TTD Summer School 2015
The course was a 3 day professional development programme for educators, researchers from all fields – and anyone who needs to explain things to anyone. The course focused on drawing to enhance learning across disciplines and offered practical visualisation tools.
We explored together the potential of drawing as a powerful tool for learning, cognitive development, problem solving and building group dynamics.
July 2015 – Testimonial from one of our wonderful magical students:
For me, drawing has been a kind of special magic superpower. Drawing was my way of sorting out what I did and did not think and what I knew and did not know, it has functioned as my most reliable method for sharing my thoughts as well as showing others that I thought at all. You see, throughout my childhood and adolescence (and even as an adult after if it’s after 9 p.m.) words rarely worked for me. My dyslexic brain, bends, breaks, and bewilders my attempts to record in writing my ideas, insights and understanding. It confounds my efforts to and read the writings of others. When I couldn’t keep the letters of the alphabet from rotating, stepping out of line and jumping place mid-word, I would call upon drawing (my special magic super power) and my hand and brain would instantly become consummate collaborators, I would be able to place my thoughts on the page with remarkably lucid ease. When I needed it to, drawing would replace reading and writing as an effective, efficient, and remarkably elastic method for developing ideas, representing understanding, and structuring systems to solve complex problems.
The superpower magic of drawing evolved into more of an essential competency as I learned to deliberately use it with increasing efficiency and skill. As an artist and educator I became more overtly conscious of how and when and how to employ drawing as a tool. Because drawing is such a reliable and remarkable resource for me, I have often encouraged students (regardless of their chosen media) to draw, as a way to consider situations, choose and describe process, pose and solve problems, and, of course. express themselves effectively. For some, the impact is immediate. For others, practice provides a new methodology for them to access from time to time. The Thinking through Drawing workshops expand my consciousness and understanding of the connections between, cognition, physiology, neurology and drawing; providing a scientific and logical basis for continuing to teach drawing methodologies that, simply (or perhaps complexly) work.
As a participant in the Thinking Through Drawing workshops, we applied the practice of drawing through well-guided exercises through which the instructors (Dr. Angela Brew and Dr. Michelle Fava) brilliantly and fluidly extract, isolate, reinterpret and repurpose elements of familiar drawing practice into thoughtful lesson plans. These exercises reveal the very deliberate ways particular methods of drawing engage/inspire very specific cognitive processes. In addition to such participative learning processes, the instructors introduced students to the principles, theories and research that inform the present understanding of drawing and cognition. The extensive an exciting and extensive reading and resource list prepared by the instructors was made available to those who were interested in learning more (which included every single participant). The immediately preceding parenthetical leads me to the my final important accolade of this testimonial. I must express how impressive and incredible it was to practice, learn and think about drawing with such an exceptional group of peers. My fellow classmates were composers, physicists, architectural historians, educators, art therapists and artists. Each of us came to the course with our own, unique ways and reasons for using drawing. The Thinking through Drawing curriculum asked us to collaborate immediately. We came to realize that our shared insights into the power of drawing allowed us to reveal new dimensions of the process and new depth to the tool. The Superpower expanded, the understanding grew and the magic was shared . . . which is, of course, as it should be.
at Brew Drawing Studio, London
– to enhance learning and assessment across curricula
– develop your drawing and sketching skills
– to gain visualisation methods to use in the classroom or workshop
– for mindfulness and well-being
Drawing offers visual methods crucial to arts, humanities, sciences and technologies. Sketches and diagrams made by teachers can make lessons more engaging and memorable, while drawing tasks for students can encourage meaningful discussion, enable deeper learning and reveal gaps in knowledge. Translation between verbal and visual domains has been shown to deepen understanding, retention and the application of knowledge and skills across disciplines. This course will benefit educators with any level of experience who wish to build on their skills in drawing and to use drawing as a teaching method.
“I’ve used many activities in my classroom and they have been fun, creative, and successful in so many ways. We have used the projects to help build group support and comradery. The project has helped my students to ‘let go’, as it helped me in the summer. It also has helped build relationships in the classroom between myself and the students.” Ronda Johnson, Artist educator, New York
Some drawings by students on our 2014 summer intensive, Bronx, NYC: