Note: To protect the privacy of our members, e-mail addresses have been removed from the archived messages. As a result, some links may be broken.

Lesson Plans


Re: why johnny can't draw

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Linda Kelty (lckelty)
Sun, 18 Jul 1999 22:14:47 -0400


This is a multi-part message in MIME format.

------=_NextPart_000_0041_01BED16A.F28518A0
Content-Type: text/plain;
charset="iso-8859-1"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

Wendy, this is exactly why I thought we should be doing a group research =
project on the value of art. I've been too busy to push it further, but =
I think we need more statistical evidence that art has an inherent value =
in the learning process of the whole child, not just those that would be =
artists. We teach critical and creative thinking, but your point about =
students devining what it is we teach is well taken. If you have no =
vocabulary for what you do, you have no way to express it or internalize =
it. Even contrived terms are easier to link to knowledge than nothing. =
I sometimes think I've told students the purpose of what we are doing =
and how it will enhance their thinking and abilities only to realize I =
have not. When I explain to students about the proven growth of =
dendrites and brain capacity, that learning increases brain power, they =
are much more committed to the event within the art room. If I explain =
the process of analysis and synthesis, break down the process, and =
attempt to get students to identify their participation in the process, =
their level of involvement is incrementally greater. The process of =
identifying what will be gained in a study and informing students in one =
group while leaving one group unenlightened could be the basis for =
someone's graduate thesis.
I know these are random thoughts, but I too feel the uneasiness over the =
lack of proof of the concrete link between art and learning. There are =
too many people who view themselves as non-artists and see art as an =
esoteric effort based on unchangeable talent. Some of those people hold =
the purse strings and influence politicians. I tell my students I don't =
play sports well, but then I never spent hours shooting hoops or =
throwing a ball. If they aren't good at art, they haven't built up =
their skills and can if they choose. Art has value for all students in =
the expansion of themselves as expressive, communicating human beings. =
It is essential to formulate concrete visual imagery prior to the =
introduction of abstract symbology such as numbers and letters. Visual =
literacy enhances learning in other academic areas through continued =
visual communication. =20
We can probably all agree with most of that, but can we back it up for =
the hard-line critics who would rather fund sports? Number crunchers =
respect statistics, not anecdotal evidence. Illinois lost their art =
programs for the most part. Not enough value? It happened there, it =
could happen elsewhere, especially if states push the accountability =
aspect through standardized testing. =20
This is a large endeavor. It's possible to do it if the work is divided =
into manageable pieces with numerous people accepting responsibility for =
an aspect of the documentation. If we had this done, your ending on =
your paper would write itself, an art teacher could lay the information =
out for an uncooperative principal, parent or school board, kids could =
be told that they will learn and that it will add to their general =
knowledge base. It would be proven, documented, crunched into bar =
graphs and published. Veracity? Linda

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
=20

------=_NextPart_000_0041_01BED16A.F28518A0
Content-Type: text/html;
charset="iso-8859-1"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD W3 HTML//EN">

Wendy, this = is exactly why=20 I thought we should be doing a group research project on the value of = art. =20 I've been too busy to push it further, but I think we need more = statistical=20 evidence that art has an inherent value in the learning process of the = whole=20 child, not just those that would be artists.  We teach critical and = creative thinking, but your point about students devining what it is we = teach is=20 well taken.  If you have no vocabulary for what you do, you have no = way to=20 express it or internalize it.  Even contrived terms are easier to = link to=20 knowledge than nothing.  I sometimes think I've told students the = purpose=20 of what we are doing and how it will enhance their thinking and = abilities only=20 to realize I have not.  When I explain to students about the proven = growth=20 of dendrites and brain capacity, that learning increases brain power, = they are=20 much more committed to the event within the art room.  If I explain = the=20 process of analysis and synthesis, break down the process, and attempt = to get=20 students to identify their participation in the process, their level of=20 involvement is incrementally greater.  The process of identifying = what will=20 be gained in a study and informing students in one group while leaving = one group=20 unenlightened could be the basis for someone's graduate = thesis.
I know these = are random=20 thoughts, but I too feel the uneasiness over the lack of proof of the = concrete=20 link between art and learning.  There are too many people who view=20 themselves as non-artists and see art as an esoteric effort based on=20 unchangeable talent.  Some of those people hold the purse strings = and=20 influence politicians.  I tell my students I don't play sports = well, but=20 then I never spent hours shooting hoops or throwing a ball.  If = they aren't=20 good at art, they haven't built up their skills and can if they = choose. =20 Art has value for all students in the expansion of themselves as = expressive,=20 communicating human beings.  It is essential to formulate concrete = visual=20 imagery prior to the introduction of abstract symbology such as numbers = and=20 letters.  Visual literacy enhances learning in other academic areas = through=20 continued visual communication. 
We can probably all agree with = most of=20 that, but can we back it up for the hard-line critics who would rather = fund=20 sports?  Number crunchers respect statistics, not anecdotal = evidence. =20 Illinois lost their art programs for the most part.  Not enough=20 value?  It happened there, it could happen elsewhere, especially if = states=20 push the accountability aspect through standardized testing.  =
This is a large = endeavor. =20 It's possible to do it if the work is divided into manageable pieces = with=20 numerous people accepting responsibility for an aspect of the=20 documentation.  If we had this done, your ending on your paper = would write=20 itself, an art teacher could lay the information out for an = uncooperative=20 principal, parent or school board, kids could be told that they will = learn and=20 that it will add to their general knowledge base.  It would be = proven,=20 documented, crunched into bar graphs and published. =20 Veracity?    Linda
 
Wendy Saul = wrote:

 
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   
 
   =
------=_NextPart_000_0041_01BED16A.F28518A0--