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Engaging Imagination: Helping students become creative thinkers

February 26, 2017 in Reading Journal

This book explains how creativity is heavily linked to student interest/ attention (of potentially, any subject-whether art & design related or not).

The book also talks about the advantages and pitfalls of the digital classroom environment. And this relates to my recent discovery of MOOCs, which I naively knew nothing about before meeting a freelance client last week, who discussed the possibility of me producing illustrations for a MOOC he is developing with the Cadbury Research Library about their exquisite Mingana Manuscripts collection at Birmingham University.

I also, shortly after this discovery, learn about the inception of MOOCs within the historical context of higher education (at our PG Cert seminar held on 24/02/2017).

Visual diagram breaking down the definition of a MOOC

Image by Mathieu Plourde

 

This book was useful to me as the language was one I felt could penetrate into my brain a little more easily, like one of the concepts they discuss on modes of learning: to “get the learning to stick”.

I’m still a little hazy on the difference between ‘engagement’ and ‘learning’, but these pedagogical ‘tips’ definitely helped me.

Axiomatic principles that work with students (summarised):

  • make it personal/relate to the learners
  • provide different modes of learning resources
  • ‘jerk them out’ of their comfort zones of learning methods, if complacency is observed.

Breaking down the idea and act of ‘Reflection’ and what it means for teachers and students to reflect. One thing that I’m left pondering about is to explore how I, as a teacher, might understand if a student knows all of the ‘multimodal approaches’ that allow a person to process information. Also, how and when do I gauge if a student, by the point of higher education, necessarily understands what is the most effective approach for their individual learning experiences?

I’m about halfway through this read, but I think I’ll continue to finish all of this and add into this post. It seems as if I will uncover further discoveries I will feel a need to document for my own teaching practices, moving forward.

Digitally Engaged Learning Conference 14-15 September 2017 – Central Saint Martins

February 23, 2017 in Conferences, Events, News

del-logo-2017

 

DEL (Digitally Engaged Learning) is an international conference exploring and evolving digitally engaged teaching and learning in art and design Higher Education. The conference has been set up to encourage practitioners and educators from creative disciplines to share, harness and critique digital tools and spaces. The conference welcomes individuals and groups across all creative disciplines, working in roles including instructors, lecturers, researchers, support staff, instructional designers and technicians. There are opportunities to share and discuss emerging forms of pedagogy, digital art and design practice, and research. Participants are invited to submit to the open access, peer reviewed Spark Journal, which promotes new thinking around teaching and learning in the creative disciplines. http://www.designsonelearning.net/ #DEL17

This year the Conference is themed ‘Teaching Making / Making Teaching’, the conference seeks to explore creative practices and processes of teaching with digital technology. Calls for proposals end April 2017. There are a number of submission formats. Please click here to find out more: http://www.designsonelearning.net/submission-guidelines/

DEL 17 is a partnership with The New School, University of the Arts London (UAL), Penn State University and Texas State University. The conference will be hosted at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, 14-15 September 2017.

Learning the term ‘Conscientização’

February 19, 2017 in Reading Journal

Cover of book with the same title

I’m not the greatest at articulating intellectual terms. So I was a bit apprehensive about starting to read this book. I’ve decided to take it in bite-size pieces, to let it sink into my (sometimes feels like a pea-sized) brain.

So I’ve just begun to digest the foreword and the preface to give myself a chance to take in what this book is all about (though I have some idea, of course). Already I feel I have new things to take on board as well as aspects to drive me forward with learning to teach well.

The foreword was more interesting than I thought to read, because it reminded me of my own experience and connections with Brazil (where Friere was from). I knew about the thirld world state that Recife was and still is in (where Friere was born). I’ve worked with artists from the North East of England that connected with artists from Recife (North East Brazil) to collaborate on a commission for the 2012 cultural olympiad. Friere also draws from his experience of working in deprived areas such as reform adult education programmes. This reminded me of my  own trip to São Paulo to research and deliver training for the 2016 cultural olympiad in access to the arts for all in Brazil, including development of arts outreach possible in Brazilian prison programmes and amongst favela communities (deprived areas of extreme poverty).

A new word from the preface for my vocabulary (and limited knowledge of Brazilian Portuguese):

‘Conscientização’  as Friere describes it, is to ‘to take action against oppressive elements of reality in the context of  learning to perceive social, political and economical contradictions.’ This has blown my mind a bit!

