In 2016, the Visual Arts faculty is committed to achieving the following SMART goals:
Build real world visual art/design connections within the classroom through relationships and engagement with professionals and experts in specific fields. (F, C)
Over the last few years I have been able to establish ongoing connections with CGS alumni who have gone on to study or work in visual art/design industries. This has proven to be extremely rewarding in providing students with extended feedback opportunities, mentoring and an authentic audience with which to engage. Working with past students has also given me the opportunity for feedback on aspects of my curriculum and teaching style. Students respond well when someone they recognise from previous years or know as being connected to the school shows interest in their learning. It could be as simple as inviting a previous student to present or offer feedback over Skype, or you could explore ways to make it more meaningful by consulting over curriculum design or building a mentorship model into your program.
This year I intend to build further on this approach by incorporating the expertise of professional designers into my teaching. For example, in Year 7 Tinker & Design, I have approached some product designers to visit my class (physically or virtually) and offer ideas and feedback. I’ll keep you posted.
2. Create high quality resources and online material with an emphasis on archiving student work which models quality learning and outcomes. (O, U, S)
In the last week I have introduced new design tasks for my each of my Year 11and Year 10 VCD classes. It doesn’t matter how well I articulate the task, assessment or resources, it is only when I show them good examples of previous or similar work that I am confident that they all understand. Visual Arts/Design teachers know as much as anyone the value of archiving strong student work as a model for future students and each of us does this in some way every year.
But there are a few challenges to this, particularly the storage of large or cumbersome work. So, if you walk through the Visual Arts department in the last week of school, you will likely see me scanning folio page after folio page to record exemplary student work. But what do we do with all of this digital content? How can we make it accessible for students and teachers, particularly when we so often emphasise high resolution images? That is what this particular Smart Goal is all about.
Last year, I started putting together a Flickr site to curate student folios and finished art and possibly even host online Visual Arts exhibitions. This year I intend to get the site to a state which other teachers feel comfortable contributing to and that students can easily access and hopefully value.
Another great way of incorporating exemplary student work into curriculum is through iBooks. Over the last few years I have been incorporating work samples or explanatory videos into my iBooks. When I ask students to contribute they are usually enthusiastic as this is seen as a reward for their efforts, and there is a sense of legacy at being a representative of a previous year level. You can see examples of this in the Year 12 VCD iBook which should be visible on Self Service but if not, can be accessed via my Drop Box account. It’s a pretty big file (on account of all the great material contained within). I’d love to hear any feedback you might have!
3. To enhance our technical and practical skills through staff run and attended workshops. (F, O, C, U, S)
One of the reasons I love being a part of the Visual Arts faculty is the amazing breadth of talent every teacher brings to the team. Another reason is the willingness of everyone to share information and support the team’s learning. We have teachers that span many different creative disciplines with varied backgrounds and we each understand that a culture of shared learning makes each of us immensely stronger.
The way we approach this SMART Goal is to begin with suggestions about what we would like to learn and from whom, as well as what we would like to deliver to the team. As we have a couple of new VCD teachers this year, I have been asked to run a workshop on Adobe Illustrator. I would also like to run a workshop on how to use the app Pinterest with students as I have found this to be really useful in the last 12 months. Of the available workshops I am most looking forward to Clare’s upcoming ceramic workshop!