In my year 1 DP visual arts class I have a mixture of both, but either way I’ll start with some revision exercises as well as looking at how we discuss and/or write about art.
The returning students had me in grade 10 so they already have had some encounters with written and verbal art analysis, but it plays an important part in DP visual arts so it’s worth spending some time at the beginning (as well as later on) reviewing approaches to art.
I’ve got five books in front of me now which contain useful and relevant ideas
The Blank Canvas: inviting the muse by Anna Held Audette
Criticizing Photographs An Introduction to Understanding Images by Terry Barrett
How to Write Art History by Anne D’Alleva
Beauty by Roger Scruton
Art History a very short introduction by Dana Arnold
There are of course many other books that relate to this topic and you may already have your personal favourites, but none of the books listed above are very heavy – either literally or metaphorically speaking – and they offer different perspectives and can usefully be dipped into.
A slightly ‘weightier’ book – 500 + pages – is Critical Terms for Art History (edited by Nelson and Schiff) which is a collection of essays around various themes (‘Communications’, ‘Social relations’ etc)
All are currently available on Amazon (Anna D’Alleva also has a book called Methods and Theories of Art History which is available for pre-order from Amazon)