Using Printmaking Techniques to Teach Metacognitive Skills to Design Students

Sharon (Libby) Clarke
Assistant Professor
Advertising Design and Graphic Arts
New York City College of Technology, CUNY

As we educators wrestle with the shifting significance of print in our classrooms, we risk losing equipment, space, and funding for printmaking techniques that are seen as being no longer relevant. This study works to prove that techniques including relief printing, letterpress and lithography can be instrumental in bridging the gap between the haptic and the conceptual for poorly performing students. It strives to demonstrate that printmaking lessons are ideal for teaching the bedrock metacognitive skills so many low-performing or disadvantaged students lack when they come into our classrooms. These observations are posited to help cement printmaking’s continued place in our institutions and our curricula.

This year-long study focuses on the application of current educational theories through printmaking lessons to help beginning students improve markedly in a college setting. Specifically, metacognitive strategies are taught through printmaking projects in order to reach and support the lowest performing students in a variety of design classes and art workshops. The problem-solving skills inherent in printmaking makes it a particularly good medium to help students overcome difficulties to find connections to new material, thereby providing them with the confidence and context they need to succeed academically.

This research was presented at the Design Incubation Colloquium 1.0: Inaugural Event at AIGA on Thursday, June 5, 2014.