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Lesson Plans


Re: Fwd: SCRIBBLING

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
redhen
Tue, 21 Oct 1997 17:52:29 -0700 (PDT)


Robert,

I'm glad to continue the dialogue. You did not forward my private reply to
the group, however, so I'll reiterate some of my comments about scribbling
in case anyone else wants to join in.

SCRIBBLING is not a bad word! Scribbling is that wonderful compulsion that
all human children of normal intelligence have to make marks. If you think
about it, you realize that without this desire and interest in mark-making,
we would not have visual means of communication, including writing, math
symbols, or drawing and painting. There is a well-researched and
documented developmental sequence of scribbling which leads up to drawing
and other symbol making which depends on physical and mental development.
Small children who are going through this natural development do not
require instruction to correct their scribbles. People who stop
developing mentally are labeled with mental ages partly on the basis of
this developmental sequence in drawing.

When you ask me about twenty year old college students, and compare them to
"untutored" kindergartners, I just can't relate. We aren't talking about
the same thing at all. Most, but not all, five year olds have already gone
through the scribbling sequences and have arrived at slightly more
sophisticated means of drawing, but their understanding and modes of
thought do not really lend them to "draw what they see". Rather, they draw
what they understand, reviewing their unfolding and ever increasing
awareness of the world. When you impose adult standards on them, you may
manage to train them to draw images which are acceptable to you, and kids
will do just about anything to please adults -- but you are not necessarily
doing them a favor. Children who have been allowed to go through all the
natural stages of drawing development will arrive at the stage when they
are interested in drawing naturalistically and become frustrated with their
inability to do so. This is usually at about the age of nine or ten. If
you are there to provide formal instruction in drawing technique at that
time, you will have willing and appreciative students who will "do you
proud" and meet your expectations. Children who have been artificially
prompted to accept adult standards of perfection in drawing are usually
those who grow up inhibited when it comes to anything called "art". Often,
they, through no fault of their own, are those twenty-year old college
students who are terrified to attempt drawing. They've been thoroughly
intimidated and are convinced that they can't draw.

I think that everyone of normal intelligence can be taught to draw
acceptable images, and have proven this over and over again to students in
college classes, simply to get them over their initial inhibition. I have
also observed that with sufficient self-motivation, most people can teach
themselves to draw (and cut with scissors) by themselves without the
intervention of a teacher or formal lessons. All they need is the physical
and intellectual ability and the absence of negative criticism.

It would be interesting to see what you are producing. My videotape,
called "CHILD ART", documents the developmental sequences of children in
art. It's been around for ten years and used in college classes all over
North America.