Thursday, February 11, 2010

Do Art Museums Make Better Doctors?

I am sitting at my desk during Parent Teacher conferences re-reading some professinal articles for my SMART goal.  The article I'm reading right now is "The Neuroscience and Art in Drawing" by Read Diket in NAEA's Translations- From Theory to Practice.  The article mentions something that Art teachers know to be true: observational drawing is an important foundation, even for creating imaginative artwork.

Here is a quote I really like:

If art teachers use scientific theories and findings to understand what happens neurologically when students draw the physical world, that knowledge may infer essential ways to teach the arts in a changing social world.

The article reminded me of something I said in an earlier post. Daniel Pink told us at the KAEA Fall Conference that some universities take their Med students to art museums.  The idea is to improve their observational skills and help them be better doctors.  Today I was trying to remember if he mentioned which university so I just searched "med students visit art museum" and found the link to Nasher Museum Blogs.  (Turns out he was talking about Duke's first year med students.)  The blog describes how their program works and what the students learn:

The medical school students come away with some very important take-home messages including the fact that starting with an overview of an artwork (before diving into details) is very helpful when describing an artwork, or a diagnosis. Students also learned to appreciate the varied things that different individuals noticed in a single artwork, and how having multiple opinions or eyes on a patient or case can be important.

I actually got an idea for a lesson to try maybe with my 6th grade students.  One of the activities the med students do is to have one student view an artwork and describe it in detail while the their partner draws what is described to them.  This would help the observer practice paying attention to details and dictating their thoughts.  It would help his/her partner practice listening carefully, following directions, and drawing.

Ok, back to reading.

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