Xavier School | Grade 9 | by Josiah Gosingtian
It’s Christmas break here in the Philippines, which means that the 3rd quarter of the school year has ended. Last semester, I handled the sophomores; I’m now handling the freshmen. They’re quite different, considering that they’re transitioning from Middle School to High School: to keep it simple, it’s been an incredible challenge keeping most of them focused.
Considering that I’m starting them fresh, I decided to teach them the basics, with line as the starting point. This activity is supposed to help loosen my students up, a bit like stretching before exercise, but it didn’t seem to work as well as I’d hoped. I wasn’t surprised, though; one of my slides was dedicated to reminding them not to think about perfection, with a couple others unsubtly suggesting that non-photorealistic output’s fine. I’m not sure if it’s a school-isolated issue or a sociocultural matter, but an overwhelming majority of my students felt that their work was horrible simply because it didn’t look exactly like the subject.
A few notes regarding this lesson:
1) My students’ interest in the activity itself spiked when they saw that they were drawing a female subject. However, their confidence dove when their drawing wasn’t “as attractive”.
2) The first picture that featured a statue turned out to be the most well-received subject. A lot of my students freaked out upon seeing it; most of them were able to create excellent work after the overreaction wore off. The source of their panic seemed to be the tiny details in the photograph, which allowed me to show (some) of them how a person in the distance need not be drawn with arms and legs (as in the classic image of a stick figure).
3) Not a single class wanted to try to draw the subject I used for the sample artworks. (Side note: I was a bit alarmed when their confusion with the subject’s gender quickly translated into disgust when they learned he was male. What’s wrong with a guy with long hair? Open-mindedness is hard to teach, I suppose.)