Pandaji's Blog

Art, research, education

Profile 1. Teaching and supporting student learning, October 2009

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Most of my teaching over the last twenty years has been within a community setting or with people with mental or physical disabilities. I have built up a significant amount of relevant resources such as moulds for easy construction of ceramic pieces by people with little or no experience of handling clay, and colour samples to help with understanding the of use of ceramic colour and glazes, which can vary considerably from actual use to finished object, due to the effect of heat. I determined that the ceramic studio at Wimbledon needed more inspiring resources that are usually required for teaching glaze and decorative finishes. Instead of using plain tiles, I have made colour samples and other examples of clay types and processes in the form of ceramic custard cream biscuits and dolls heads. My line manager has just produced a resource library of 12 cm cubes and spheres made out of a variety of materials with accompanying videos of the techniques used. I contributed by making several ceramic spheres and cubes and by helping him understand the processes involved.

We are also encouraged by our line manager to share skills in order to better understand each other’s areas of expertise. I have taught several of my colleagues how to make a ceramic object; in exchange, I have learnt various computer, sewing, mould making and woodworking skills from my colleagues. I often try to encourage peer group learning amongst the students as I find this is a great way to learn myself. Some of the tutors have mentioned they would like to have the opportunity to do this type of skill sharing, but in the current climate of hours being cut I do not see this happening in the near future. However, I believe it would be a terrific way to help students across foundation have a better supported learning experience. Moreover, it might help tutors assess ceramic work with an improved understanding of the processes involved.

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Author: pandaji

Ceramic artist, educator

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