Today Leigh observed my Unit 1/2 VCD class. The students are in the early stages of an extended design process to generate and develop concepts for a reusable water bottle. Today’s lesson is about using 3D drawing methods to communicate a variety of different concepts.
For this lesson, I asked Leigh to offer me feedback on the following:
- Productive use of class time. To what degree are all students engaged throughout the lesson? In the early stages of any design process I encourage students to direct their energy towards generating as many divergent ideas as possible, using a range of different techniques. The emphasis should be on quantity of ideas above quality – we can test ideas for quality later in the process, but without a broad range of ideas students are rarely able to develop successful concepts later in the process. I encourage and expect students to maximise class time and develop the ability to focus in on a design task and rapidly generate ideas. I don’t insist on silence during this sort of task because I feel this can be stifling to the creative process – but the ability to maintain productive output whilst engaging in private conversations is a finely honed skill!
- Feedback opportunities. A typical VCD lesson involves me first speaking with the class to establish goals and expectations for the lesson, possibly followed by a technical demonstration, then a period of time where students work on a creative task while I circulate the room acting as a sort of art director – “this is working well…” “I like how you have done this…” “have you thought about this…” “you need to keep practicing this…” etc. As we are still early in the year, students are still self-conscious of their ability and it takes a bit more effort on my part to get them to openly share their sketches and ideas. One of my jobs over the next few weeks is to encourage them to embrace the design process in a transparent way by openly sharing ideas with peers for effective feedback.
- Ownership of learning/self direction. I share a lot of resources with my students, including iBooks, Schoology materials and many other documents. I spend time every lesson reinforcing with students which materials they should be accessing and where to find them. This is expected at the beginning of the year, but as we progress through Unit 1 I hope to see my students accessing these resources on their own accord. If not, then why not?
Following this lesson, Leigh suggested she observes the same lesson in 2 weeks’ time – an excellent idea – and hopefully we can track the progress of the points listed above.
Many thanks Leigh for your time today!