Recently, I experimented using art to teach creative writing. For a change, I got the students to leave the confines of their classroom. Their interests were piqued: English lesson in an art room?
Having not touched the paint brush for years, it took me a while to paint this. The drawing represents me when I had a fall at six years old. The colours are deliberately chosen to convey my emotions, which would help me to construct my story later. I was thankful for a Abby Shukei, an art teacher, from whom I took some ideas.
There are several reasons for introducing art in this lesson. Firstly, our children belong to a visual generation so the use of visuals might help to trigger some memories and evoke their emotions. Secondly, we live in a noisy and distracted world. I wanted the children to learn to be silent as they draw, colour and paint. While some students struggled with their artwork, many were able to represent their experiences visually. Incidentally, this lesson proved to be therapeutic for some. I found out through a student’s artwork that he used to have problems managing his anger in primary school. He would get into fights whenever he lost his temper. This was how he represented his experiences. I was surprised that he was so candid to share about his dark past.
On a separate occasion with a young girl, after reading a story to her about an escapade, she drew this:
Her drawing reveals the situation she is in. The rough water and big fish represent the dangers and fears she faces each day. When asked who is with her in the boat, she pointed at me. I did not know I have given her the security that she is not able to obtain from her family.
This short venture into art has demonstrated that art can reveal a person’s circumstances, emotions and values. So parents, it might be worth the time to dabble into some form of art with your children. Who knows? You may uncover some facts about your child you have yet to discover.