Some Things Just Really Make Me Angry

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Some Things Just Really Make Me Angry I was reading Chapter 2, "It's all in the sign!", of Danesi's Messages and Meanings when I ran into a passage that, to put it politely, just really made me angry. Angry because my interpretation of this passage brought back a lot of memories of events that I have had to deal with in my educational "career". There were two sentences, in particular, that really ticked me off. The first was: If a drawing instrument is put in the child's hand, that child will almost instinctively use it to draw--a "skill" that no one has imparted or transmitted to the child. The second was: The child must be exposed to language in order for him or her to acquire it; that same child does not, however, need to be exposed to visual art in order for him or her to draw. These two seemingly innocent statements (that can be found on page 27 and which I have taken out of context) undermine everything that I hold dear. There is a huge assumption in the first sentence that drawing, as a "skill", is innately obtained, especially when "no one has imparted or transmitted to the child". Your naturally talented! Your daughter has so much talent! I wish I had your talent! Your so creative! Well, creative people are like that. I wish I could be as creative as you are! You're the artist of the group/class/school/etc...! Think of something creative/original/new! As I see it, these comments are not compliments of my ability to create visual images but at my "gift", my "talent". Hard work, practice, trial and error, learning the rules, processes, techniques or simple tricks..none of these are examined. The artistic process, to many, remains this mystical and quite godly transformation of something out of nothing and those with this gift of transformation are artistic. What it tells me as a teacher of the arts is this, that I am wasting my time trying to teach everyone, for there are only a talented few (please read the last sentence sarcastically). There is another point of contention that I have with the first statement. What I have taken out of context is the comparison that Danesi makes between language acquisition and drawing skill development. O.K. Danesi states that a child picks up a crayon (drawing instrument) and uses it to scribble naturally and spontaneously, without anyone imparting this knowledge to the child.

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