For a word document version of the Journal Summary please find here Journal Summary
Journal Summary Scott McIntosh PGCert The Teaching Artist
For my journal summary of the PGCert The Teaching Artist module I have divided my key learning points into two categories, being a learner and being a teacher. As a learner on the PGCert course I am being given the same challenges as the students in my subject. As a teacher I am trying to apply my new knowledge in a Scenic Art/theatre learning environment. I have had struggles and breakthroughs both as a learner and as a teacher. I’m detailing what has informed my practice over the module and the actions I’m taking for the future.
Being a Learner
A personal and professional goal I set myself at the beginning of every year (and I have included it in my PDP for this module) is to attend an evening class to learn a new skill or develop one. Alongside this module, I have been taking part in an introduction to calligraphy evening course. In my blog I stated:
“Part of the reason I wanted to take this class was because during the day I’m interacting and teaching the students… I wanted to have that experience where I’m the learner again.”
The benefit of the class was starting at the ground level with little knowledge of the subject, much like the students entering the Scenic Art department. I summarized:
“To put myself in their shoes, to feel excited, overwhelmed, defeated, elated (sometimes all at the same time) is important.”
I began to understand the learner’s trepidation and fear of failure. Watching someone facilitate the class was a practical way of observing teaching methods. The tutor gave out handouts before reading over the material and doing examples on the board. It was influential in how I approached and implemented my own observed session. I supplied printed hand outs and talked through the material and gave physical examples to which students feedback:
“Learning the theory before the exercise really helpful…Physical demonstration was very useful”
By putting myself in the role of the learner I have begun to see new ways to deliver lessons and how that could be applied to my context or what I would do differently. Without this experience I would not have a good understanding of the learning journey my students go on.
As a learner on the PGCert course I have had the opportunity to come into contact with many different ideologies and methodologies when it comes to teaching. One that has influenced me through the design of my observed session is the VARK (visual, auditory, read, kinesthetic) model. It was integral in helping me to understand the different learning types of students and myself. I began by taking the test myself, the results for which were as follows:
- Visual 6
- Auditory 7
- Read/Write 3
- Kinesthetic 6
“Taking the test did reveal to me that I’m a teacher who leans toward group discussion and communication, and exploration through physical examples and interacting with others.”
By investigating the VARK model it shaped how I presented my lesson to the learners. I became aware of different modes of delivery and realised that by approaching different exercises through reading extracts, or discussions and physical examples I could have an engaging lesson for all learning types.
Reflective writing is something I have struggled with throughout the PGCert and a key moment for me was trying to analyse what I needed to do differently. I identified questions to ask myself when reflecting:
“Has it given you insight that you did not previously have?
Did it reveal anything about you as a learner?
Are there any implications for your future work?
Is there anything you would do differently in the future? Why?
Has it allowed you to develop or more easily identify your skills?”
This has impacted how I view the learning journey. By this process of reflection, I now identify my goals for the future after each learning opportunity. This has evolved into a process of audio recording my personal reflection sessions, a medium that produces a more natural honest reflection and these recordings then become a resource I can use when writing reflective statements.
As a learner my continuation actions for beyond this module are to:
- Set myself professional and personal goals to achieve
- Research further learning methods and techniques to inform my teaching practice
- Reflect through a new medium to better capture my learning experience throughout the following module
Being a Teacher
The Flipped Classroom
Through the Approaches to Critical Artistry module I had discovered the use of a Flipped Classroom method of delivery. As I was approaching the observed portion of The Teaching Artist module I wanted to use this approach as a foundation for the theory and practical exercises that I would be using and exploring in the lesson. I had chosen appropriate videos from different contexts of Tromp l’Oeil painting. As I learned from the delivery of the videos and the following lesson was that the students responded positively:
“Yes – its good to actually have a visual demonstration rather than just reading something”
“Now I know where to look in the future for examples and explanations”
“Definitely useful in understanding different ways of trompe and understanding colour”
This lead to a discussion and the conclusion that more subject specific videos would be required for future classes and production work. The Flipped Classroom’s impact on me is to begin to discover alternative ways to present information to students and how to engage them beyond the classroom. As I detail in my blog when referring to the Tromp l’Oeil street artist Pejac:
“A great example to the students about how they could use their skills in another context! Maybe after they graduate when work is slow, get out there and try something different.”
As I explore different videos and articles it impacts on how I present a subject and my knowledge of how the Scenic Artist’s skills can be transferred across different mediums.
A key point in the development of my lesson plan for the observed section of the module was when I began to construct the lesson ‘script’. What I would be saying to the students, how I would be moving on to different topics and asking questions and encouraging discussion. Having written my lesson plan first, I felt that I had a clear outline for the structure of the day. As I began to break down each activity and how I would deliver it, I began to adjust, tweak and make chances to the activities. I summarised in my blog:
“What I have learned is that although my lesson plan has been broken down into activities and timings, by expanding this further I discovering what may and may not work. For example, I’m changing the lighting model box exercise to be part of the discussion about form shadows, cast shadows, highlights etc. This gives the section much more dynamism and allows the students to view the aspects of light and shade as I discuss them.”
Writing the lesson script provided a structure to my preparations, I could identify the areas that would need a visual demonstration, or printout extract and was then able to take this into account in my planning and preparation for the session. It also helped with my understanding of the subject area and the best way to present it to the students.
Through the feedback forms and the post-lesson discussion with the students the prospect of designing more classes like the one I had delivered came up. When reflecting on this I had begun to wonder if the design and implementation of master classes with theory and practical aspects could fulfil the gaps during term where there is a limited amount of production work:
“As I was looking towards the project and thinking about master classes… the theory that underpins the class is as important as the practical”
If the classes were written and accompanied by specialised video tutorials they could be delivered at any time as, due to the nature of production work it is hard to pinpoint the future workload, this approach would provide the students with additional learning and enrichment whilst also being able to offer a suitable level of flexibility for staff and productions. The master class concept could present itself as a possible project for the next module. If I hadn’t written and delivered the observed lesson, I would not have had the opportunity to enter into a targeted feedback session with the students who then, along with myself came up with the concept of further master class style study.
As a teacher my actions for beyond this module are:
- To continue promoting discussion and critique of the current curriculum and how it can be improved or delivered more effectively
- To go through the process of revising and editing lesson plans and activities to create engaging and evolving lessons
- To produce subject specific video content for the learners