Review Educare 2

Teaching a ‘Timeless Hour
Hester, a NEI- therapist and mother is using Michiel’s method in her daughter’s elementary school. She has just started a new series of four lessons, one hour a week. “First I had them draw to music and with both hands. In the last class I used clay. I found that highly active children became more quiet, turned inward so to speak, ‘coming to themselves.’ It was remarkable how much the ‘cool’ kids liked this work. Everyone liked the drawing to music. Feeling the clay was difficult for them. So often children are told they’re only to look with their eyes, not with their hands; they need ‘permission’ for such a simple act. Bringing this up helped. Since I only have an hour at a time I needed to build up the level of attention for every class. I did this by starting each class with a fixed ritual. This more or less rebuilds the level we ended at the time before. Each class expands on that. Rudolph is a graduating artist, who studied with Michiel for a three year period, following every course in sight. A friend introduced him to the extra-curricular activities at a school in a deprived neighborhood of Amsterdam. Students there form a multi-ethnical population, have poor linguistic skills and many are hyperactive. Rudolph used Michiel’s approach “ my own way of course, otherwise it won’t work.” Ages in his groups ranged from 7-12 . ”The age difference wasn’t so important. Once I had managed to get the group interested, everyone could participate in their own way.” Rudolph used music a lot.. He had children draw to the sounds of music with eyes closed and saw how the rhythms were expressed in their drawings. The children liked this. To his surprise he found that verbally weak children often were really good at drawing. The most difficult children were good in this field. “For these children, who often get a lot of negative attention because of their constant fidgeting and lack of concentration, it was great to discover something at which they were good and which elicited a positive response. At first Rudolph, as one of those ‘alternative guys,’ was eyed with caution. Once he had won the teachers’ trust he could pretty much do things the way he wanted. “But I had to adapt as well. Teachers at a regular school won’t buy a completely holistic approach. Not to mention the students. At ages eleven or twelve they start judging their work by outside values. In this kind of work you can get over that during a session. There is no telling if any of it will stay. For me this work is totally uplifting. It approaches these children in a way  that is not found elsewhere. I seriously consider getting my teachers’ license. Of course there are restrictions within the field of teaching Art. But I think it’s still possible within these limits to do a lot!”
Author: Margaret Bloemhof  / Educare Centre & Magazine (Translation: Liesbeth Rientjes)