Student's Sketches article from the Monthly Illustrator (1895)

Currently, I am having too much fun reading through PDFs of“The Monthly Illustrator” from 1895. One topic of interest at the time was how illustrators had to contend with photography, and the ever-increasing technological challenges to their status quo.

However, even a pencil is a form of technology.

Another idea was that from the first pen stroke, students thought they were creating something special and good; and, this reminds me of how we must continually work at helping students to become better writers. While the article, “A Student’s Sketches” by Speed and Heustis is too optimistic as to whether or not a student actually thinks they are accomplishing something from their first drawing; this idea does bear consideration. Do other subjects in the humanities, business, or sciences allow students such instant feedback?

In accounting, you know when you the cash flow balances. In chemistry, you achieve something every time the lab stays intact. The same with dance—you didn’t fall down; or, music—the dog didn’t howl and your calluses are forming to perfection as are the glissandos played on a piano. Would perhaps a student of voice and music hear their errors and correctly sung/played piece? More than likely they would. However, what about those disciplines that are more subjective?

Why is it that writing of any sort, whether a resume or literature review, such a painfully acquired skill, art, or ability? Techné is hard, but when achieved, it is artfully composed and may even persuade. Yet, what pedagogical differences exist between teaching writing and teaching music, singing, and painting? What do finance teachers do differently from teachers of business writing?

If group work helps students become better writers through peer reviews, etc., do illustrators or musicians become better through collaborative methods, too? Peer reviews for artists helps. But does working on the same project (a mural, string quartet, or choir) lend itself similarly to what composition instructors see as good progress when student writers work together? I’m not talking about the end result, but whether or not their rate of learning or skill building increases or improves when working in groups.

Comments

martha said…
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thanks so much for your comment. i'm just sorry i haven't been able to write here these days. i haven't abandoned it, however, and want to post something soon. i'm also happy to help with your lit review. hang in there!

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