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Drawing class as PD

August 6, 2011

In a previous post on comfort zones, I wrote about taking a drawing class and how it pushed me beyond my comfort zone every class. I have been reflecting some more on what I have gained from taking the class.

First of all, I look at my students more closely in part to figure out how I might draw some aspect of their face or body, i.e., hands. But this has also led me to look at the person and try to understand the person more.

Another thing I have gained from the experience has been a new appreciation for color and line not only in designing my PowerPoints but also handouts of any sort whether given to the students as paper or put on the LMS for downloading.

But even more importantly for me, drawing has given me a centering time as I take time every evening to draw some. This time calms the whirl of my mind as I no longer try to solve the problems of the day. When I finish a drawing session, I feel tired but ready to go back to facing the problems of the day or week such as how to help students find the main idea in a passage or go beyond the simplistic and sometimes misleading explanations of the textbook.

Building on the effects of the daily practice, I get better in small increments. Getting better at something reinforces my confidence in being able to handle other situations better. It also shows me that the work I ask my students to do will lead them to get better if I target the work to their needs. I get this from my own practice with sketching to learn how to do one thing better such as drawing a mouth so I can put it in a larger work.

Frustration comes along with my attempts to improve my skills, but the frustrations push to improve and the mistakes decrease as I redo a study or a piece. From this, I see the importance of sometimes doing the same thing again and again to get better at it. This is what I encourage my students to do in working on their reading rates, and this is very much a part of my strategy in communication class where I tell the students what to listen to and encourage them to listen to the videos as often as possible before the test. This works only to the extent that each time I redo something I improve in a way that I can see or feel I am doing better. Thus, I don’t do the drawing exercises as busy work or mindless exercises; I do them to push myself to get better. This is why I don’t tell students how many times to watch and listen to the video or read a text.

When I began the drawing classes, which unfortunately have ended, I only wanted to learn a little about drawing. I have learned a little about drawing, but I have also learned and relearned so much more about seeing and learning.

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