The lessons in line

How can we utilise drawing in education across disciplines?


Drawing is a unique tool for personal expression and the act of drawing can help students enter a state of flow and creativity that is difficult to get into during other activities.
In this master´s thesis I try to answer questions regarding how common the practice of utilising drawing as a learning tool is in schools in Iceland and how drawing can be used for learning in different subjects.
The thesis covers previous research that has been done on the affect drawing can have on memory and also on Betty Edward´s theories on how drawing affects brain functions. The research done was qualitative research using focus group interviews with teachers practicing in Iceland.
The group included a broad range of teachers, teaching varying age groups and different subjects. They were asked about their views on drawing and their experience of using drawing in their own teaching practice. Thematic analysis was then used to analyse the discussions from the focus group interviews. Eleven themes emerged that were categorised into three different overarching themes.
The first overarching theme was on the characteristics of drawing. How it is a way of communication, what affect it has on students, how the kinaesthetic qualities of drawing can have a calming affect, how practicing drawing can encourage persistence and leads to a feeling of pride for students.
The second overarching theme from the focus group discussions was about how we are all individuals with different strengths and interests and how important it is to be interested in drawing, both as a student and as a teacher, when it comes to how much drawing is used in the classroom.
The last overarching theme is about the role of drawing within the education system. Versatile ways of assessing students work and interdisciplinary ways of working seem to be the key to facilitating the use of drawing within the education system and in this overarching theme it is discussed how one can empower both students and teachers to draw more.
The outcome indicates that drawing is widely being used as a learning method, but it was also clear that many teachers want more collaboration with teachers from other disciplines and to use more of an interdisciplinary approach combining the arts and other academic subjects.


Hildigunnur Sigvaldadóttir
hildigunnursig [at]
Advisor: Halla Birgisdóttir