Should children do it themselves?

The debate I found myself in today was about painting.
The other trainee teacher was telling me about an activity in her Year 1 class in which the teacher had drawn pictures of animals for the children to paint. This was all done for a display.

I was asking why the children weren’t allowed to draw the pictures themselves and she said it was because the teacher thought they wouldn’t be able to.
I do not agree. I think children should be given the scaffolding to develop their own skills… give them photographs, expose them to other art, show videos, let them play with small world characters…  all this can be done in the classroom if necessary and will give them the understanding of what the painting could look like. Encourage children to re-do work if they decide it’s necessary, therefore promoting a growth mindset. Otherwise, what does the activity actually teach children? Is painting someone elses interpretation of a lion really a worthwhile exercise?  Maybe I’m wrong. I just think we would miss so many learning opportunities.

I am under no illusion that this is easy. I know time is limited, but we have to get away from thinking the children cannot do things themselves. Because this reinforcement will just convince them that they cannot do it! What kind of teaching is that?!


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