Creative Conscience

Are you with me?  I look to these images and I get a little angry.  I think of the younger ones in grade one getting marked on their understanding of concepts based on their drawings. Drawing development doesn’t match exemplars. Drawing developments don’t even match in facts. And think about gender, boys don’t naturally draw this way, it is inculcated. I am not claiming that I understand how children draw.  But I resent this clear misconception. Don’t structure the way that children draw. Let them teach you and unlock the heart. please look on.

” We are all creative but by the time we are three or four years old, someone has knocked the creativity out of us.  Some people shut their kids up who tell stories. Kids dance in their cribs but someone insists they sit still. By the time the creative people are ten or twelve they want to be like everyone else.”

Maya Angelou

 

Addendum# 1

 

Feel free to comment. This is learning for me. I have some misgiving about the post. Please know understand I am not exactly suggesting that children teach themselves, more like— children should not be evaluated on their drawing as a means of demonstrating their understanding of concepts. I feel there is no training in drawing but merely evaluation and expectations. The influence I have had on my child’s drawing is fairly worldly. When I look to exemplars in the curriculum I get discouraged. Lots of children particularly boys draw things that are absolutely incomprehensible b/c they draw things move and work, b/c that is what they are attracted to. I feel that some educators don’t appreciate that and mark static drawings with captions underneath as correct.  A practice that discourages creativity and can be one of the reasons that so many of us turn away from the arts as something they don’t relate to. Drawing can be away to communicate your understanding but I’m not sure this is being executed in a way that doesn’t discourage some of our youngsters. thank you

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Pre-service resource

Another Resource on the same topic

 

http://mary-h.com/timeline/schematic/index.html

Are you with me?  I look to these images and I get a little angry.  I think of the younger ones in grade one getting marked on their understanding of concepts based on their drawings. Drawing development doesn’t match exemplars. And think about gender;  boys don’t  naturally draw this way, it is inculcated. I am not claiming that I understand how children draw.  But I resent this clear misconception. Don’t structure the way that children draw. Let them teach you and unlock the  heart.

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3 Comments

Filed under important strategies, Student Work, Teachers College, theories, visual arts

3 responses to “Creative Conscience

  1. Patti

    I’m a little confused–what exactly are you upset about? The first set of drawings look like they are for some classroom exercise about responsibility, and the drawings are just an “extra” to get the kids focused on what they are supposed to be writing. Am I wrong? Are they an art test?

    Then you have depictions of Lowenfeld’s descriptions of drawing stages. These are stages that almost (but not all) kids go through naturally–Lowenfeld didn’t just make them up, he observed lots of kids doing what it says in each stage. Very few nine year olds need to be taught to use schema in their drawings–v shapes for flying birds, circles with squiggly rays all around for the sun, etc., they seem to pick it up from each other. I don’t know that Lowenfeld’s stages of drawing has anything to do with creativity per se, or that anyone other than pediatricians use them to “grade” children in any way.

    Finally, you say that we should just let children do their own thing, that they will “teach themselves.” Interesting concept, but if you really believe this, then why are you an art teacher? I also don’t see that art teachers as a rule do much drawing instruction in the elementary grades–I give after school drawing instruction to interested elementary students from a number of different schools in my area, both public and private, because these kids DON’T learn much about drawing in their art classes, and they want to build on what they already are picking up on their own.

    I ABSOLUTELY, ABSOLUTELY agree with you that kids have their creativity beat out of them by the time they enter middle school, but I think that is caused by other forces, both educational and societal, and has nothing to do with them being given too much drawing or general art instruction. If you want to read some interesting ideas about teaching drawing/art to children while also promoting creativity, I suggest you find Marvin Bartel’s website. I think it would give you a lot to think about.

    • The exemplars are of social studies exercises and don’t match “natural stages” giving that many children are still younger 5-6 in grade one, and pre-schematic drawing can continue normally until children are seven years of age. children are being evaluated on their understanding by how they demonstrate detail in their drawings. my point is that I don’t think that this is a valuable practice. If social studies is the expectation the demonstration of that should reflect either an authentic task or reflect more closely the natural development of childrens drawing. there are no art exemplars for young children but there are these expectations to demonstrate understanding through detail in other subjects, I think that is flawed. this is in regards to the ontario curriculum. but i will check out Marvin Bartel. In education as in other places we are indirectly teaching children to draw the way we expect them to…..

  2. Alex

    Interesting thoughts …
    1- I still remember my Director of Education going into an elementary school class while the students were coloring a Canadian flag and first questioning the validity of the task and then saying … there is no such thing as a coloring curriculum.
    2- I had a very interesting discussion with an Occupational Therapist (OT) friend of mine that resonating with me. She said that children, but in her experience a large number of boys, put considerable detail into the their pictures but that often come out as mere approximations of their target, while others, majority girls drew the stereotypical version. To illustrate her point she asked some children in Grade 1 to draw a boat. One of her very creative boys began drawing a pirate ship at a feverish pace with lots of creative detail – a ship’s steering wheel, a skull on the sail etc. Other children drew the stereotypical boat – with a small sail, sun in the sky, waves etc. The teacher of this group of students seemed to reward the stereotypical drawings when really the OT said that the creative drawing of the pirate ship with all of its detail, although it did not “look” as good, is actually more creative and in the long run, when drawing skill fills in, this student will really shine. (Caveat – she asked the students to explain their drawings so she could understand the creative process behind the work.) She equated it to a student who is doing writing – if it is printing class then you should be rewarded for neat printing – if it is creative writing, students should not limit themselves to words they know how to spell, with proper punctuation etc but rather students should be rewarded for trying to do more. What usually happens – the stereotypic is rewarded as it looked the best but this missing the mark of the goal of writing in the first place. Kids who ventured but whose work was not the best looking should not be penalized but rewarded …… Interesting as you said, what we teach our kids about creativity both directly and indirectly early in their lives ….. Glad to have met Sarah, Occupational Therapist who helped me see something I might not otherwise have thought about and as a Speech Language Pathologist who works on multidisciplinary teams with many children it was important to see ….

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