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Re: LD Kids & Art

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From: Betty Bowen (bbowen_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Thu Mar 11 2004 - 06:01:43 PST


>>Betty, you are right in that not all LD kids draw.

That really wasn't what I was trying to say, I wasn't very clear, sorry. It's more than that. I just do not observe a connection between learning ability and art ability. At all. Good or bad. When our special Ed staff put kids in my class BECAUSE they are LD and therefore are probably going to be successful in art, that is not based on anything real that I have ever observed as a teacher or a student. There are non-artists and good artists equally distributed among any group I have ever witnessed. LD doesn't make a kid more likely to be a good artist than does "Gifted" status. Whether or not they can use their hands well doesn't stop the good ones, either. Poor behavior appears in all levels of academic ability, so that isn't that big a factor for me either. I always tell the kids that drawing isn't about hand skills, it's about seeing.

I don't grade on ability, I grade on effort and participation and attitude, since I think it is wrong to grade on art project quality at this age, so do they see the good grades and assume the kids are good artists? I don't know.

The only "group" of students I grew up with and now teach (same school) that are outside that observation are Native American, specifically Pawnee, students. They can draw, across the board, without exception, erasers not necessary. A clean, confident, single line. Every time. Even the ones who are too shy to speak to me, and have other kids bring their work over show me and ask questions for them. My father, a lifelong teacher born in 1916, told me, as he lay dying in a hospital and knew I was going to get my first teaching job said: "don't think you can teach the Pawnee kids how to draw, they already know. They can draw as soon as they're born". So far I have yet to see an exception to that Clyde Bowen observation.

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