Coloring inside the lines

Coloring inside the lines

In art class, children are rewarded for coloring inside the lines.

Part of that reward is associated with the child's willingness to obey the art teacher's instruction. When the child complies, by coloring inside the lines, a reward is given to mark the good, compliant behavior.

It should go without saying, that having obedient children, who are willing to follow the rules, is a blessing.

However, I thought the whole purpose of art class was to be creative, not obedient.

I'm not against rules. Children need them, and they need to learn to obey them. But what I am against, is making everything a "test" of obedience.

When everything in life revolves around pleasing the "teacher" through compliance based behavior, the child ONLY learns how to be obedient, and they NEVER learn how to be creative.

If I was an art teacher, I would give each child a coloring page, a box of crayons and just one rule: be creative!

If a student asked if they had to stay inside the lines for a good grade, I would tell them: "No, this is not about compliance, it's about creativity."

When children are allowed to express themselves through creativity, they feel less pressure to "perform". As a result, you'll get a real "picture" of who they are and what's in their "head".

When a child creates their own art, it also allows the teacher or parent to ask them questions and discover WHY they colored it the way they did.

The answers the child gives helps the teacher or parent better understand where the child is coming from and what they were thinking.

This creative allowance offers a better alternative to the compliance only system, where reward only goes to those who "perform" properly.

Children who are given a creative allowance, not only feel less pressure to perform, but they also learn that the lines of communication are always open to talk through things. This relationship creates a stronger desire to obey.