Art and Design

Speaking: Discussion Questions

Download the questions as a .pdf (for printing) or
copy and paste them (for editing) from the list below.
See this post for 10 ideas on how to use these questions.

  • What do you think of when you hear the word “art”?
  • Who are your favourite painters or artists? Why?
  • How do you feel about contemporary art?
  • Did you have art lessons when you were at school? If so, what were they like?
  • Are you any good at painting or drawing? Were you good when you were a child?
  • What’s the best art gallery or museum you’ve been to? Why?
  • Do you think video installations can be works of art? What about photography?
  • Is fashion ever an art?
  • William Morris said, “have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful”. Do you agree?
  • What’s your favourite building and why?
  • Can any object become a work of art?
  • Who’s the most famous living artist in your country? What do you think of their work?
  • Are there any artists whose work you really dislike?
  • Would you prefer to be an artist, a teacher or a lawyer? Why?
  • Do you think art galleries and museums should be free? Why or why not?
  • John Keats wrote, ” Beauty is truth, truth beauty.” What did he mean? Do you agree?
  • What’s the most beautiful work of art you’ve seen? Can you describe what it looks like?
  • What artworks do you have in your home? What artworks would you most like to have?
  • What’s the last poster, postcard or painting you bought? What do or what did you like about it?
  • How do you think the art world might change over the next 50 years?

Speaking: Online Collaborative Activities

  • ArtPad Digital Canvas
  • You can group your students and ask them to work together to create digital artworks. Best for young learners.

Speaking: Debate about the Value of Art

The question for debate is this: Is some art better than other art?

You can download the debating sheet here (you can see what it will look like below), and read about some ways of using it, and of staging debates more generally, here.

image showing pros and cons for my debate about art

Listening: Online Videos

Reading: Authentic Texts

Here are some interesting (and, hopefully, semi-permanent!) online articles and websites I’ve found. Have a look through and see if there’s one that might interest your class. If you have any other suggestions about more sites or articles I could include here, please let me know.

    Animal Art

  • Elephant Art
  • Short text from Bali Adventure Tours with example paintings (available to buy!).

    Art Crime

  • Top Ten Most Audacious Art Heists
  • Descriptions of some (in)famous art thefts. Advanced; you may want to adapt the text for lower levels.

  • The Biggest Art Heists of the 20th Century
  • Slideshow with text from the Independent.

    Art and Suffering

  • Turning Human Suffering into Art
  • Interesting short article from Forbes magazine about Brazilian photographer SebastiĆ£o Salgado. The article is accompanied by some of his pictures.

    Modern Art

  • In Defense of Contemporary Art
  • In this fairly short article, Saskia Wilson-Brown talks of the rift between modernists and post-modernists in the contemporary US art scene, and defends the post-modern.

  • Is Modern Art a Load of Rubbish?
  • Short introduction to an interesting experiment: can someone with no artistic talent or inclination make a work of art and sell it for a profit? This could be turned into an interesting discussion or class project.

  • Modern Art is Rubbish
  • Ellen West from the BBC’s Culture Show gives her opinion, in a short article.

  • What Do You Think of Modern Art?
  • This BBC debate has closed, but the comments are interesting and varied, and good examples of the ways contemporary Britons talk about art.

Writing: Online Collaborative Activities

  • TheBroth
  • Allows your students to create artworks with others in your class, or around the world. There is a chat window where they can type in their ideas.

  • CoSketch
  • Another way to collaborate on creating digital artworks, this time with a private page just for your class. Again, there are chat windows so your students can type their ideas to be shared with others in their group.

  • My Art Gallery
  • Allows users to upload photos and pictures to their own, online “art gallery” space. They have to answer questions about the images they upload, and describe them. Great for young learners.

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