Objectives of an Art Class for Kids

So you think that those colorful scribblings on your wall resemble Piccaso's abstract art? Learn how to fulfill your child's destiny here.

Objectives of an Art Class for Kids

Postby cimman » Sat May 14, 2011 8:01 am

I've been to a number of art schools and spoke to it's teachers. The majority of them says they don't really teach the technical aspects of art, ie. proportion, dimension, how to draw realistic pictures, poses. Rather they want the child to find their true art self, through free expression.

Now, this seem rather spirtual to me. Or is this just another excuse for minimal guidance of the child ? if there is no formal training on the technicalities of drawing, but rather an emphasis on letting the true self show, how does one measure progress ?

An art teacher, when questioned, said that the highest form of art, is when one finds the art within oneself. If that does not bear a semblance to realistic drawing, then so be it, as art is a personal interpretation of one's world. If the head of a giraffe is larger than it's body, then that is how the giraffe is seen by the child and should be protrayed as such. There should not be any interference (ie. correction of the drawing proportions) with this protrayal, as doing so, would inhibit the young artist from finding his or her true self, when the teacher imposes his/her interpretations on the child.

From a parental point of view, a child going through this mode of teaching is not able to show visible signs of progress in the quality of the drawing. In our eyes, quality equates to realism. The more realistic the drawing, the higher the quality, the more progress is made and the budding artist advances.

In the academic world, progress is measured in terms of improvement in grades. There is an objective evaluation criteria. This is how we measure the effectiveness of a tuition teacher. In the art world, how does one evaluate the effectiveness of the art teacher ?

how does one knows if the teacher imparts knowledge or techniques to the child ?
how does one knows if the child is progressing from the teacher's guidance ?

if the art teacher sits back, and says to the child "Go forth and find your true self, and I'll be there to guide you when you need me."
In the words of the famous Phua Chu Kang, "ahh, like dat also can ?". Isn't my money going down the drain ? Can I not do the same job at home with no impact to my financial resources ?

cimman
BrownBelt
BrownBelt
 
Posts: 616
Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2011 12:19 am
Total Likes: 3


Re: Objectives of an Art Class for Kids

Postby Guest » Sat May 14, 2011 9:26 am

I feel that it would be irresponsible for a teacher to say that to parents. Same as music, you need both technical as well as musical training otherwise free expression can happen at home, own time, own space, own target.
Last edited by Guest on Sat May 14, 2011 2:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Guest
 

Re: Objectives of an Art Class for Kids

Postby Wan » Sat May 14, 2011 9:59 am

I kinda agree with the teacher's comments. That's why my children are not in any art class at this stage bcos there is none in the market that meets my requirement. I rather my children doodle & paint to express themselves rather than drawing something the teacher dictates. I'm researching into reggio-emilio method on engaging the children with the environment & using art as a media of expression

Wan
GreenBelt
GreenBelt
 
Posts: 193
Joined: Tue May 05, 2009 10:50 am
Total Likes: 0


Re: Objectives of an Art Class for Kids

Postby daddy2007 » Tue May 17, 2011 2:44 am

I beg to differ that there should be objective evaluation criteria for art class. Art is not those scientific subjects whereby one can see the progress by able to solve more & more complex mathematical equations

As for those teaching of proportion, dimension, perspective drawing etc, I would call them technical drawing instead of arts :)

I will liken arts with english language. You can teach grammar & vocab but not imposing any particular style. It will be up to one individual to find his/her own style or expression.

When my 3-yrs old gal started to draw/paint, her animal drawings are those with very small head with a big body. This is definitely out of proportion by your definition. As she grows older and expose to the world around her, she came to realise/observe the things around her. I notice her depiction of objects in her drawing/paintings now are more "realistic". This is so call self-realisation I guess. I don't think this "proportion" thingy should be impose at onset or my gal will be turned-off. I rather let her explore & discover by herself as she learns.

I believe techniques are being taught in her lessons (at least for my case from what I have observed). I can see how now she holds her brushes well, the process of washing & changing colours with her brushes, how she is able to mix colours, be able to differentiate various shades of colours and the bold use of colours in her paintings.

If after several months of lessons and the child still draw stick-man or plain doodling, then I will call this no progress.

