Glaze tests are a great way to promote feedback and discussion.
After reading Bryan and Clegg (2006) I understand that assessment is also feedback, and so my previous understanding that I had nothing to do with student assessment has now changed. I understand that I constantly give feedback. Discussions about finished work are formative, as I am not required to do summative assessments in my role as technician. My understanding of formative feedback as a fast and helpful way of enhancing student learning has certainly helped me feel more useful and productive.
Formalising reflections using a reflective diary has given me a way of knowing that I am heading in the right direction professionally. I can continue to do action research projects and help my own and the students’ progress. As a result, I feel more confident about my teaching abilities and feel that my colleagues can now take me more seriously. My teaching practice has always been my main occupation rather than my practice as a ceramic artist. Now I feel that I can take myself more seriously as both a ceramic and academic practitioner.
When I first arrived at Wimbledon I organised the existing glaze test tiles into boxes containing tiles fired to the same temperature. I noticed that students were reluctant to look through these boxes to find a glaze colour or effect that they wanted to use. During the short course English Design and Make 2010, one student was drawn to the student 7 test tiles (see plate 7) that I had hung together on the wall. The student said, “I want my mask to look as though it is crying. This glaze looks as though it’s crying.” After reflecting about this, it confirmed my thoughts that using student standardised test tiles has added to the resource and helped enhance the learning of the subsequent group of students.
Improving the way I display the tiles has demonstrated the importance of immediate visual appearance in helping students’ decision-making.
By organising various samples into boxes classified in a more general way to allow for non-standard examples, I hope to encourage exploration of the resources and the cross-curricular use of clay.