Painting learning – what might it look like?

This drawing is an experiment in using colour and form to represent teaching and learning. It visualises complex concepts, growth, connection, support, communication, place and digital tools in a single ‘denkbild’ image.

Education denkbild – thought picture

What do you think?

Let me explain starting with green and pink.

These two colours are stacked like bricks and intersect through the middle. These are like lessons or building blocks where one lesson or concept should ideally stack over a previous one and connect to it. They alternate green and pink because they are online and offline. It doesn’t really matter which one is which because they are interchangeable.

The white cellular column in the centre is the support and strength of teacher interaction. It is a trunk through the middle like a growing tree – all learning moves through it/can be guided by it but it is a layer over the stacks of experience and learning represented by the green and the pink. It is organic and cellular looking because it is always growing and responsive.

The pink dots scattering across the green and the green across the pink are to show that learning can be off and online, digital and analogue – even if predominantly one, it can have elements of the other within it. I.e. home learning with a zoom session, or in class learning with a paper based home learning task. It is like yin and yang.

The top blue shapes represent the scaffolded growth towards self directed learning – blue sky thinking and discovery. The pink and green overlapping dots represent the ties to the previous learning but also to the future learning state being an easy blend of online and offline, home and school, in person and remote and the shapes are floating because they are growing and flexing.

One important aspect is that even though there is a gap on the left, all of the learning connects somehow. Through prior experience and through echoes of form.

The flower pattern at the top represents the adjacent possible and the lifelong learner future state. It is flowers because it is blooming. It is pattern because it is structured. It is dots because it is the seed of the cells in the centre of the ‘tree’.

This was a really interesting exercise in thinking and symbolism. I enjoyed it as a process and it took me a long time to get my thinking ‘straight’ enough to represent in visual form.

What do you think? Have a go at drawing a process to help to illuminate it! The results could be surprising.

‘And this is my picture’.

Inspiration from ‘Sand talk’ by Tyson Yunkaporta and a deliberate revisiting of my masters thesis ‘Childhood as place – a denkbild’ exploring metaphor and mental imagery as a way to deepen and extend thinking.


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