Teaching Philosophy
Learning Essays
Subjects / Syllabai
Student Work

An effective lesson can be achieved through reflection.

My objective is to explore the benefits of reflective learning; identifying key features that make an effective lessonthrough observing ofan experienced colleague (Naomi) andhow I might be able to use them in the future.

Learning Objectives
An effective lesson involves careful planning, preparation and learning objectives set. While observing Naomi, she clearly set learning objectives at the beginning of the lesson.  Her students knew exactly what they were going to learn.  This is a distinct example of Visual Learning (Hattie). “When teaching and learning are ‘Visible’ - that is, when it is clear what teachers are teaching and what students are learning, student achievement increases.” ( Near the end of her lesson,she reflected upon the learning objectives and summarized how they were achieved.

Student Interest
Keep students interested - this can be achieved by using modern day examples or current events, cultural references, popular culture and everyday life experiences.Naomi gave HW based on an everyday issue.  In the future I plan to use more current events at the beginning of my lesson so learners can relate to what they are learning pertaining to everyday life. 

Flow is a key feature essential to current and future professional practice. Keeping momentum, in which one topic leads to another, reflection and recall help to achieve this. Much like scaffolding “…learners to build on their own current level of understanding progressively to acquire confidence in using new knowledge or skill.”(Vygotsky).  - CICTL Module 1 guide. Establishing a good means of communication between teacher and student isfundamental.“A crucial contribution to scaffolding learning derives from dialog between teacher and learners, and through the feedback loops that this makes possible.” (Reflective Teaching in Schools by Andrew Pollard and others, 4th edition Bloomsbury P100)

Pace is vital to maintain a level of understanding. The pace of a lesson varies per teaching group.  While observing Naomi, she would walk around the classroom and visually assess the learners so that she can establish a comfortable pace. 

If you cannot control your class then how can you teach them.  Time spent trying to control your class is time meant for learning.  I observed another colleague that could not control the class. They would talk over them to try to get them to listen. During our PDQ meeting, this issue was acknowledged by my mentor Andrew Jones. He gave many solutions to the problem such as eye contact, hand gestures, small acts of encouragement and tone of voice (PDQ meeting December 1, 2016).

Student Engagement
Interactive learning – applying teaching methods and AFL techniques to engage students. During Naomi’s power point presentation she split the students in groups of 4 – each person had a task so not to leave anybody out.  I learned from this and in the future when I do group work I will assign a specific task to each group member.

Learning is based on the neurons in our cells communicating with each other using electrical impulses.Learning is how we obtain, use and recall knowledge. Teaching is a means to allow others to become aware of this process and retain the knowledge they have gained.  There are many theories about how we learn and facilitate the learning process.

Active learning combines several teaching methodologies into one teaching approach.  I believe that the combination of theories to create a type of “personal teaching style”is a good approach to learning. The combination of Experiential learning (Kolb) Cognitive PsychologyandConstructivism (Vygotsky) is my approach to active learning. Experiential Learning (Kolb) is where learners are encouraged to create, explore, conceptualize and interact with observations and perceptions around them. Kolb states that learning involves the acquisition of abstract concepts that can be applied flexibly in a range of situations

Being an art teacher Experiential Learning is a principle necessity. It is the basic hands-on approach to learning art.  When drawing a still life, the learner is taught through observation.They use perception and experience of their teacher by example to visually recognize techniques on how to draw.They thenreproduce or interpret their perception, what they see, where the objects are placed with regard to other objects around them. The learner is encouraged to explore the relationships between the objects and their surroundings forming a type of communication. An abstract concept occurs simultaneously.  As the learner becomes more confident, they begin to conceptualize an interaction between themselves and the artwork and later by the viewerand the artwork. The learning occurs not by the final outcome but by the process to achieve the final outcome and to experience it.

Cognitive psychology is the thought process how people perceive, think and remember based on reasoning, conceptual development, and decision making. I would like to use a design project as an example of cognitive psychology. I could teach students how to use Adobe Photoshop for hours …when I finish lecturing and it is time for the students practice what they so called learned, most of them don’t even know how to turn the computer on. I use cognitive psychology as a way to aid the learning process concentrating on perception and reasoning.  Introducing the learner a few easy techniques (not all of them at once)with multiple ways to exercise them to realize their learning objective. By giving the learner a choice (usually they choose the path they feel most comfortable with or that the find easier to remember) they use their own reasoning to subconsciously achievethe learning objectives...

Evidence of Learning

Lesson Objectives:
  1. To focus on learners observation skills – establish relationships between still life objects: light, composition and space
  2. Perception - practice drawing / painting techniques: accuracy, volume, light and shadow
  3. Hand-eye coordination in the form of: paint mixing and application onto canvas
The aim is to guide/ coachlearnersto use their consciousness and knowledge / skills gained, achieved or perceived in a way that allow a deeper understand of oneself and the creative process.
I use classic conditioning techniques to train the learners to plan early for each lesson.  Upon entering the studio learners automatically prepare their artwork accordingly by setting up easels and placing their phones in the phone box without instruction. 

The studio lesson requiresmultiple periods to complete. The lesson observed was in the middle of that process. Learning objectives were introduced during the first period and coherent throughout.
New learning is instituted by establishing a connection between previous learning and learning now. Evidence of learning was achieved by scaffolding techniques from previous lessons building on one another. Drawing transfiguring toward painting.

Through interactive learning (hands-on approach), assessment for learning methods (think, pair share, peer assessment, wait time and open ended questioning) and various other teaching methodologies (demonstration, example, one to one consultation and critique) learners are able to use their personal knowledge obtained to create a visual interpretation of their learningthat is very individual and style based. Evidence of learning can be perceived through these assessments.

This lesson is divided into two parts:
Part 1 - Still life (acrylic painting in black & white)
Part 2 - Homework

Still Life
While learners are painting / developing their artwork I walk around the studio visually and interactively assessing learners - viewing, critiquing, commenting on, and demonstrating what or how to get a deeper understanding of the subject matter.  Learners use already learned art skills added with newly acquired knowledge to complete learning objectives. (experiential learning / scaffolding) Evidence of learning is achieved visually.

The structure of the lesson depends on prior knowledge.  My development of the syllabus allows one unit to lead toward another.  Reflection is automatic and constantly ratified.
Introduce and give examples of a once a month homework assignment that should take 3 or more hours to complete.
In preparation a MS word document about the assignment is projected on screen. Each learner is given a hard copy to take home. I choose particular learners to read the points out loud while explaining and asking them open-ended questions.  The assignment: to produce a “family portrait” with at least three members of theirfamily using any medium A2 size (Inprevious assignments, we learned figure and portrait drawing usinga variety of media). Learners were then shown family portrait pictures as examples about what they could do to provoke thought and creativity.

Learning is achieved during the process (Formative) and after the work is returned (Summative) graded from “best” to “not yet” and then reflected on in the form of a group critique.  Afterward the “not yet” learners are given a chance to redo their work.  The evidence of learning from this assignment is based on formal knowledge, gained knowledge from realizing and achieved knowledge from reflection.

The end of the lesson includes: a reflection on the days’ activities, techniques discussed, homework summarized and what / how to prepare for next class.  Clean-up time is achieved through classic conditioning with 5 minutes left in the period. Students are reminded to take supplies and paper to complete their HW assignment.