What happens when you pick up a pencil? A whole world seems to be waiting just behind the tip, ready to unfold on that small (or not so small sometimes) piece of paper. And what if it’s a coloured pencil you’re holding? And what if you’re already set on a particular purpose? Too many questions perhaps, for such a small paragraph. Yet, they were circling around inside my head and I had to let them flow out somehow. A picture goes a long way into showing how your students feel about the lesson and their teacher, what catches their eye and what interests them the most. Afterwards, it’s up to the teacher to decide if changes are necessary and how to test if they have been effective. The simplest but most meaningful project I’ve ever put together.
The very first time I got a drawing of myself from a student, happily accepting the portrait came automatically. I didn’t stop to think whether there was any specific reason of her offering that piece of work, nor did it cross my mind to try and deduce anything from what I was holding: a rough pencil sketch with a huge yellow smile, stretching across my face. I’ve kept that drawing because it brought up, straight from my stomach I think or maybe from my heart, a flowering bouquet of joy and pride, bound together by laughter. We used to laugh a lot together, it was our mark on an interesting lesson.
”Drawing my Teacher” is a project unlike others I do with young learners. I’m more interested in them feeling and showing their feelings than speaking or writing. It’s more than enough for me that the instructions are given in English and that students are able to understand them. Instructions? No, more like explanations or invitations to learn creatively.
This year, five students aged 9 and 10 took part in this two-stage project; both stages involved the scattering of pencils, the distribution of blank sheets and the request to draw their teacher, only stage one took place at the beginning of the course while stage two towards its end.
I’m not going to explain their drawings. They really speak louder than any words. What matters is that those five students showed me the way to get closer to them and help them learn.
You can also view the second stage on SlideShare.
Feedback and further ideas are welcome, as always!