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Lesson Plans

seeing/drawing window?

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Marvin P Bartel (marvinpb)
Mon, 2 Nov 1998 09:01:06 -0500

I'm sorry if this has been discussed before, but I am wondering if any of
you know of any relevant research of teaching experience related to teaching
observation drawing at a very young age. If so, please respond to me or to
the group.

Brain research tells us that there is a limited window of only a few years
before the brain is hardwired and it becomes much harder to learn some types
of stuff. In music, if the study and the listening doesn't start when
children are young enough, they never learn good hearing sensitivity to
pitch. Those who have perfect pitch are likely to come from homes where
music is important. Languages are easy to learn when children are learning
to speak because they hear and say the sounds easily without thinking. This
gets much more difficult after they are older and the brain has lost its
flexibility to be programmed. Some are also finding greater intelligence for
those who have heard and studied music at a young age.

The question for us:
When is the ideal window of opportunity for learning to see and to draw?
What if children were given formal lessons in seeing and drawing in the same
way they are given formal Suzuki violin lessons when they are only 3 or 4.
Is anybody studying this in seeing and drawing? Does anybody know of any
"Suzuki" drawing teachers? Is any research being done related to the best
age (most optimal) to learn observational drawing? Are their any programs or
studies that work with very young children to help them discover their
seeing/drawing potentials while their brains are still malleable?

We all know of a few children who happen to become very good at
observational drawing. Might this be because they happened to practice and
learn it at the right time (younger than we now suspect) during their brains
development? If we could prove this, how would it change the way we teach art?

Reading and writing is universally taught beginning at age 5 or 6 and
sometimes younger. Why don't art teachers universally teach observational
drawing at a certain age? Why do the National Visual Arts Standards dance
around this issue without ever mentioning observational drawing skill as a
measurable standard of seeing ability? Isn't seeing and being able to draw
an important way of knowing and communicating about our world? The Standards
certainly cover many other important issues, but this one seems conspicuous
be its absence.

Again, if you have tried teaching observation drawing at the preschool age,
what did you learn? If you know of research along these lines, please
respond. Thanks.
Marvin Bartel, Ed.D., Professor of Art
Goshen College, 1700 South Main St., Goshen IN 46526
Office (219) 535-7592 Fax (219)535-7660
Studio (219) 533-0171
My October, 98 exhibition:
Fax (219) 535-7660
e-mail marvinpb
"Plant trees. It's a good thing."

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