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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Drawing In Class


Two things about art college that are different from regular college:
1) You don't spend astronomical amounts of money on books. (Corollary: You DO spend astronomical amounts of money on art supplies.)
2) No one gets mad if you're doodling in class, and many, many people doodle -- or just outright draw in their sketchbooks -- while teachers are lecturing.

Why is this OK? I haven't surveyed anyone on this, but I suspect it's because the smart teachers know that drawing is such a basic instinct for art students that it would be hopeless to discourage it. But also, we learn by way of drawing. We learn TO draw by drawing, and we anchor what we're hearing by the act of putting something on the page.

This sketchbook page -- with digital color added, of course -- was part of a spread I drew while listening to a guy lecturing our professional practices class about bookkeeping and taxes. I could have written notes on what he said, but the chances of me remembering key details of his advice are much better because the part of my brain that usually gets bored was taken up with the task of drawing the line of students in front of me.

In art history classes, I take notes and draw. The pages with the most vigorous drawings coincide with the best-remembered lectures.

So if you are a teacher of any kind, and your students are doodling, stop before you scold!

3 comments:

honey said...

dear doodler, it is our good luck that you share backs of heads and thoughts that delight and inform. i am not a teacher, but as a mother of young children, i LOVED the doodles of my sons more than the assignments they brought home.

creativity is so much fun to share....thanks.

Nin Andrews said...

Yes, I love your doodles, too. I have this doodle machine where I can now draw with my mouse--it's a bit like an Etch a Sketch, actually, . . but now that my daughter is in Kenya (was at the Somali border), I find that I doodle all the time. I never really thought about it before, but I think it's my version of smoking a cigarette or chewing gum or tapping my fingers. If worry, I draw . . .
And yes, every school notebook is full of doodles. I wonder if it's a personality thing . . . some people drum. Some people doodle. But few doodle so beautifully as you. I hope you have a show soon.

Karen Blados said...

Can I send this link to the Punk's third grade teacher?

He's an A student and a voracious reader. When he finishes reading or a worksheet or other assignment early, I suggested he doodle. He was getting in trouble repeatedly for talking or squirreling around -- like most boys his age he has trouble keeping still for hours on end. His teacher last year had no problem with it. His PSR teacher (religion class after school) had no issues and actually appreciated we suggested something to help him focus.

His third grade teacher isn't as open to the idea. It started with a spelling test -- that he got 101% and a Great Job sticker on -- and an email telling me to speak with him because the next time he would be losing recess time. An email telling me to reprimand my child ticked me off and then my artistic side got all ruffled up. I let his dad do the talking at conferences and I'm not satisfied, but it's a rule she has about tests so the boy has to follow it. He's stopped doodling, but now he's getting in trouble for talking out of turn again.

I have a sinking suspicion I'll be meeting with his teacher, and possibly the principal soon, because I agree he shouldn't be disturbing the other students. Unfortunately, I also don't think taking away what is really a tool for him to keep his mind occupied and his mouth shut is really the answer either.