This is a Reflective Journal for Unit 1 of my PG Cert.

February 2016 notes

I've been watching other people's presentations on their teaching practice. I was reminded of behaviourist theories of repetition and Instructivism- both of which seem quite relevant to a skills-based activity such as drawing.  Gibbs is another name that deals with repetition.  I intend to research these theories further.   There has also been a lot of reference to scaffolding within teaching practice, another area for exploration and the differences between pedagogy, androgogy and heutogogy.  I was interested in the idea that undergraduate students are at an age where perhaps they are journeying between levels of learner.  

I recently also gave my presentation.  It reflected upon specific issues that I see in teaching life drawing, centered around how intimidating it can be for students, and how this can be dealt with.  Here is a link to it:

January 2016 notes 

Some notes towards my presentation: 

Art Education Bug Bears: issues that are specific to teaching art

Isn't art-making in groups likely to make students very self-conscious?

How can we make students feel less awkward?

Perhaps adapting learning enviroments help? Humour?

"Sometimes silent students have excellent points to make but are shy or self- conscious." Enhancing Teaching Practice in Higher Education

Is it possible to assess beauty?

Is it possible to value skill as high-level thinking? Is art academia? Or it an antidote to academia? Where does that place us as academics? Is art not anti such conventions?

Skill requires repetition, and takes years- is this really low level learning, if it so hard for student's to achieve. Sometimes it is important to learn by writ. Particularly with technical skills like drawing where certain aspects need to be learnt before deconstruction can begin, and that technical learning sometimes takes longer than a 3 year degree?

Who decides what is important to learn in the first place? And how do we know they are qualified to make these decisions? Who decided that they were qualified? And who decided the deciders were qualified? Is it based on a genuine consensus or can it be traced back to a self-appointed elite - was not education originally the province of the upper classes and how has that perpetrated through time into what we consider core subjects now? Like French, perhaps a language that predates air-travel in its significance, but we are set up to learn French because of historical associations, whereas there is no availability to learn Chinese in most British schools (and it would mean a lot of unemployed French teachers).

Why are all degrees 3 years? And assessed? how do you assess some thing that is driven by taste?

December 2015 notes

I have to submit a draft Reflective statement.  

Some questions to ask myself, as suggested by my tutor: 

Why have you positioned yourself as a drawing lecturer/tutor?

How do you see your current context as a supporter of learning? Where have you got to in reflecting on your practice?

The Criteria...

During the course, I need to remember to demonstrate:

  • My own practice-based theory(ies)
  • Evaluation of learning and teaching approaches
  • Evaluation of assessment approaches
  • Learning Theories
  • Enhanced learning technologies
  • Problem based learning
  • Learning and Teaching Enhancement strategies
  • Professional Values
  • Diversity and learning communities
  • Supporting individual learners within HE
  • Scholarship and CPD in Creative Arts HE
  • Evidence informed approaches in the classroom
  • The complex HE environment - inside and outside NUA"

Here are the learning outcomes:


LO1: Critically reflect, analyse and evaluate your professional practice in teaching and supporting learning

LO2: Demonstrate your engagement with the UKPSF, and your understanding of the fundamental precepts of pedagogy, research, scholarship and the evaluation of professional practice

LO3: Demonstrate your specialist knowledge of subject materials related to your area of professional specialism, including the use of specialist learning technologies

LO4: Employ appropriate methods for teaching, learning and assessing in the subject area; ensuring learning at the level appropriate to the level of study

LO5: Demonstrate your understanding of action research as a tool for enhancement


For this course, I need to enhance my knowledge of pedagogic theories and the UKPSF.  From the course materials so far, I feel reassured that a significant proportion of the established theories are closely related to my current teaching methodologies and practice-based theories, which have developed through peer support, reflection and vocational experience.  I need to learn the appropriate language, however, for discussing these activities in this context.

Here are some ideas for aspects of my teaching worth highlighting:

I adjust my paradigm for observational drawing according to the course and student ability. 

Group critique to enhance deeper reflecting learning.

I could enhance contextual knowing - as in give students more ownership and options, some times difficult in the context of teaching a "skill" or the conventions of a particular discipline.