But I understand it, and perhaps wish I was aware of it when I was studying on my postgraduate degree, I think I was acting out ‘conscientização’ on some sub-conscious level, expressing it through the work I produced during that course. Funny how I could immediately draw on that experience from reading this and reflect upon it after many years. Being aware of it may hopefully be of use now for any students I teach.

I absolutely connect with Friere’s sentence which introduces the book in a way that strives me to delve in and persist with learning about his theories even more: ‘….From these pages I hope at least the following will endure: my trust in people, and my faith [in men and women] and in the creation of a world in which it will be easier to love.’

For is this not what all of us want?

 

 

 

 

Inclusive Teaching & Learning Unit: Gender – Part 1

February 14, 2017 in Inclusive Teaching & Learning

Looking at the ‘Student Diversity at UAL‘ webpage, I started to ponder on how I would answer those 3 questions provided in our brief. It’s a pretty overwhelming page as it’s filled with a lot of information, though it is all useful. As a female, British Indian, Dyslexic student myself, I did wonder how a student would cope with looking at all of this with regards to Intersectionality.

Whether I am interpreting this brief correctly or thoroughly enough, I am not sure, but here goes:

  • How could you apply the resources to your own teaching practice?

I was intrigued by the small little ‘Supporting transgender students‘ blog page. I thought it contained useful information (albeit simple) that would be good to include on the university’s main website so that everyone visiting the website would know that teachers at UAL have an awareness.

In particular, I think  that the link provided to ‘Gendered Intelligence‘ is an essential form of training for teachers to undertake. From my own experience of working in UAL’s Disability Service I think it is hugely important to continue refreshing your awareness of Disability, so I don’t see any difference in teachers making an effort to refresh their awareness of gender fluidity and continue to revise or update knowledge of appropriate or used language around Gender Diversity.

In fact, just as I believe that Disability Equality training should be compulsory for staff at universities, why isn’t Trans Awareness and Inclusion training also essential? I would always find this information and resources received from these training sessions to be useful tools to help build a students’ confidence, especially in the context of teaching art & design subjects, where students often create work which expresses their own selves or their situation in life.

  •  How could you integrate the research/work your students do on this subject into your teaching/professional practice?

Thinking about this aspect feels a very exciting and creative area for me. I would definitely think about setting this subject within a Graphic Communication Design brief. Without writing a full brief here, it could involve students researching the support networks/social groups for Gender Diversity out in the public realm already, and getting them to look at these organisations’ branding. What does this brand say about that organisation? What audiences are they speaking to? Is it different from the audiences they want? How has their branding design influenced that? I could then ask students to rebrand their researched organisation, to capture a different audience. One of the key learning outcomes from this type of brief could be to build an awareness amongst peers that is positive and supportive. Not only that, I would hope it would build students’ design skills to integrate this awareness in their professional practice.

  • Can you cite examples?

I don’t have any direct examples of integrating this into my teaching practice, as I am just beginning as part of the Teaching Within programme. But as an example of a reference, ‘Centred‘ is a type of organisation I could use as a starting point in the brief I mentioned above. I could ask them questions about branding, about providing illustrations for their organisation to attract a different audience and capture a wider support network. This I hope would act as a catalyst to the students researching their own organisation to re-brand. It may either have their attention by widening their minds to learning about social groups and networks they were not aware of before, or it will challenge them to reinterpret organisations they are already familiar with, from a design perspective.

Understanding your students

February 6, 2017 in Reading Journal

A simple example of how you can show understanding of students’ individual needs, desires and expression, can help to progress your ability to teach those students something useful for their lives:

I didn’t know how much to prepare

February 1, 2017 in Tutor Group Discussions

I didn’t know how much to prepare for our first tutor group meeting, so I started a presentation to answer our questions, but it ended up not being used, as the session was, gratefully on my part, informal and discussion based. It was great to hear the varied experiences of teaching in the room.

So that my preparation work for that session isn’t completely lost, and in case anyone reading is remotely interested, here is a little link to it online (though it’s not the slickest presentation, be warned!). It includes some images and a short film of a ‘self directed learning’ workshop I presented at a practice sharing forum at the National Gallery in September 2016.

Enjoy: http://prezi.com/btnva3pytupl/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

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