The note after reading, Lowenfeld: Middle School/"Gang Age"
Drawings of children aged 9-11
One of the prominent characteristics of this era is that children are members of society and peers. During this time, you are laying the foundation for your ability to work in groups and live your adult life collectively. Having similar interests and sharing the joy of working together. There is a perception that you can do more in a group than alone and are more powerful than a single person. This age is the time of groups and peer groups or gangs.
An important feeling of awakened social independence is in direct conflict with the needs of adults who do not want close supervision and guidance of their parents or children. Instead of demonstrating sympathetic warm understanding of their child's need for group life, they often do so without realizing that such behavior increases the problems the child faces with the teacher. Adults with negative attitudes may be to blame for some of the causes of misconduct.
This age can be the most dramatic and wholesome period of discovery, as seen in children's creative activities. The concept of a figure in the early schematization stage was a generalized figure. Now the child is eager to express gender features and show differences in clothing. At 9 years of age, most children still exaggerate human size, but research shows that this exaggeration tends to disappear at this stage of development. (Lowenfeld, 1952)
There is consistency in the way representation changes. Children move from the rigid color-object relationship to the stage of realizing the properties of color. At this time, this great understanding of color difference cannot be called true visual perception. This is because children do not exhibit the color shifting effect of light and shade or the effect of mood on color.
In elementary school, there is no place to teach co-ordination using a color wheel or a kita or similar tool. Such teaching only has a sense of distance and makes children uneasy about their own sense of development. Color consciousness can be increased by emphasizing that the individual subject enjoys color and may have greater sensitivity to its likeness. Therefore, color should focus on the experience, not on the proper use of color in a particular painting.
Art is not simply the representation of objects, but the expression and understanding of the concept of those objects.
Piaget's experiment (Piaget and Inhelder, 1967) was carried out in modified form by deau and Pinard (1970) in asking children to identify pictures of a model mountain taken from a point other than their own. The children were 11 years old before they successfully selected pictures that showed what a scene would look like when they were out of their perspective and in a position other than theirs. Children of this age enjoy drawing tasks that require problem-solving skills, but are not eager to learn formulas or assimilate rules for proper perspective representation.
As children now discover meaning in their environment and begin to relate this to themselves, giving them a sense of what is honest and what is insincere and exemplary in our environment becomes paramount to education. At this age, it is important to stimulate children's thinking and provide opportunities to discover the unspoiled natural beauty in our environment.
The authenticity of beauty found in nature should be emphasized. Because this is a natural extension of the child's own direction at this age.
This means developing a sense for rocks, pebbles, shells, tree bark, moses and everything else that can be found in nature. It is very important to be sensitive to the properties of materials.
At this stage, children become curious about why things work the way they do and why they exist. They can now question areas that not long ago felt unquestionable. Children become increasingly critical of others and themselves, some hiding their drawings from curious adults or starting to make disparaging comments about their efforts. Children at this age also have a developed sense of justice and may vehemently object to unfair behavior. Ten-year-olds have acquired a great deal of information about the workings of the natural and social world, but this tends to be mostly isolated and specific learning.
This is also the time when children begin to self-concept, to understand themselves as independent individuals. Developing a positive self-concept is essential for establishing a personal attitude and is closely related to learning ability.
Art experiences help develop emotional growth. Too often in our society, children's emotions are suppressed. In order to express emotions and develop emotional growth, children must identify with their own experience of art. Children who constantly rely on stereotypes are unable to express their true feelings.
One of the most important areas of growth that the arts can contribute to is creative growth. At this stage of development there is tremendous pressure on children to conform to the needs of the group as well as the wishes of adults. But in order to function creatively, you must first be able to function as an individual. It is very important to encourage individual children's approaches to problem solving, which means imitating and conforming to patterns should not be encouraged. A child's creativity can be seen in their desire to experiment, explore and innovate.
In order to provide rich and meaningful experiences for children, authoritarian methods must be abandoned. It is far more important to foster children's interest in the material of expression, to give them a sense of discovery, and to provide opportunities for individuals to relate to the world than to worry about it.
There is a very important subject area in the arts that should never be overlooked, and this is a subject within each child. There should be ample opportunity for these inner themes to be adequately expressed. They should be given the opportunity not only to freely enjoy the joy and pleasure of creation, but also to face deeper emotional feelings and subconscious urges.
Myungja Anna Koh