Home' Teacher : September 2010 Contents CURRICULUM & ASSESSMENT 37
duckling's ow ne r feel whe n ugly duckling
tells her it feels it is fat?
Student: She says it's not, but it doesn't
believe her, and mostly doesn't listen .
Art therapist: No, because sometimes it
feels it is fat. Sometimes. And sometimes it
feels another feeling, is that right?
Student: Ye s.
Art therapist: What is that other feeling?
Student: Ju st nor mal, kind of alright.
Art therapist: Where in ugly duckling's
body does it feel that normal, kind of alright
feeling? And what colour would it be?
Student: Right dow n here in its tail, and
it's green , it's favourite colour, and orange.
(The student uses green and orange in the
Art therapist: That looks like a lot is
happening in that spot. How about we
make a really big painting where those
normal, kind ofalrightfeelings can spread
Student: (With a big smile) Ye ah.
The art therapy program continues to attend
to the vastly differing needs of individual
students. Although the majority of students
are in Years 5 and 6, participating students
from Years 2 to 6 have benefited from the
According to self-evaluations, stress
symptoms have reduced for each student by
an average of eight per cent per term.
Students' progression in the Interper-
sonal Development (Building Social Rela-
tionships) and Personal Learning (The Indi-
vidual Learner) components of the Victorian
Essential Learning Standards measured an
average of 0.25 progression points per term,
double the expected rate of development.
Interview feedback from principals indi-
cates vast improvements within realistic
parameters. In the words of one principal,
'We're not expecting (good behaviour for)
365 days.' Feedback also indicates that stu-
dents are better able to manage difficult
feelings. In the words of another, 'Only two
months ago he would've run off for hours.
This time he was still angry, that's normal,
but he settled himself down in minutes.'
And another, 'Although he's still acting
out, it used to be with vindictive intent, but
that's gone now.'
Teachers report increased student involve-
ment in class and improved relationships
with peers. In the words of one teacher,
'He's actually turning into a normal kid. He
talking, he's chatty.' And another, 'She's had
a friend now for a few months, a girl who
previously didn't want to have a bar of her.'
As a third says, 'He's been more willing to
work,' and a fourth, 'She's still going great.'
Teachers report the improved classroom
engagement of students involved in the art
therapy program and a reduction in aggres-
sive schoolyard conflict. They also say the
art therapy program offers additional strate-
gies to help them manage and assist students
with issues, and deal with difficult relation-
ships with students.
Art therapy to assist students with behav-
ioural issues is good for those students, and
that's good for everyone. T
Robin Shipard is a teache r and qu alified
practicing art therapist.
Bush, J. (1994). Handbook of School Art
The rapy. Illinois: Charles C. Thomas.
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