“It is helpful to remember that we don’t teach reading and writing to produce only poets and writers, but rather to improve thinking.” Betty Edwards

Overview of the philosophy of Betty Edwards:

· Drawing is not a “magical” ability rather something like a sport or other academic area that requires practice. So many students claim they cannot “do” art or are not talented in art when they walk into the art studio. However, taking art is like taking French, why would you take French if you already know how to speak French? You take art because you need to learn…NOT because you already have the knowledge.

· All art is the same. It doesn’t matter if you draw an apple, a face, random objects you simply draw what you see.

· There are two sides of the brain: the left side and the right side. The left side controls the right side of the body and the right side controls the left side of the body. However, throughout history terms associated with connotations of good for the right-hand/left hemisphere and connotations of bad for the left-hand/right hemisphere of the brain. The Latin word for left is sinister, meaning “bad” and the Latin word for right is “dexter” from which comes our word “dexterity” meaning skill. The political right admires national power, is conservative, is “right winged” and resists change. The left promotes change even radical change. The groom stands on the right in the marriage ceremony and the bride on the left – a non-verbal message about the two participants.

· Our educational system was designed to cultivate the verbal, rational, on-time left hemisphere, while half of the brain of every student is virtually neglected. The right-brain – the dreamer, the artist- is lost in our school system and goes largely untaught. Yet, educators value these skills and have apparently hoped that students would develop imagination, perception, and intuition as natural consequences of training in a verbal, analytic environment.

· L-mode: is the “right-handed”, left hemisphere mode. The L is foursquare, upright, sensible, direct, true, hard edged, unfanciful, forceful. See a thing, reason, time, talk.

· R-mode: is the “left-handed”, right hemisphere mode. The R is curvy, flexible, more playful in its unexpected twists and turns, more complex, diagonal, fanciful. See a whole, feelings, unaware, listen.

· Since drawing a perceived form is largely a right-brained function, we must keep the left brain out of it. Our problem is that the left brain is dominant, speedy and is very prone to rush in with words and symbols, even taking over jobs which it is Visual Arts Studio 5th grade not good at completing. The split brain studies indicated that the left brain likes to be boss, so to speak, and prefers not to relinquish tasks to its dumb partner unless it really dislikes the job –either because the job takes too much time, is too detailed or slow or because the left brain is simply unable to accomplish task. That’s exactly the environment we need to set up: one the left brain will completely refuse.

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