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Lesson Plans

Re: Imagry and cognition Attn: Wendy

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Vanessa Mellom (mellom)
Tue, 27 Jul 1999 16:57:33 -0400

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Dear Wendy,

I found your reasearch very interesting so I shared your post from a
while ago with my frien Connie Noelle who is a art teacher in an
elementry school in NY. She is also very active with the NYS Art
Teachers Association. Here is her response which is very interesting.
I hope you reasearch is going well...


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Dear Vanessa,
Could you forward this to Wendy?

Dear Wendy
I wonder what exactly you mean when you say the transitive effect has been
disproven time and again?
But mostly I agree with you.We really do need to present clearly our
objectives and scaffold the process to get kids to think about thinking.
I am not surprised that you have had problems finding the part that says art
teachers get kids to think with art by improving their mental imaging, or
record and organize information and especially "next, we'll practice forming
an image in our mind from a description. this skill will help you remember
important data..."
Heck, it is an essential skill in transfering, transmitting remmembering
all kinds of data for the visual learner, any learner and espcial visual
data. Even in computing information is often sent or used in some kind of
graphics mode and nothing is more linear than a computer.
I have a friend, Dr. Ilka List who has recently did a study for her
doctorate that you should read. It is a scienticly arranged and proven
sample of the sort you are looking for. She proved that ourdoor experiences
significantly help students drawings. However I bet the outdoor experiences
including drawing etc. She taught these experiences in teat schools. IN
any event I bet Ilka can help you find more of them too. I can't find her
e-mail but she is doing some traveling and other work and may not be reading
it often this summer anyway.
Dr.Ilka List
427 Springtown Rd
New Paltz, NY 12561

I was very sad to see that observation as an important term was lacking in
the New York State Arts Learning Standards. It has been argued that it is
understood within each of the four standards but I don't buy that. We just

Vanessa Mellom wrote:

> Wendy Saul wrote:
> i've been living in the library for the past few days (weeks?) =
> researching to write my BIG paper, gasp, groan. my diss. topic is about
> =
> how imagery is integral to cognition, and how encouraging kids to =
> visualize and draw concepts helps them learn better, faster - allows =
> another "intelligence" into the mix with the standard verbal and written
> =
> ones. =20
> =20
> my preliminary research has been very fruitful (i can share titles, etc.
> =
> individually): cognitive psychologists and neuroscientists have a lot =
> of physical/biological evidence as to the role of imagery in cognition,
> =
> how imagery and verbal input are processessed and accessed. there's a =
> lot about this type of thing that's been discussed by philosophers, too.
> =
> i then found quite a few studies done by reading teachers, elementary =
> ed. types, and a few math and sci. eds. about how helping their students
> =
> use imagery in different ways to learn concepts was very successful =
> (most of these were statistically, experimentally supported, not just =
> descriptive accounts, btw). so i'm really excited, thinking maybe =
> finally there is "proof" in hard, scientific data that art ed. really is
> =
> important for intellectual development.
> =20
> BUT when i go to fill in the last link of this rationale, the one that =
> says taking art classes teaches kids how to purposefully create, hone, =
> and utilize mental and drawn imagery, i can't find it! i'm still =
> clinging to the hope that maybe i just didn't look in the right spot, =
> but i did a number of searches and failed to locate anything significant
> =
> which indicated what is taught in art class improves drawing skills or =
> mental imaging. THEN i see this thread and i start to get really =
> nervous. we have to have some kind of evidence of this, don't we? and
> =
> if we don't, how much agreement will i get when i say i think we have a
> =
> major problem?=20
> i think most art programs which include aesthetics, art hist, critic, =
> and production are informally addressing visual thought and =
> communication but feel like it may not be the primary focus and most =
> likely is not stated directly. if this is true, i'm going to have a =
> tough row to hoe backing up my argument on the visual arts angle. =
> stating objectives to students and identifying and repeating connections
> =
> is essential to learning. the transitive effect, expecting students to
> =
> make connections for themselves, has been disproven time and time again.
> =
> if we don't say, "today we're learning how to draw from a model. this =
> skill, just like writing, will help you record and organize information
> =
> for you to use. next, we'll practice forming an image in our mind from
> =
> a description. this skill will help you remember important data..." and
> =
> so on, we are wrong to think kids will just "know" that's what they're =
> doing. to me, teaching kids this type of skills should be the central =
> focus of what we do.
> =20
> what do you all think?
> =20
> wendy =20
> =20