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Lesson Plans

Oriental students and drawing skills

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
wduncan (wduncan)
Sat, 17 Jul 1999 18:44:16 -0500

Hand a brush to a Japanese or Chinese child and their brain shifts into
the same modality as is used for writing and language. A very different

experience for the non-asian child who is all prepared only to "make

I teach in a very multicultural setting (6-8) and we have students from
various asian cultures; Hmong, Lao. Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese,
Etc. They do as a general rule perform extremely well in the visual
arts. It
is to a great extent a function of which side of the brain is in gear.
digress, this is in large part due to the fact that the language of
childhood and the home is a "tonal" language (with rising and falling
As with music the language development in "tonal" cultures resides in
right side of the brain. Because they develop language in the same
that is used for drawing and spacial thinking, that side of the brain
dominate or at least more accessible. They may have never touched a
calligraphy brush but they think with the visual mode in gear. But I
it is so much more complex that just using the right brain. So many
are in play. If they are short on language (English) skills then they
pay careful attention to demonstrations. Of course they come from
that teach by example and by demonstration. They also are in a sink or
situation in our schools, we give them some help but mostly we just let
tread water. The Arts are a safe secure place to adjust until they are
to branch out. These students, like most new immigrants are under a lot
pressure (from home) to succeed. They extend a lot of effort in
they do. The art class sets few limits (as opposed to subjects that
cover the curriculum) but in art they can excel. Most end up going into
their families see as honorable professions, like Doctor, Lawyer, Etc.
graduate (Vietnamese-american) of the Kansas City Art Institute came to
is paintings to my students and demonstrate watercolors. He explained
to me
that it was a real blow to his father that he decided to become an
artist. I
do digress a lot, but it seems to me that several of us on this
ArtsEdNet Talk
thing (myself included) jump at conclusions from some simple statement
by another.

Thanks for your patience, Woody


This E-mail message is from Artist/Teacher Woody Duncan Rosedale Middle School in Kansas City, Kansas to see my beautiful grandkids Tim, Tess and Tiff click on to see my students working in the RMSartSTUDIO click on to contact me via E-mail click on wduncan better yet visit my Web Site at