Drawn short

March 1, 1996

Maureen Cox (THES, February 23) highlighted the general view that Chinese children's drawings are better than those of our own children. Better usually means the greater similarity of the subject to how it looks in the real world.

Chinese children copy elements of the teacher's model drawing line by line. This approach has been criticised in the West as stifling their natural expression. My own research has shown that Chinese children are more able to read mood metaphors in pictures. But should this surprise us? Could Picasso have affected our emotions without having first learned the rudiments of drawing? It will be interesting to see when the national curriculum for art takes note of this fact.

Richard Jolley Lecturer in psychology

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