Pandaji's Blog

Art, research, education


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Profile 2. Designing and planning learning activities, May 2010


Sharing one’s own passion and enthusiasm for the subject so that students become engaged and enthused is the most rewarding part of my job. I love doing ceramics and I am a great advertisement for the subject. Getting to know the students on a personal level and vice versa has meant that the mutual trust that has been built up amongst the students and myself has helped a great deal in their ability to approach me for feedback at this final stage in their course. (Brookfield 1995)

By directing the way they experiment and perform tests and try out techniques, the students gain self-esteem and trust in my knowledge when they have instant feedback and encouragement. I have been trying this as a whole group and individually. My strengths in designing learning activities that enhance transformative learning (Mc Gonigal 2005) are that I can help student understanding of how they learn by introducing or suggesting different ways of approaching the subject.

In accordance with Dall ‘Alba 2005, I can now assess myself at the end of a workshop, and evaluate whether the planned learning outcomes have been achieved. By keeping a reflective journal, I can evaluate how to use this information to improve and enhance my own practice.

A recent example of this was observing the different approach that the tutor and I take when the students have very little time to produce the final show piece and I am still encouraging the tests, as I still understand that the assessment will be constructively aligned and therefore a proportion of the marks will be given for process. (Biggs 1996)

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Profile 1. Designing and planning learning activities, October 2009


On this course we are encouraged to pursue our own learning programme. In the same way, I have always encouraged ceramic students to design and plan their own work. Their approach can be based on a theme or a series of diverse ideas. Technique can then be taught individually, when a student’s design requires it. This method depends on having an ongoing yearly or multi-year group structure such as an evening class in a community centre. For single all-day workshops, taster sessions, or 6-10 two-hour sessions, it is necessary to plan and design a different type of programme in order for a group of students to achieve particular learning outcomes in the given time. Although I have taught ongoing programmes for many years, I have minimal theoretical and practical experience of designing and teaching these shorter programmes.

An example of a shorter workshop that I have designed and taught is casting body parts in Mod Roc. I had to think through what could be achieved by a group of ten students working alone and /or in pairs, what supplies they would need, and what resources I would need. I generally make loads of lists! I thought about the minimum learning outcome required for the slowest student and how this could be extended for students who might work faster.

My plan is quite general and is helped by a simple table:

Date Learning outcomes Teaching method ResourcesRequired Assessment

This I learnt on a brief teaching course that I took several years ago. I find that it can be helpful to have a timed practice session as this can help with planning what might be possible. The other benefit of this is that it provides a ready-made example. I also think about designing the session with a balance of teaching and demonstrating, and students’ hands on application.

On this course I hope to improve my computer skills and learn how to design and organize templates for text materials such as planning documents and handouts. This will enhance the calibre of my written teaching materials and resources.