Arab World English Journal, December 2016         ASELS Annual Conference Proceedings, 201  Mohammed V University of Rabat, Morocco                                                                                                                                     Pp. 168-182

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The Challenges of Teaching Visual Arts: The Case of Moroccan Higher Education


   Mohssine Nachit
School of Arts and Humanities
Moulay Ismail University, Meknes, Morocco


Visual studies are imparted as majors in many western institutions. This concern with visual culture stems from the vital role of images in communication and how they shape the mindset of the global citizen. Moroccan academia has recently introduced such discipline in some departments in order to modernize the curricula and enhance a liberal education. However, socialization and the dominant local culture favor a more conservative perception of images.  The paper explores how these converging narratives operate and how students react to some modern values such as body politics, freedom of expression, subjectivity, etc. The last concern of this study is to analyze to what extent images interrogate and disrupt traditional norms and perceptions and contribute in developing students’ critical thinking, visual literacy, modernist perspectives, intercultural communication and mindfulness. The paper is a mixture of qualitative and quantitative research methods. It is first grounded in the postmodern theoretical framework, but it is also based on a four year teaching visual arts experience, classroom observation, and questionnaires. The ultimate aim of this paper is to share some findings with other practitioners, to address the impediments and challenges of university education and to contribute in designing modern curricula that smoothly prepare the students to embrace multicultural values.
Keywords: critical thinking, negotiating meaning, postmodernism, reception, Visual literacy