected either to know intuitively how to critique or to acquire this knowledge implicitly. While navigating the critique process presents a challenge for all novice art/design students, the learning burden is especially high for ESL students who are negotiating multiple linguistic and cultural demands in critique contexts. This workshop will address the specific challenges that ESL students face in critiques and present materials and activities that instructors can incorporate into studio curriculum in any discipline with an orientation toward student agency and the co-construction of knowledge about critiques.


Allison Yasukawa is a visual artist and educator. She holds an MFA in Studio Arts and an MA in TESOL/Applied Linguistics from the University of Illinois at Chicago. In her studio practice, she explores themes of social encounter in local and global contexts. She has exhibited nationally and internationally at the American University Museum (Washington D.C.), High Desert Test Sites (Joshua Tree, CA) and Dak’Art OFF (Saint-Louis, Senegal), among others. Yasukawa’s pedagogy focuses on studio and academic classes in English for Art and Design. She is the Director of English Language Learning at the California Institute of the Arts and has previously taught courses for multilingual students at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Columbia College Chicago, the Maryland Institute College of Art, and ArtCenter College of Design. Yasukawa has also led workshops internationally for undergraduate and graduate students on contemporary studio art practice at Addis Ababa University (Ethiopia) and Hunan Normal University (China). She has presented on art-language overlaps in critique instruction, community engagement, failure and student autonomy, and inclusive teaching practices at conferences including TESOL International Association, Foundations in Art: Theory and Education (FATE), and College Art Association (CAA). Yasukawa lives in Los Angeles.

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