Observations for 20th of June’s Discussions on T&L.

There was a lot of discussions in today’s sessions, in pairs and groups. I see this as a summary of what we have experienced so far in T&L.  In my opinion, the most interesting thing discussed was Silent Teaching. I find this interesting and I’ll be looking into this shortly…

We discussed about these:

Design & Plan

The importance of planning a lecture and how a lesson plan has helped me when I subdivide the long sessions into several activities. There are always minor changes or improvements during the lecture session. Subsequently, I have also learnt to align learning outcomes with the topics in my lectures. These are extremely useful for ongoing student project work.

Support Learning

It is important to understand what are my student’s current knowledge level and learning capacity. Each student would be different in the diverse cohort. I believe that what drives their learning can be positioned in a context where they are provided with an overview of the topic. This can either be written handouts for dyslexic students or a one page concise slide. Can they also learn from taking notes ?

Assessments

How do we know what students felt in that session?

Is there a way to avoid surface level learning, where they cannot connect topics with project work?

If we give a hint of the assessment criteria, would that enable them to understand the teaching better?

Feedback

How to know how the students felt about the lesson/session? The students might not acknowledge verbally in a large class and there are possibilities of miscommunications. I think asking students if they have any questions can also be futile. I will need to look into “innovative” ways of getting feedback from students after each session with them. Is there a way of knowing this without asking (Tutor feedback)?

Is there evidence that teaching is there?

Checking

Checking allows tutor to check if every student is on the same “page.” I believe this is critical and  a way to gather feedback. However, I felt this needs to happen during the lesson to ensure that I am effective in delivery of content. We also discussed that checking can be Interactive and led by the tutor.

Other things mentioned in the discussion is how lectures can be a show and tell? So what is a lecture exactly? Iestyn also mentioned a book: 53 Interesting Things To Do  In A Lecture by Anthony & Karen Haynes, 2012 which I have started to read and there is a few key points like Uncompleted Notes which I would like to use and also some points which I have already been doing (Review and Modelling Discipline) Very helpful Indeed !

Reflections on Opportunities & Challenges in T&L in Small Groups & Critiques

In groups, we started to list the opportunities and challenges and then added the various strategies that can benefit each point.

Small Groups

We started to look at the opportunities of peer teaching in a small group. This is perhaps a more personalised way of teaching. I believe this is a more effective way to engage in a topic or encourage problems based learning and skills. However, there is a tendency to spend too much time on a student and neglect the rest. To avoid this, I would like each student to prepare a short show-and-tell at a given/specific timing prior to the start of this session. This is as important as the group teaching and should be a considered approach, not on the fly.

One of the challenges highlighted in our group discussions deals with the limited opportunities that arises when the small group does not get the overall overview. This is true in my large group of students. The workaround would be to use a representative in each group to present in a summary session. This way of sharing is similar to what we have done on this exercise: a succinct and diverse way to acquire knowledge in a very short time. However, some students might be reluctant to present in front of a large group. Perhaps, the workaround would be to ask one from each small group to be presenting collectively.

Crits

One of the main opportunities in a critique is the ability to show and build confidence through presenting your work. If a student’s participation is positive and infectious, they can be an asset to their future employer. I believe the ability to present well is a skill that is important for any designer.

The challenges that we have noted down is very closely aligned with a series of anxieties that is commonly expressed in students. This could turn into an opportunity to teach how to advert issues like language shortcomings, nervousness and timekeeping. One way would be to practice with peers in pairs and do so again, this time with questions at the end.

This reduces anxiety and facilitates communications by expressing what they want to say about their work, in a comfortable environment .

Elective Unit Sharing Task 1 Reading 2 of 2

This is Matthew Draper’s Readings  which is about Research in Art and Design by Christopher Frayling Volume 1 No. 1 1993/1994

Is Fine Art research comparable with scientific research?

It is very difficult to put art practices in research categories. And it seems like the text discussion aims to post-rationalize art as a research activity which is difficulty, IMO.

I love Frayling’s style of writing and how it relates to the period where you see an emergence of art and design as research and how research (actually) started as non-scientific endeavour. However, we see examples of artists driving the cognitive (instead of expressive) like Constable’s clouds and Stubb’s animals.

I am now reading Failure: why science is so successful by Stuart Firestein and it describes how the faults and errors have contributed to science. As a result, a trial-and-errors process and approach has evolved in scientific research. To me this can be a parallel approach to art research.  Indeed, it is very difficult to describe what research is.

Elective Unit Sharing Task 1 Reading 1 of 2

Understanding Patriarchy by Bell Hooks (Gloria Jean Watkins)

This is Melissa Genc’s readings for Inclusive Teaching & Learnings.

1. What have you learnt from the text? and what provocation(s) do you have, if any? 

I have learnt that the ability to inflict a set of rules without rationale is still possible today! (What!) This article brings back memories of a friend’s mother-in-law who uses demands that my friend uses her hand as a spittoon. This is widespread, especially, in my Asian heritage background context.

The text focuses on how bad the situation is. I was wondering if a suggestion of how to change that would be better. (And there is!) and this is mentioned briefly: “Dismantling and changing patriarchal culture is work that men and women must do together.”

It is interesting to note that the writer’s close bond (a man) has turned from opposing patriarchy to accepting and affirming such behaviour in his workplace and rationalised by his desire to get ahead. I guess this issue has to be addressed from a societal level and accepting that we all have to change.

2. How do you avoid discrimination on gender within your own teaching practice?

In the teaching context, it would be very biased to use “patriarchy” rules to teach. This would be even more inappropriate in student’s assessments.  I mean, what benefit would it have for a tutor to behave in this manner? Not only this will cause a division in the student and the tutor, it will also create unnecessary tension.

To avoid this type of gender discrimination, I will be talking and discussing such social issues. I once showed a video by Nike and in it features the Hijab. I wanted to show the material of the hijab and the design of this headscarf, which is heavily influenced by the cultural background behind the users whom are very restricted in their expressions and daily lives. The Nike designers are predominantly western-based and through a single material: polyester, the women in these countries can now have the ability to do sports “properly”.

I also talked about Sarah Attar who made Olympic history for Saudi Arabia when she took part in the London 2012 Olympics. She was Saudi-born and had to comply to Islamic laws so she ran in a hijab for the 800m race. Click to see her here.

Through examples like these, I hope to ensure that discussions and lectures are driven to enrich the student’s sensitivity in their cultural environments and allow the individual to flourish according to their strengths.