I think fundamentally it is how you want to position arts into your child learning.

For me, arts for my gal is not for academic purposes. I used it for 2 purposes

1. To add different dimension to her perception/thinking. Our educational system is so academic and logical. I am an engineer by training and I can see our thinking is either "black or white". Through arts (be it visual or performing arts), it can add "different shades of colours" to their thinking.

2. As a form of stress therapy. Nowsaday child is so stressed with all the heavy workload & the rats race. Through drawing & painting, it can be used as a form of de-stressing and be more emotional balanced. If you notice, arts therapy is now getting common for treating child psychology/psychiatric disorders.

daddy2007
BlackBelt
BlackBelt
 
Posts: 797
Joined: Sat Oct 23, 2010 11:00 pm
Total Likes: 1


Re: Objectives of an Art Class for Kids

Postby mika » Mon Jun 06, 2011 9:34 pm

cimman wrote:I've been to a number of art schools and spoke to it's teachers. The majority of them says they don't really teach the technical aspects of art, ie. proportion, dimension, how to draw realistic pictures, poses. Rather they want the child to find their true art self, through free expression.

Now, this seem rather spirtual to me. Or is this just another excuse for minimal guidance of the child ? if there is no formal training on the technicalities of drawing, but rather an emphasis on letting the true self show, how does one measure progress ?

An art teacher, when questioned, said that the highest form of art, is when one finds the art within oneself. If that does not bear a semblance to realistic drawing, then so be it, as art is a personal interpretation of one's world. If the head of a giraffe is larger than it's body, then that is how the giraffe is seen by the child and should be protrayed as such. There should not be any interference (ie. correction of the drawing proportions) with this protrayal, as doing so, would inhibit the young artist from finding his or her true self, when the teacher imposes his/her interpretations on the child.

From a parental point of view, a child going through this mode of teaching is not able to show visible signs of progress in the quality of the drawing. In our eyes, quality equates to realism. The more realistic the drawing, the higher the quality, the more progress is made and the budding artist advances.

In the academic world, progress is measured in terms of improvement in grades. There is an objective evaluation criteria. This is how we measure the effectiveness of a tuition teacher. In the art world, how does one evaluate the effectiveness of the art teacher ?

how does one knows if the teacher imparts knowledge or techniques to the child ?
how does one knows if the child is progressing from the teacher's guidance ?

if the art teacher sits back, and says to the child "Go forth and find your true self, and I'll be there to guide you when you need me."
In the words of the famous Phua Chu Kang, "ahh, like dat also can ?". Isn't my money going down the drain ? Can I not do the same job at home with no impact to my financial resources ?



Dear Cimman,

I would totally agree that without proper guidance the children won't know if they are drawing it in the correct way.
You may like to take a look at this link
http://www.dvckid.com/sg
You can find that this programme teaches art foundation from shapes, lines, proportion, color tone, composition and also let them to have their own creativity.
Inside the website you can also have a look at random kids drawing before and after the lesson.

The syllabus trains children to observe their environment and use their imagination and creativity to complete their artwork at the same time provides them the flexibility to explore their own ideas.

Hope this helps =)

Cheers,
Mika

mika
YellowBelt
YellowBelt
 
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon Apr 04, 2011 3:21 pm
Total Likes: 0



Re: Objectives of an Art Class for Kids

Postby bliss » Tue Jun 07, 2011 3:14 am

I agree with daddy2007. Art should be about free expression... not about getting it right like other subjects such as math and science, which have definitive answers.

Just to share my experience, I have put my child on an art course in a CC before. I was shocked to see how she was taught. She was taught specifically how she should draw the figure like what the teacher did. Whenever she couldn't draw something, the teacher actually held her hand to draw it. It was not surprising to see that every child turned up an art work that look like the teacher's at end of the class. This is not Art, this is cookie-cutting.

Art is about free expression. The role of a good art teacher should be one who teach the techniques of drawing such as strokes or color blending, BUT how the subject (e.g, a bird) is drawn or interpreted should be left to the child's creativity and imagination. There is no right or wrong in Art.

