DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

Shohina Narzikulova

Professor Denise Farrelly

EDC 22 Section 02


            The article "Talking with young Children about their art" talks about what and how we say something about child's art. It is interesting that when a child shows his/her art work, we automatically smile and say "very good" and praise a child. We often use very similar and simple words to express our thoughts to children's art work because according to Taunton and Colber, "we know so little about the artistic and aesthetic behaviors of young children" (1984). In this article Robert Schirrmacher writes about six traditional approaches to children's art and they are: Complimentary, judgmental, valuing, questioning, probing and correcting approaches.

            Complimentary approach talks about simple typical comments like "That's an amazing work" or "Nice painting". Usually, when children hear typical compliments about their art work they don't say anything or just say "Thank you". Adults never think about using rich verbal dialogue with children talking about their art work.     We never want to grade children's art and therefore we simply say "Good" or Great" to all of their work and not knowing that these simple words could be judgmental. Judgmental approach talks about how most of adults use judgmental words as "Good", not thinking of how can one child's drawing and professional painting both be good. "As a result we lose our credibility with the children" (Robert Schirrmacher). Valuing approach is when we tell children "I like your painting" or "I love it". this approach talks about that instead of telling our own feelings, we should encourage them and tell children that we appreciate the time they spent on their work. Usually children cannot verbalize of what they've painted in a personal level. In Questioning approach most of adults ask question like "What is this?" or "What is the meaning of this painting?" that often children respond saying, "I don't know". Most of children's art work is not intended to look like something and we might harm them by asking "What is it?".                                                                                                         

    Probing approach is when we try to encourage children and ask them to tell us about their art work. This approach sounds more effective because it supports an integrated approach to develop art to other activities. It seems like with probing approach children can talk and verbalize more because they have to tell something about their work they have done. However, Art works don't need any verbal language or any kind of explanation of their meaning. "Art speaks for itself and children art is itself valuable" (Robert Schirrmacher).                                 

    Correcting approach is when we look at children's art and say, "Oh, this should be that way". For example when we see a snake with big ears panted by a child, we can say "snakes don't have ears like other animals". This will help to improve child's art but on the other hand children have their own imagination and their art doesn't have to be the exact copy of anything.

    The elements of art can provide better ideas of how to respond on children's art. Talking about color, line, patter, shape, space and texture is developmentally appropriate with young children. In order not judge or simply comment on children's art, we can say, "You used beautiful colors and lines for your house". It also helps children to understand closely of their own art.

            We all want to make our children happy and think that praising a child can be an encouragement. According to the article "Praise in the Classroom" by Hilz, Randy-Driscoll, Amy, praising a child may actually be counterproductive. In effects on self-esteem and autonomy talks about that not all students can be "smart" or "good". Also, it says some kinds of praise may set up the capable students to failure. Praise as a motivator is when we use praise in order to motivate children to achieve and behave in positive ways. For example: it is always important for teachers how their student's behave. Most of the time teachers praise one student in order to show other students an example of a good student. Not all children take their teachers words close and not all students interested in pleasing them. Praise as a classroom management tool is when teachers use to praise to control the classroom. For example: often teachers compare their students in order to show what is good and what is not. Saying something like, "Look how quietly Jack sitting and doing his work" is aimed to both Jack's and  other students' behavior. Praising cannot be a tool to manage the classroom.                            Praise versus encouragement talks about that praise and encouragement are not the same. Praise is given to a child when something he/she have done very well. It is "to commend the worth of or to express approval or admiration" (Brophy, 1981). Encouragement is "referred to positive acknowledgement response that focuses on student efforts or specific attributes or work completed" (Hilz, Randy-Driscoll, Amy). Encouragement does not use any judgmental comments the way praise does.

            In articles Talking with young Children about their art  and  Praise in the Classroom authors agree that judgmental comments such as "Good", "Nice" or "Great" are not enough to develop opportunities for a rich verbal dialogue with children. The six approaches of the article Talking with young children about their art, is related to praising children's work. I think that articles are very similar and I didn't notice any disagreements.

            After reading these article, I tried to be the same way with my nephew and tried to do everything the way is written in the articles. My nephew loves drawing and every time he showed me his work, I couldn't hold myself of saying "Oh, how beautiful". But I tried to tell him that he used bright colors that makes his dragon looks so interesting. When I started to talk about his art works and follow the articles, my nephew never came to show me his work. He preferred to show his drawing's to my Dad (his grandfather) because he simply wants to hear judgmental comments as "Very good". I think that children are different, and following these articles may not help in real life. Articles "Talking with young children about their art" and "Praise in the classroom" may work with some children because once again, children are different.





DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.