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 PASS IT ON  Teach the Drawing Ritual to a Child or a Friend

Art 309, Art for Children, Spring 2001
© Marvin Bartel, instructor

  • Goal: Get some early art teaching practice by passing on observational drawing instruction to a child or a friend. This assignment is intended to help you make the transition form being a professional student to being a professional teacher. As students we learn for a test or we learn a skill so we can do something better.  As teachers we are learning things so we can teach them. When we teach them we find that we actually learn them ourselves much better than we ever learned as students.
  • Preparation: Don't begin this until you have studied Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards (especially chapters 2 and 3) and read the essay on Rituals in the Art Classroom. You might get some good ideas by reading the instructions for preparing art lessons. This assignment doesn't require all the parts in, "Planning to Teach Art Lessons", but those instructions have several ideas about teaching art and motivation that you can use while you are teaching these drawing lessons.
  • When: Start on this by February 5th or sooner if you can. Finish before mid-March. Start now to look for somebody willing to be your student.
  • Who to Teach? Get a friend, roommate, spouse, relative, or child  in third grade or older (somebody who has not studied art in college and somebody not in this class). Find a person who is willing to draw for 5 to 10 minutes at least 6 times over a period of 10 to 20 days.
  • What to teach? Explain to them how to do blind contour drawings. Use a pencil blinder. Use a viewfinder. Optionally, add observed shade and shadow. Use ball point and pencil and plain paper.
  • What to have them draw?

  • - Select things to draw that interest your student.
    - Select subjects for which your student would NOT have a previously learned schema. They are more apt to look at it carefully instead of feeling they can draw it from memory.
    - Hobby and sports gear are good. Bent cans are good. Toys are good. Food is good. Trees are good. Mirrors are good. It must be observable in a slow deliberate "edge finding" contour mode.
  • How to instruct?  Be sure they are slow, careful, and deliberate using continuous line, not sketchy lines. Be sure they understand that they carefully examine and follow the contour of the observed object(s), only looking at the paper when the drawing tool has to find a new place to start.  Do NOT show them your work. Do NOT demonstrate to them how you do it. Do run your finger very slowly along the edge of the thing the student is drawing. Do encourage slow, concentrated looking.
  • What to do with the drawings? They should be dated, titled, and the experiences should be described by you in your journal. Analyze the teaching experiences as well. Give the age of the student and include the phone number and name of your student or the parents of the child. Bind them in your sketchbook/journal so they are a complete series of work by one person (your student) if possible. After this semester is over, you may return the drawings to the student or parents if they want them.
  • Journal? When you journal the teaching experience, include your own reflections about the teaching and learning process. It can start with description and summary of what you did, but also say what you learned and how it felt to be a teacher. Say what aspects you felt positive about and what parts you wish could have gone better. Mention any unexpected responses from your student and say what you did and what you might do another time if you have a chance.
  • Assessment? The instructor will study the drawings, the subjects selected, your descriptions and self-evaluations. The student or parents may be called for their response to your teaching. This may provide a basis on which to help you become a better drawing teacher.


Click on the image to read more about classroom rituals
This page © Marvin Bartel, instructor - updated 1-9-2002

Art for Children class members may print this for their own use. Others must e-mail marvinpb@goshen.edu for permission to reproduce or publish.

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