Although there is no specific criteria to gauge your child's progress in Art, u can see and feel the child's "progress" from the her work and response towards the activity... even if u are not a trained artist. U should be able to see that she adds more details to her drawing ( FYI observation is one of the objectives of Art), and the drawing appears to be more "polished" than before.

To me, Art is never a money waster. As long as she enjoys it, I think it is worth every cent that I put in to nurture her interest in Art. Whether or not she would turn out to be a Picasso at end of day, I really don't care.

bliss
YellowBelt
YellowBelt
 
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2010 11:56 am
Total Likes: 0


Re: Objectives of an Art Class for Kids

Postby The_Art_Fuss » Wed Jun 08, 2011 2:52 am

Hello parents,
a very interesting topic and very thought-provoking sharing of thoughts.
Kindly also allow me to share what I think on the topic thus far on how should art be taught and what is art. Before I go on, I will share my idea on defining art pertaining and useful to the context.

Some definition of art
Usually, there are 2 aspects that made up a piece of art, namely techniques (formalistic and non-formalistic) and concept. However, in some cases, an art work can be almost devoid of concept (naturalism art)
e.g http://simplyartonline.net/Fallen%20Mon ... 0Baker.jpg
[The artist didn't have a personal concept to modify/enhance how the artworks should look like but simply record nature as it is in its realistic setting]

And some almost devoid of any formalistic technique (pure abstraction art).
e.g http://www.nga.gov/feature/pollock/lm1024.jpg
[The artist expressed himself with nothing recognisable as an object, instead depicted an image with the concept- a visual recording of his subconscious action]

Apparently, art can exist in various forms mentioned above and can be learned in its various forms.

Which aspect of art to learn then?
However, I think it is very important and essential for a child to learn art that consists of both formalistic qualities (proportion, dimension etc) and concept! Why one when you can have two? =)
After all, many types of art consist both formalistic aspect and concept and how is your child going to be able to do such artworks if only one aspect is being trained?

A child trained purely in formalistic aspect will be able to create very realistic artworks and possess keen observation of external objects but might be lacking in personal expression that is internal. While a child trained purely in conceptual artwork will lack the ability to train his motor skills and will be unable to create recognisable objects from nature in his artworks.

Some ideas in regard to parents' concerns
"In the art world, how does one evaluate the effectiveness of the art teacher ?"
1) Hi Cimman, that's a very good topic to discuss. Compare artworks of child periodically. Has the drawing colouring become more precise? Has the form of the object become more defined and recognisable? Does the child now has more idea on his/her own to carry out when doing art? Does the art teacher enhance or touch up the child's work hence, improvement in artwork is unable and unfair to be judged? Is the teacher able to analyze the weakness and strength of your child and work on them. To improve on the weakness and tap on the strength.

2)"I beg to differ that there should be objective evaluation criteria for art class." "As for those teaching of proportion, dimension, perspective drawing etc, I would call them technical drawing instead of arts"
Hi daddy2007, there can be an objective evaluation criteria for art class based on the works. I taught in Sec school as well as lectured for polytechnic in fine art and media art. 80% of my marking scheme is on objective evaluation criteria and 20% is on assessment of student's self expression based on my artistic knowledge and judgement. MOE does have a set of formalistic evaluation criteria for their teachers to follow too. You are right on the term, technical drawing. =) Technical drawing however, is one form of art too. There are many technical figure drawings done by old masters and in our times, they are considered great art. Of course, if you think they are not art, well, your view should and will be respected as well. =)

3) "I notice her depiction of objects in her drawing/paintings now are more "realistic". This is so call self-realisation I guess"
Correct, that is self-realisation. =) Everyone practice self-realisation learning. It is our natural (nature) ability when we try to make sense and piece information together. However, of course with training (aka nurture), one will be able to learn faster. That is the purpose of education. Imagine this, a child practising self-realisation and able to realise how to draw a lion when he is 8 year old or a trained child who is 6 but already knows how to draw a lion because he/she is taught. That will be the difference in a trained and untrained individual. My question will be, why want to learn slower when you can learn faster?

