Research into Practice: Strategies for the Teaching of Drawing


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Authors: Professor Howard Riley (Swansea Metropolitan University) and Qona Rankin (Royal College of Art).
Presented at the Research - Teaching in Wales 2011 Conference, 13th - 14th September, Gregynog Hall, Newtown (Powys)

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Research into Practice: Strategies for the Teaching of Drawing

  1. 1. Research into Practice: Strategies for the Teaching of Drawing <br />Howard Riley, Faculty of Art & Design, Swansea Met. Univ.<br />Qona Rankin, Royal College of Art<br />Mary Davies, Study Support Tutor, SMU<br />
  2. 2. Helen’s ladder<br />
  3. 3. Simon’s matrix (Aberystwyth, Feb 2011)<br />
  4. 4. Art schools have a high proportion of dyslexic students.<br />We wondered whether indicators of dyslexia could be identified in students’ drawings.<br />
  5. 5. Students did too, so we asked them to participate in a collaborative research project. Cohorts from Swansea and the RCA which included both dyslexics and non-dyslexics made a series of drawings which were ‘blind’ assessed by Riley and Rankin.<br />
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  7. 7. We identified the dyslexic students at a success rate of 70%<br />
  8. 8. Taxonomy of Indicators of Dyslexia in Drawings<br />Left – Right confusion<br />Forgetting instructions<br />‘Hedge-your-bets’ line quality<br />Visual perceptual skills: drawing what is ‘known’ rather than what is seen<br />Rigid, static drawing style<br />
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  13. 13. Nist & Mealy’s 8-Step Learning Process designed to help dyslexics<br />1 Focus the student’s attention<br />2 Explain a general overview of the required task<br />3 Introduce new technical terms<br />4 Go through procedure step by step<br />5 Model the process – think aloud – encourage students to discuss the process<br />6 Guide the practice – students repeat the tutor’s strategy<br />7 Encourage independent practice<br />8 Re-demonstrate the practice, to reinforce<br />
  14. 14. Nist & Mealy adapted to the drawing studio<br />1 Focus attention upon a) the model and their surroundings (figure/field relationship), and b) the relationship between scale of drawing and size and format of paper:<br />
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  17. 17. 2 Explain a general overview of the task: in terms of drawing from observation, this is the equivalent of mapping the spatial relationships between salient points on the subject-matter under observation. (Wholist mixed with Analyst cognitive styles)<br />(The ‘N-grid’ – Nose, Nipples, Navel, kNees, kNuckles… not too great for your spelling, but really useful when you’re drawing…)<br />
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  20. 20. 3 Introduce new terms, such as ‘contrast boundary’ and ‘negative space’:<br />
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  22. 22. 4 Repeat first three steps at the beginning of every session.<br />5 Discuss with tutor the process underway on the drawing board.<br />6 Repeat the tutor’s strategy with support from the tutor.<br />7 Draw independently at unsupervised sessions.<br />8 Re-demonstrate strategies at each session as reinforcement. <br />
  23. 23. It seems the 8-Step method is adaptable and useful: Students, both dyslexic and non-dyslexic, report improvements in their observational drawing. <br />Research is ongoing…ongoing…<br />
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