From Freehand Drawing to College Writing: the Value of Critical Thinking

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James Chu
Mr. Chris Fell
English 101
2 September 2011
From Freehand Drawing to College Writing: the Value of Critical Thinking A peapod and a human figure, both are quite common objects for a sketching class. However, upon closer observation, Gussow’s architecture students notice that peas come in various shapes, much different from what their memory might recall. The two-minute figure sketches put an emphasis on the human internal structure, just like how architects should design buildings with structure in mind. Gussow’s freehand drawing course illustrates the value of critical thinking to architecture students, a discipline that can also apply to a college writing course. In a sense, drawing a design is like writing an essay. Mr. Henderson regards drawing as a means for architecture to get their thoughts on paper; similarly, writing is a means for college students to express their ideas. The ability to analyze a topic by thinking critically can be greatly benefitting to a student’s writing. In order to make the drawing to become individuated and fascinating, “you have to notice what is unique about this situation, what catches the eye,” says Gussow. If all of Gussow’s students draw their peas as identical spheres, then they will be unoriginal and missing the point of the lesson. Students in a college writing course are typically assigned to a same topic for their essays; inevitably many of them will form the same ideas or opinions. Critical thinkers pay attention to details and make note of those that are distinctive. When writers utilize this skill to examine their topic, they may find something unique that will make their writings stand out from the rest.

Critical thinkers also consider how the details are interrelated to form a main idea. Gussow’s two-minute figure sketching drills train her students to get a sense of the whole of what they’re drawing on paper before they begin fussing with details. “One of the fundamental things when you approach a...
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