4) I don't think this "proportion" thingy should be impose at onset or my gal will be turned-off.
Good point that is brought up as I am sure many parents are concerned with imposing children with education till learning is no longer fun. For young children, most often than that, they only learn simple 2D proportion (relative size, angle etc) and layering. They will not be frustrated by trying to draw 3-dimensional objects with complicated foreshortening. Good learning is step by step, tapping on the lessons previous learnt hence, they should not be feeling frustrated at things they cannot achieve but celebrate as they feel proud when succeed in drawing something new and challenging, moving up another step and building up their self-confidence and abilities.

5) "Art should be about free expression... not about getting it right like other subjects such as math and science, which have definitive answers."
Free expression is definitely important. For me, I believe in striking a good balance. To be able to depict well enough for the subject to be recognisable and aesthetically sound as well as an element of personal expression and concept to the subject. Art have definite answers when come to formalistic qualities that's why even MOE has a formalistic evaluation criteria for art in schools. Only at conceptual level, it doesn't have a very definitive answer.
One of the samples would be Marcel Duchamp's Fountain (Dadaism)
http://www.beatmuseum.org/duchamp/fountain.html
Till to today, there is a fair share of people agreeing and disagreeing on his conceptual work being art. =P

6) "I have put my child on an art course in a CC before. I was shocked to see how she was taught."
Hi Bliss, this might be due to either, the way the teacher teaches or the class is too big for the teacher to coach the students in different drawings and in details pertaining to the individual child. It helps to enrol into individual or small group class for optimised learning. =)

These are my thoughts and of course, feel free to agree or disagree with me. I respect diversity. =)
For parents who are interested to know more or have questions about art or art and education, feel free to ring me up at 9021 9512 or email me theartfuss@gmail.com
You don't have to be interested in signing up for courses to contact me though. I don't mind keeping in touch just to share ideas and knowledge about art as I am quite a busybody when come to art. =P
Cheers!

-J Lim, an art teacher with years of teaching experience with students from as young as 4 to adults and have a keen interest in art theory and philosophy beside the practice itself.

The_Art_Fuss
KiasuNewbie
KiasuNewbie
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat May 28, 2011 1:35 pm
Total Likes: 0


Re: Objectives of an Art Class for Kids

Postby cimman » Fri Jun 10, 2011 2:55 am

:goodpost:
the most comprehensive post on art evaluation I've seen so far. The key here, I believe, is to strike a balance between teaching techniques and allowing the child to express himself/herself.
Sadly, most of the art schools I've been too, are all too eager to go all the way to the extreme of self discovery. I half suspect, that they do so intentionally so that parents will not hold them accountable for anything because they didn't promise anything concrete.

Unlike music, where one looks at music exams to gauge the effectiveness of the teacher, the art teacher preys on the uninformed parent by telling them there is no gauge and when questioned starts to go into zen philosophy. I think they will make pretty good zen masters.

Your post has restored my faith in the integrity of art teachers. Unfortunately, art teachers that shares your views are few and far between.

cimman
BrownBelt
BrownBelt
 
Posts: 616
Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2011 12:19 am
Total Likes: 3


Re: Objectives of an Art Class for Kids

Postby The_Art_Fuss » Sat Jun 11, 2011 1:58 am

Hi Cimman,
thank you very much for your kind words.

I am glad that nowadays, parents are much better informed (even in areas out of their expertise like art) to question the quality of lessons for the benefit of their children's education.

As the lead trainer (of The Art Fuss), I endeavour to train other teachers working under me to deliver lessons with consistent quality because we believe that, among the many stakeholders, the most important one would be the student and no matter what, should not be shortchanged.

To put it across casually, we do not waste the student's time or talent and we do not waste parents' hard earned money. =)

If anyone is interested to discuss further on my ideas on art paedagogy in future, it will be pleasure of mine to share more. =D
Cheers!

The_Art_Fuss
KiasuNewbie
KiasuNewbie
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat May 28, 2011 1:35 pm
Total Likes: 0


Re: Objectives of an Art Class for Kids

Postby kieratan79 » Tue Sep 20, 2011 3:45 pm

Hi everyone,

Im thinking of sending my kid to some art class. Anyone has any good recommendations?

kieratan79
YellowBelt
YellowBelt
 
Posts: 20
Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2011 12:14 am
Total Likes: 0


Next

Return to Art & Craft