Don’t Forget to Show Your Doodles

By Liana Loewus — August 26, 2011 1 min read
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Doodling, often seen by teachers as a punishable offense, may actually be a key to science instruction, reports LiveScience, a website with science and technology news.

The research, which will be published in the next journal Science, suggests that drawing helps students understand science concepts, and should be used to complement writing, reading, and talking in science education. According to LiveScience:

[R]esearchers noted that many students are put off by science in school, because the rote learning method in which it is often taught forces them into unpleasant passive roles. Drawing, on the other hand, caters to individual learning differences, and surveys of teachers and students indicated that when students were asked to draw to explore and justify understandings in science, they were more motivated to learn. ... In addition, classroom research has shown that as students draw a concept such as sound waves to understand it better, they learn to reason creatively in a way distinct from, but complementary to, reasoning through argumentation.

This all seems pretty logical. In fact, adults in a variety of professions draw when trying to explain a concept or understand it better themselves. (I know I even doodle at times when formulating a storyline.) It’s funny that one of the researchers quoted in the article felt the need to differentiate between drawing and “coloring in pretty pictures.” But you never can be too careful.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.