View Full Version : art education
10-12-2005, 08:22 PM
I am the art education professor at the university which I teach. I also have a 5 year old kindergarten student. My son has always been creative and we have encouraged him to draw what he sees. He has been drawing wonderful little people which usually have striped shirts and arms, legs, and fingers, hair, and facial expressions, all way ahead of the developmental curve for his age. The other day he came home and was drawing his family (a common theme for 5 year olds) I noticed that the details were gone, replace with only stick figures of varying sizes to indicate who they were. I asked "Who taught you to draw people like this?" He stated that his teacher did and that she said that was the way you were supposed to draw people. I told him that I wanted him to draw people the way he sees them and to stop drawing stick figures. My dilema is do I talk to his teacher and help her to understand the damage that teaching kids schemas does to student creativity and their abilities? I don't blame her she probably never was taught right either, but I see it as real damage being done to countless students that will pass through her class. How many non art people do you know that say they can only draw a stick person, that is because someone taught them the schema and their development of drawing a person never continued. I don't want to offend her but I do want to help her get it right. Any suggestions on this is appreciated
10-18-2005, 11:48 AM
I would get on the teachers case.
Just do it in a good way.
Somehow the damage done by our educational system has to be corrected.
Too many people think they can't do any kind of art due to the damage you describe.
Check out my children's sculpture (http://www.sculpture.net/community/showthread.php?t=1512&highlight=childrens) link. The books I site might be a source for good ideas when approaching the teacher or school system.
10-18-2005, 01:09 PM
One way to approach the art teacher is to offer to do a workshop with the kids, to offer a differant point of veiw. I have found that most teachers are pretty receptive to the help.
10-18-2005, 04:13 PM
do it now Matt!
get involved and stay involved
though indirectly, the teacher works for you, so see that she knows how to do her job and does it well
mine are grown now, but the crap I witnessed got me involved on a regular basis----normally, I could influence by volunteering for regular and special activities, occasionally, I had to "read the riot act" the 1st time, as/re my son (who is currently in the top 10% in his class in law school), when his teacher claimed that he had a learning problem---and I told her that "if there was a problem it was her's, not his---she's the adult, she's the professional, and she should damned well start to act like it". Teaching was not her true love, nor was she very good at it, and she left it the next year.
I've never seen any figurative work from you, so don't know if you're the best choice to lead this activity, but at least you can minimize the damage---and
I recommend that you avoid giving your child conflicting directions as/re the teacher--he is too young to be burdoned by conflicting orders---she's the one that needs guidance if you feel that she has missed something important
good luck---parenting is a one shot deal----aim carefully, then squeeze ever so gently
10-18-2005, 06:12 PM
Hey Matt, Perhaps there's an explanation for this but I can't imagine what it could be, SO, I wouldn't worry too much about offending this woman.
Have a great day,
10-18-2005, 10:25 PM
I agree that you should tactfully approach this teacher, but do make it clear why what she is doing is wrong. Maybe it will sink in and she'll become a true facilitator of learning, instead of an obstacle to it.
I have witnessed the same thing in other areas, besides art; writing, music, virtually any creative endeavor. I have met countless adults who have told me, "Oh, I could never do that!" I always ask them, "Have you ever tried to?" Nine times out of ten, the answer is no. Then I say, "Then how do you know you can't?" Nevertheless, I never managed to get anyone to overcome the damage done to them by parents, teachers and "friends."
When I was in my teens, I began learning to play musical instruments, by ear, without any instruction at all. I started with drums, then guitar and several other instruments, including piano, violin, cello, 5-string banjo, flute, trumpet, saxophone, etc., over the course of the next fifteen or twenty years. Today, I still play keyboards and compose and record my own music. I did all this because I wanted to do it and I had no impediments in my way because no one ever told me "you can't do that!" or "That's not the right way!" or "Do it like this!"
10-18-2005, 10:44 PM
Hi Matt. I currently have one in K, one in 3d and one in pre-pre-pre school (2 YO). I would first talk to the teacher and find out what and how she tries to teach. You probably know that what your child says may not match exactly what the teacher said. She may have just drawn a stick figure... or she may have said it exactly as your child described. Also, your child may feel peer pressure, and switch down gears so as not to stand out. I currently spend one afternoon a week and teach K through 4th (but not art). I try to be expansive. I also find it funny that I sometimes hear my own child describe my lesson in a very different way than what I actually thought I was teaching.
So, the best advise I think has been given. Talk to the teacher, and get as involved as the teacher/school and your own available time will allow. Most good teachers are willing and eager to learn new things, and are happy to get useful feedback. Most teachers are also bombarded by a small percentage of aggressive parents that just like to be vociferous.
Also, keep on teaching your kids art at home. You can give them periodic art lessons and greatly expand their universe.
Good luck to all of us parents!
10-18-2005, 11:07 PM
Matt,spooky dude cause my chap had a pencil in his hand before he could walk.He loved to draw and was pretty good.Then he start coming home from school and doing the same thing,drawing stick people.I am wondering if kids dont drop down to ther pers level to feel there doing things right,or are teachers as lame as some people suspect.My son is in 2nd grade and when I asked him about art class he said"oh dad it is only for fith graders and up?they have her in a trailor in the back to boot.Yeeks what the heck is going on with the arts in are public schools,or should I say lack of............I say its time for us sculptors to place some work around these schools to inspire the next generation?Im game..givem hell MAtt...IA
10-19-2005, 10:20 AM
Here is a picture of his people drawings, I know they aren't museum caliber but I see some great qualities in his drawings. Thaks for all of your advice. We have conferences comming up and I am going to talk to the teacher about it. I have been thinking about offering a workshop. The bind I feel is that I am the art ed professor at the university so I am in some ways considered the expert in art education in the area. I also happen to be a sculptor and artist and have a huge interest in making sure that my kids get a good quality education. I also am concerned about other students who don't have parents who value the arts that wont be exposed to art and the correct ways to learn art. I am kind of sitting in an odd spot being parent and professor. I don't want to overstep my bounds but if I don't probably no one else will. Hope you enjoy this snip of my sons art. I do have some experience since I taught for three years before I went to grad school, so its not like I don't know what teachers have to deal with.
10-19-2005, 03:38 PM
Isn't that just great!
Don't ever lose this. And don't let your kid be swayed.
Here's a recent one from my granddaughter.
Three people with one that has eaten grapes.
This is a pretty typical developmental stage where all the parts are there, but separated...
10-19-2005, 05:04 PM
My little girl was drawing/painting in the studio and when I turned around I started cracking up.Must have been her Jasper John flash back... :) IA
10-19-2005, 05:04 PM
I vividly recall, in kindergarten, drawing pictures of jet fighters in aerial combat - in perspective, no less. I was five at the time and this was just four years after the Korean War. I recall the other kids being amazed with what I was doing and the teacher couldn't believe it. I don't even remember going through a stick figure phase. By ten, I was acurately drawing Fred Flintstone. I won a school-wide art contest at eleven.
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