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Re: caring about drawing....


From: Bunki Kramer (bkramer_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Tue Jul 22 2003 - 11:59:32 PDT

from: Bunki Kramer (
Los Cerros Middle School
968 Blemer Road
Danville, CA 94526

>From: "Judy Decker" <>
> caring about drawing......... Bunki and Patty are both right. I
> KNOW is help for you in defining your own philosophy on
> how you deal with kids when it comes to drawing..... If a student is trying to
> realistically and just doesn't see it the way you do.... If the child sees
> things differently---THEN that child also views drawing the same way Patty
> does.....AND if a child is
> doing observational drawing and gets it, then that child views drawing the
> same way Bunki does.....
> Here is how I handled it..... I found an artist who also drew the same why
> the child did and showed those works to the child who wasn't getting
> observational drawing. (Dubuffet and Picasso are both good - Doesn't matter
> whether or not the kid knows those artists also drew realistically.....

Why doesn't it matter? It it's the truth it should matter.

When it comes to "drawing", I just don't know if I can go along with your
philosophy of "they get it" or "they don't get it" and let the chips fall
where they may.

I think learning how to draw is a BASIC and T-E-A-C-H-A-B-L-E skill if
approached step-by-step. If it's a teachable skill than that requires the
teacher to be 110% involved step by step. If you give me a student who can
write his name legibly, I can give you a "drawer"....every time IMHO. I
think Betty Edwards and Mona Brookes have already proven that theory over
and over again so that doesn't make me super woman thinker by a long shot.

I think the main problem lies with fear which I've mentioned before. We know
fear comes in many ways through many channels...peer pressure, fear of the
teacher (and the teacher's fear too), baggage the child carries from
previous experiences and teachers which someone mentioned earlier, fear of
the unknown, fear of a "try" ethic, fear of "effort required", fear of
making a commitment to learn, so on.

If you can't get rid of that "fear" or at least loosen it up a little, then
you've already been defeated in teaching drawing. A teacher has to be aware
of that and deal with it before successfully teaching students to draw for
probably 3/4's of the class (though the better drawers learn much too). order to make it a teachable skill, deal with step one...fear.
And, again, what I am saying is I think every child can "get it" if given
enough help and having the right attitude about fear because it just keeps
happenin' in my classroom. takes a ton of patience too.

Some teachers can teach watercolor to anybody. Some teachers can teach
throwing pots on a wheel (and this entire list knows I suck big time with
this endeavor!), some teachers can teach jewelry making, and some teachers
can teach drawing. Maybe we can agree that to teach drawing it takes (in
this order)...fear, teacher, child...and a lot of commitment on your part.

>>>>It's what THEY want.

Let me rephrase that..."It's what they SAY they want". Everyone will SAY
they want to draw better but the choice is really about whether they want to
make the effort...then they're usually left with a blank wall for lack of a
teacher who'll show them.

> Students
> who see things differently can be proud they have developed a different
> style at such an early age --when our culture focuses so much attention on
> Realism.

Seriously. Do you really feel a student would be proud they couldn't draw?
Would they really be that sophisticated to understand their different
"style" and being different in a culture when their immediate concern is
peer pressure and fitting in? Even if you say that to them, do you think
they are even listening to what you say when they already know how they feel
and they can see it in front of them?

I've got to tell you I've done a lot of pondering over this drawing unit.
Truthfully sometimes I'm too exhausted to do this unit and we do some other
lesson but then I often get back responses of..."Why didn't we do the
drawing lesson?", "I've been waiting to learn how to draw", "Teach me,
please". It takes a lot out of me because of the commitment/patience thing
on my part. It sure is easier just to let it slide. mind keeps
going back to those 100's of reflection papers the kids their
insightful responses, to how they feel about themselves now, to what they've
feared in the past and how they've dealt with a fear. How they overcame an
obstacle. They sure do learn a lot about themselves in the process. Talk
about life's learning lessons!

And if you leave behind those "don't get it" kids, aren't you really
perpetuating the cycle for them? Giving them another bad experience?

Do you deal with it or let it slide?

But in the end, it's all really up to you. Toodles.....Bunki