Do you love to draw? Do you enjoy drawing? Do you feel that you have a lot to say but which you would rather give in the form of a drawing? Would you draw on the plane? Could you try to draw with a pencil? Would you rather work with paints? Would you could you, join the Drawing Day 2009 on June 6 to make it a one day event where artists around the world will draw and together submit 1 million drawings in 1 day?
Here is story which might inspire you to understand the importance of drawing and its influence on literacy development.
Montessori first discovered that children learn to express themselves during a session with normal kids at San Lorenzo in Rome where her first children’s house was formed. She had asked a child to draw a chimney which was near where she was seated. She had offered the child a chalk, to which the child took and started to draw on the ground. The child exclaimed, “I can write! I can write!” His shouts sent many others to join him. He also began to write words next to the drawings he made, camino (chimney) and tetto (roof). His friends gathered around him in a circle looking at his drawings in astonishment. A few of the kids asked Montessori for chalk and they began to write words as well.
Reference: Maria Montessori, Discovery of the Child, Page 221, “The Mechanism Of Writing.
This story might ring a bell for many parents and teachers who have been around children and observed literacy development of kids. Writing of alphabets or characters is essentially a skill which expresses a knowledge already known, like how a chimney looks like (visual understanding), how a word might sound like in writing (like mama), and how an alphabet looks like. The explosion of writing could not have arrived to the child or even to any language learner without prior knowledge of how his environment feels, looks or sounds like. Henceforth, it is not impossible for people not to be able to draw anything.
The fear of not being able to produce a drawing that is clear and harmonious, comes from the lack of training in motor and sensorial skills of the hands, eyes and muscular senses. Reading words take priority over the understanding of the dynamics of the living environment. Learning therefore becomes a pursuit academic excellence. When it comes to art and drawing, the result is strange scrawlings know as ‘free drawings’ which shows the person is lacking in emotional and visual stimulus.
Mandarin characters, which has evolved from pictorial writing, is a form of art of drawing, also proves that people have always enjoyed communicating with one another through pictures. The cavemen drew pictures to leave behind history of their existence earth. Drawings, however primitive or childlike, will grow and evolve to become knowledge for others.
Drop everything and start to draw on June 6 2009.
There is a day for almost everything these days I guess. But this is one of the good days to celebrate.
You are so right children and adults alike find drawing to be a natural way of expressing themselves. And definitely it would be great to leverage that in teaching.
As an educator I wanted your advice on the Kumon learning method. Do you know about it? If yes what do you think of it?
From my understanding, it focuses on two main subject interests: maths and reading (of language).
I also gather from wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kumon_method
The Kumon language program varies regionally. For example, the Chinese reading program in Taiwan is different from the Chinese reading programs in Hong Kong and Singapore, and the English program in the U.S., Canada, and the Philippines varies from the English program in the United Kingdom. Additionally, Kumon Korea has other subjects, such as science, calligraphy, Korean, and Chinese characters, which are not available elsewhere.
To meet today’s education challenges, parents may seek to use specific programmes like Kumon or Abacus to ‘fix’ the problems their kids are facing. However, this does not address the whole child development which includes his need to grow emotionally and intellectually through physical experience with his environment. I think as parents, we have to take a holistic approach in raising our kids and not let just a few subjects become the kids’ burden to perform.
When the kid do well in Maths and Language in school because of attending Kumon, Abacus or Montessori Maths and Language programmes, parents think they have found a solution to their problem in getting their kids to perform. When the learning is over and the kid graduates, he still have other challenges he has to overcome in life.
The man who founded Kumon created this formula because his son had a problem with Maths. He was a parent first. As a parent, he not only knew how it would work for his kid, but also how to handle his kid. Henceforth, he addresses the problem from the whole child development aspect.
Any method that boosts the child’s confidence in himself to overcome learning difficulties in Maths, Humanities or Languages will be healthy for the child.