Problem Based Learning - I set the students scenarios sometimes, and parameter within which they need to get a good drawing. E.g. contrast, unfamiliar times limit, just using straight lines,

Dr DE Gallow talks about problem based learning: :

"Little Collaborative & Interdependent tasks"- this is some thing hard to achieve in life drawing and possibly not appropriate

"Student-centered & Experiential" - I choose activities that appeal to particular disciplines

"A good teaching system aligns teaching method and assessment to the learning activities stated in the objectives/LOs."- I try to marry up the learning and outcomes to course objectives. E.g. sequential drawings. Called "constructive alignment." I am always careful to make sure students know why they are learning things.

"Effective learning environment"- one where the students feel able to focus on the task- not over exposed, self conscious,

Encourage student dialogue

Deep learning- I try to make the classes enjoyable as this can help with this.

enable discussion-

I myself am a broad learner according to the Vark Questionnaire.

I provide scaffolding in relation to what I think a student needs.

Tutorials are a chance to reflect on a student's experiential learning. Students experiential learning is encouraged through sketchbooks etc. Kolb-ref

Experiential learning cycle act, reflect, conceptualize, apply

High deep learners (Biggs) knowledge comprehension, analysis, synthesis, evaluation

 November 2015 notes

I've been thinking about how my practice fits with the theories that we are being introduced to:  

My practice is based upon the act of reflection, and I encourage a reflective attitude in my students through using a wide range of learning methodologies. Perhaps I should develop materials for further reflection beyond the workshops?

I encourage problem solving, critical engagement, moving towards empowerment, the building of theory. Moon, 1999

There is a psychological activity to drawing.  I am interested in strategies for managing the emotions of students that may inhibit their reflection and longer term engagement with drawing.

Some thoughts I will need to elaborate upon...

I structure my own reflection through immediate and mediated stages such as..? I link my theory and practice- I have personal theories that I apply to my teaching such as...?  I revise my practices based upon evidence- adjusting the length of poses, adding advice based upon previous group mistakes.

October notes:

Jenny Moon (2005) states:

"Reflection is a form of mental processing that we use to fulfil a purpose or to achieve some anticipated outcome. It is applied to gain a better understanding of relatively complicated or unstructured ideas and is largely based upon the reprocessing of knowledge, understanding and, possibly emotions that we already possess".

I am conscious that I need to develop my knowledge of this kind of pedagogic theory. From what I have learnt so far, it seems that I am using much of it without knowing the language for it. I monitor myself, and use my skill and knowledge as an artist/tutor to develop theories of my own. A shared language for discussing teaching, however, can only be a good thing amongst HE lecturers.  

Perhaps I am on this journey, as outlined by our tutor: 

"Conscious incompetence - in which we become aware of our development needs and start to do something about them;

Conscious competence - where we are using our skills and knowledge, and watching and monitoring ourselves;

Unconscious competence - the skills become naturalised; they have become second nature.

Donald Schon - from earlier weeks Powerpoint - developed the notions of reflection in action and reflection on action.

After your teaching session(s) you can reflect on, analyse, and evaluate the learning and teaching that took place. This will then help inform your future planning and preparation - leading to a cycle of continuing improvement."

Another interesting theory taken from our learning documents: 

"Gibbs' Reflective Cycle (or Reflective Model) was presented in Learning by Doing (1988).

Gibbs' reflective cycle has 6 stages.

They are usually given the following headings:

1. Description - What happened?

2. Feelings - What were you thinking and/or feeling?

3. Evaluation -What was good and bad about the experience?

4. Analysis - What sense can you make of it?

5. Conclusion - What else could be said and done?

6. Action Plan - What to do in the future

Gibbs' model was developed from David Kolb's 4 stage experiential learning cycle model (1984).

Kolb's model is often referred to as an experiential learning model (which means learning through experience), Gibbs' model is often referred to as an iterative model (which means learning through repetition)."

 This seems very relevant to the repetition within drawing.   Of course, as students progress through the course they will take more ownership of their practice and become higher-level learners.