The Art of Doodling

By Peter Ilyin

It’s math class and the room is boiling hot. All of the students are struggling to pay attention to the droning teacher, all but one. This student is absentmindedly drawing while the teacher is droning. The teacher notices and stalks the student, moves in for the pounce, and crack, he slams the ruler on the doodle page. He shouts about next week being a test and no one paying attention.

Everyone is anxious as they wait by the bulletin board for the test results. The teacher posts it; the average is 83% but the doodling student has a perfect score.

Some teachers express strong distaste when spotting a student drawing on their assignment. Despite their futile attempts to stamp out this “primitive” nature, some students still persist in the fight. But new research comes out and suggests that the teachers are misguided in their efforts.

Doodling can take many forms. People primarily think it is drawing random and unrelated pictures, but the Oxford dictionary describes doodling as drawing absentmindedly. Absentmindedly means to do something without thinking about it, so could doodling help get rid of unrelated ideas? Or could it help get rid of stress?

During an interview, Grace R. says that she had a friend who is an artist and she doodles in her notes a lot, even though she thought that she would get a bad report. When she got her report card, it wasn’t what she thought it would be.

So maybe teachers at Germantown Friends School understand. Others though say that they have doodled in class but it doesn’t help them, but they didn’t have a focusing problem in the first place. This suggests that in order to doodle successfully you must do it with a purpose – to focus.

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