Drawing and Spatial Representations
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The aim of this thesis is to contribute new knowledge as a basis from which to discuss the development of and justification for art education in the compulsory school. The experienced drawing curriculum in compulsory school is illuminated through analyses of drawings made by young people and compared with what they say they have learned about drawing in school. This is discussed in relation to theory and the given framework for art and design in compulsory school. During the period studied ( 1992-1997) the subject Forming, included drawing, textiles and woodwork, had as many scheduled lessons as mathematics in middle school ( ages 10-13). Despite this, the juvenile's interest in drawing declined dramatically. The youngsters' experiences from drawing activities in school indicate that attitudes from the self-expression movement and the philosophy of hands-off still have an influence on the way Norwegian teachers teach, or rather, not teach drawing. Those youngsters who seem to master the cultural conventions of spatial representations had often learned their skills outside school, and there is almost no indication that pictorial representation of space was promoted in compulsory school in the period studied. According to assessments given in the period from 1989 to 1997, teachers seemed to be extremely satisfied with what the pupils accomplished in Forming, since Forming was the subject where the second best mean score was achieved. Despite this, Forming was the subject where it was most rare to achieve a top score and easiest to avoid the lowest. This reflects the teacher's problems in assessing, they have difficulties in giving signals to the pupils on what is a good solution and what is not. This is understandable if self-expression is the aim, as it is impossible to judge one self-expression to be better than another, but it is doubtful if such an attitude promotes respect for quality in art and design. The philosophy of hands-off in drawing in middle school is questioned when seen in the perspective of an extrinsic need for competence inside design and visualisation. Today many important decisions are made on the basis of representations, and the use of representations will probably not decline with an increasing use of computer images, rather the opposite. By taking an example from architecture, the question is raised whether art education in compulsory school is qualified to prepare for visual communication, including both making and understanding. Both the Norwegian Ministry of Education, Research and Church Affairs (KUF) and the Norwegian Ministry of Cultural Affairs (KD) have seen the challenge, and are making efforts to promote public interest in design and architecture and thereby prevent design to be an objective mainly for the privileged or for those with a special interest. Compulsory school should prepare youngsters for democratic participation when our built environment is planned and discussed on the basis of pictorial representations of space by focusing on drawing, communication and reflection. Compulsory school reaches all youngsters irrespective of future occupation as politicians, teachers, designers, nurses or directors and their attitudes to art, design and architecture are built through those important years.