Critiquing a classmates work, whether it be peer-editing a paper or critiquing a drawing or graphic design is important, as it allows the artist to grow. However, there comes a point when critiquing can become unproductive, and ultimately, a waste of time.
The classroom setting is an environment that is always open for critiques. When a professor critiques a student’s work, they are doing so to help that student learn, and most of the time this can be greatly beneficial as it allows the student to learn and improve their future work. Unfortunately, there can be times where critiquing can be viewed as a personal attack and be taken too far. This happens when professors or students who are critiquing other students’ work puts objectivity into the critique.
For example, if a professor were to explicitly say to an art student that their painting is ugly, that would be wrong, unproductive and cause more harm than good, which is the opposite of what a critique should be. In the above example, the professor should approach the critique with a professional eye and not an objective one. When you critique something based on feelings rather than looking at why something needs improvement is when critiquing becomes an issue.
Some of the best learning experiences in the classroom comes from when other students critique other students’ work. Critique is good for students as it prepares them for the real-world. When students graduate and go into a career field, it is inevitable that their work is going to be critiqued or edited in some way.
By starting to gain exposure to critique in the classroom early, it is desensitizing students to the critique they will face later on.
Critique is an essential part of learning and a valuable part of improving as a student. Critiquing itself is not an issue but becomes an issue when it drifts from being productive to a personal attack.