“No, Benjamin can’t be in my art class,” I said.
The six-year-old was known for his extremely bad behavior. Not only was the class already crowded, but also he was younger than the average student. Most importantly, I had volunteered to teach, not wrangle with a difficult child.
The next time I saw his mother, she was cool. “What’s wrong?” I asked.
“You didn’t give my son a chance. You wrote him off.”
I was convicted. “You’re right. He can come.”
And he did. He behaved. He responded. He was transformed. I was amazed.
Another year, in another art class, another child had a bad reputation. His mother—who was in charge—assigned him to my class because she had “Nowhere else to stick him.”
He participated well. At the end of the semester, I took my students to the National Gallery of Art to see the works we had studied. He begged to go. His mother said, “No.” My class was “Just a place to keep him out of trouble.” It had. Marvelously.
Two examples are not scientific research, but other art teachers confirmed my experiences.
Have you witnessed a child responding to art?