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Lesson Plans


Drawing on Rt. Side of Brain...other viewpoints....

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Bunki Kramer (bkramer.us)
Sat, 27 Dec 1997 10:58:16 -0700

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Dearest Marc.....I realize you teach your courses ala Betty Edwards and I
find several of her ideas valid and useful in the classroom. I use them in
mine also. However, I do have some other viewpoints on what you mentioned
to Joy in a previous post. I cannot bring up chapter pages or other
resources at the moment to back up my theories except for what has to be a
pretty valid reason on it's own merit...my own experience of teaching
classroom art for (what seems like!) a hundred years at all grade levels.

You wrote...(snip): The ideal age is roughly the 9-to-14 period of
"obsessive realism".

I agree here. (See below)

(snip)-- It should NEVER be used with children to replace or overcome
their symbolic mode of drawing, which is developmentally healthy,
necessary, and linked to literacy, among other things.

NEVER is a b-i-g word to use. Sorry...I disagree. I feel this is the very
reason an art teacher is needed in the first place...to offer better
alternatives and speed up the process of development to a higher level.
Otherwise, you'd have kids slapping paint on paper with no
direction/learning. I'm not saying dev. stages aren't important to
know...I'm saying don't let them impede further development. So what if
some children aren't ready for it (and who is to say they aren't)....at
least they're being exposed to it. (Knowledge of develop. stages are
import. to know for evaluating, grading, assessing...not to "hold" the kids
at certain stages only because of their age.)

(snip)-- The course is basically the same for children as for adults,
since the average adult draws at a 6-year-old level.

(6-year-old level)...Here I definitely disagree. It's closer to/more like
the 6-GRADE-level. I teach the "average adult" in prof. adult ed. classes
and I also teach middle school. The average adult (in my experience),
without an outside influence like an art teacher or course, tends to stop
experimenting with drawing around the age of 12-13 or so and remains there.
If they are asked to draw a person, their stage of development would tend
to remain at this level. They reach the "I know I can't draw realistically
so I'll stop" level and give up (see above where you mentioned the
obsessive realistic stage). I see it in my middle schoolers around the
middle of 7th and into 8th grade. My 6th graders are still enjoying
experimenting but opened to letting loose of the sun-in-the-corner concept
or M&M birds. Most of them just have never thought about it because no one
has ever shown them something different before. (We have no elementary art
teachers in our district which is the sadddddd case generally everywhere in
California.)

I haven't taught the lower grades for quite some time so I'm not the one to
ask about Betty Edwards in the elem. classroom and what works. I can
discuss with some long-time-earned knowledge on middle school and the
average adult, though, and can tell you what has worked in the "real world"
for me and what I "see" going on in my classes.

I hope you take this disagreement in the friendly spirit that I have
written it...not to be a pain in the *&%($#@, but to lend some insight into
what I have experienced. Again...Edwards does have some significant ideas.
So does Mona Brooks.

Cya...................................

Bunki Kramer
Los Cerros Middle School
Danville, California 94526
bkramer.ca.us


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