A review of pertinent literature indicates that there has been a great deal of discussion on how a visual arts education assists students with their critical thinking skills. In addition, it is also clear that there is no focus on a visual arts curriculum in Deaf Education. A few, but important studies imply that a visual arts education encourages complex thinking, a valuable skill for every child. Speaking from personal experience as a student teacher, I have found that Deaf students have compartmentalized knowledge, but have not been taught how to connect different parts of their knowledge to form a greater understanding. Ultimately, the key assumption is that when students understand and analyze visual arts, they are also developing their critical thinking skills. If that happens with hearing children, then why shouldn't it happen with Deaf children, too? This is an important issue because the quality of Deaf Education has been in need of improvement for many years, or at least, it is certainly not on par with public education. Professionals in the field have often stated that statistics indicate that Deaf students graduate from high school with an average reading level of 4thgrade. Although responsibility for this outcome is probably due to many factors, this result clearly indicates there is a need for much improvement in education. Personal experience also shows that Deaf students do not have adequate education in critical thinking skills. It is up to past and current graduates of Deaf Education programs to make some revolutionary changes in trying to improve the quality of Deaf Education. There are many ideas for enhancing the education of Deaf children such as a Bilingual program using both American Sign Language and English, Auditory-Verbal approach, and Cochlear Implants. A strong visual arts curriculum is one feasible possibility. Since there has been evidence such as found in Bloom's Taxonomy that visual arts enhance a higher order of thinking, there should be a strong visual arts curriculum for the Deaf students. It also makes sense since Deaf children depend on visual imagery much more than hearing children.
Department, Program, or Center
Master of Science of Secondary Education of Students Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing (NTID)
Roepke, Sidonie - Chair
Koo, Caroline, "Understanding and analyzing visual arts: how it is used in art education to assist students in the development of their critical thinking skills" (2005). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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