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Perhaps this issue still is controversial and others on this list could
speak to it? I would be interested in such a discussion.
What do you think?
The Toledo Museum of Art
The University of Toledo
On Friday, October 11, 1996 ELENI53 wrote:
> Dear Friends,
> After reading the comments on "cookie-cutter" Pumpkins and fall themes
> donning the elementary halls, I'd like to pose a question that irks and at
> the same time intrigues (sp?) me.... that is teaching Monart drawing in K-5th
> For those of you who are unfamiliar, it is based on drawing techniques from
> Mona Brookes.... Our school district has jumped on this band wagon as an art
> instruction panacea..... as we have no art specialists in elementary (well,
> one out of 11 schools does)
> Essentially, the students follow the instruction of the teacher, repeating
> the lines and shapes and eventually, everyone comes out with a drawing that
> actually looks like what it's supposed to be. The teachers think they're
> teaching art, the kids think they can draw, and the parents have something to
> put on the frige that they can identify.
> Imagine walking down halls where every drawing is essentially the same as the
> others... and you understand the part that irks me....
> What intrigued me is something which happened after I visited the schools in
> the district in an Artist in Residence capacity. One school in particular,
> which had this training for 5 years (about 2 hours per week), had students
> which I found could not think and create on their own.....For example, I was
> teaching fifth-graders a lesson on Block Printing... They were to draw a
> simple design on tag board, cut it out and paste it on mat board...then we
> were going to print from these paper "blocks". I gave them ideas (a house, a
> tree, an animal) of things to draw...I demonstrated with my own materials...
> I showed them a completed block... From these 5th-graders I GOT BLANK STARES
> and comments such as "I can't draw" or "show me how to draw a ______" I found
> that they, even after 5 years of Monart, could not come up with an original
> idea... I concluded that it was because they had no one to spoon-feed them
> the instruction.... "first you draw this line here, then this next line goes
> here, etc" This is what intrigued me... I wanted to write to Mona Brookes and
> tell her what I saw happening.
> I think it (Monart) would be a good program for older students 6-12, because
> they can understand the connection of seeing and replicating on their own.
> Younger kids can follow directions as they are given, but when the instructor
> is gone, they revert back to their comfort level and draw as children their
> Have any of you experienced this or know what I'm talking about?