SAIIER 2014:Development of Art Curriculum

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Creative Education through Radio with Children
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Faculty Development through Crafts
Development of Art Curriculum

We started to work with the children in the primary section of Udavi School known as 'New Building' in mid June, at the beginning of their new term, taking four classes per week where we designed and implemented an art syllabus. The initial exercises we introduced were basic drawing of lines and circles to free the body and mind of the children from their pre conceived notions about Art. These were designed to lead into different tracks depending upon the nature of the children, the age, mood and inclination of the class as a whole.

We were drawing objects inspired by circles in Class 4, and some of the students discovered the lily leaf just outside to be a form of circle but there was a general dissatisfaction with being able to draw the shape. With little help, Nirmal discovered that the leaf of the lily could be created by using an unfinished circle. He demonstrated this technique to the entire class and that may have been the changing point where class 4 got completely involved with us. They participated very enthusiastically later in the ABCD exercise and were able to come up with extraordinary ideas. Our focus with this group was more fun oriented learning and confidence building rather than skill development. Our approach was to make them think, visualize and draw, culling images from immediate surroundings.

With class 5 we used a different approach. After the initial exercises we sensed their restlessness and inclination towards skill based activity rather than ideation. We introduced different kinds of coloring activities that involved motor skills. We focused on observation skills and putting together or process based activity with them. We introduced watercolours and its use teaching how to hold the brush and techniques of paint application. We also developed clay objects with this class. Class 5 took very well to observation drawing. They created spectacular paintings of objects inspired by circles for e.g. globe, basketball, etc.

Once we realized their fondness for the outdoors we used sunlight to introduce the concept of shadows attached to the object as the next step. First we placed single objects in the sun, in a way that they cast shadows and asked them to draw. The result was very encouraging and so we placed a still life of 4-5 objects for them. We were happily surprised by the drawings of this group in their last exercise. They seem to have taken a giant leap by the end of our stay.

Class 6 got deeply involved in the plant observation exercise where 2 plants had been placed in the class room for study. It was very exciting for us to see that the students were no longer hesitant to draw but quickly created multiple sketches of these plants. We converted some of these into collages using newspaper and coloured paper.

Towards the end of our stay we felt a shift in the confidence level of the children in terms of their abilities to draw and represent ideas. They were not the same children we knew when we arrived. Their observation powers and skill level has increased. They look more focused, are able to see and draw shapes. They are also able to judge their own work honestly. We had lots of fun in and outside the class room and together we learnt that art is all around us.