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Lesson Plans


why johnny can't draw

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
wendy sauls (wsauls)
Sun, 18 Jul 1999 14:48:57 -0400


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hi everybody,

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

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.

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?

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.

what do you all think?

wendy =20

=20

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