Monday, 27 November 2017

Mind Lab Week 18 - A Change in My Practice (Theme 4)

Shifting from a classroom to a Specialist teaching role recently, it became increasingly apparent that Visual Art was still being taught through a transactional model in many classes. Combined with research into TAB (Teaching for Artistic Behaviour) and noting the increasing value placed on Creativity as a desired Future Learning skill, I wanted to lead improvements for our school, starting with my specialist programme. To this end, I feel that my postgraduate journey has delivered so far. 
This image illustrates the radical change in the way that I now view my role:

And this one represents  the approach I chose for my implementation - shifting my practice to “incorporate deeper learning approaches and engage students in critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, and self-directed learning." (see class notes, week 18)
One catalyst for this shift was this Ted talk by art educator, Cindy Foley - Teaching art or teaching to think like an artist?

Theme 4 "Changing the script": Rethinking learners' and teachers' roles, (Bolstad & Gilbert, 2012), identifies a need for shift (in thinking and approach) due to current "social, economic and technological changes, and the exponentially increasing amount of human knowledge being generated as a result, all in a world with an unprecedented degree of complexity, fluidity and uncertainty." Also, education for the ”Knowledge Age needs to prepare learners for dealing with new situations and environments." Students today can collect information anywhere and anytime, they no longer need us for that (Role of Teachers in the 21st C -  Delafosse, S. (2011)).
Rather, I found that students need guidance around what information they should be consuming, and have opportunities to apply that knowledge, to test, fail, persevere, collaborate, deconstruction, reconstruct and so on. The shift from whole class skill teaching based on the 'just in case' model - to the individual/small group 'just in time' conferencing model has been rewarding and re-energising as together we discover, trial and develop ideation strategies for all ability levels, uncover and develop students’ personal 'styles' of expression and experiment with a variety of media. It is a challenging journey as we become more familiar with ambiguity (Foley 2014), tackling problems that we cannot anticipate beforehand.

Y0 T3 - Acrylic paint

Y0 T3 - Papier Mache

Y0 T3 - Plasticine

Y0 T3 - Stop Motion

Y0 T3 - Wire Sculpture

Y0 T3 - Quiver - Dot Day

Bolstad & Gilbert (2012) noted, while teachers know that "Good learning requires active engagement in the whole game" this is still failing to occur. So by identifying my limitation, e.g. time frames, parent and school-wide expectations, I could better target my research for solutions to support my shift.
According to the The 2Revolutions LLC (2012) video, traditional school models no longer meet the needs of the marketplace as they were designed for a different time. It calls on teachers to be 'designers and see the world as a kit of parts - to reshape and reassemble the best pieces from what is already out there, and create something new and better. By exploring related resources to TAB and Choice, I integrate aspects with a focus on sustainability. If something is too difficult for me or the students to maintain - out it goes. iPads are a Godsend for accessing personalised resources and delivering digital creation options, like photography and Stop Motion. 

I regularly survey classes about whether they prefer the 'personal learning' model, the 'step by step follow me' model or both. Most students choose the personal one with some asking for 'both' option. Recently, one class was overwhelmingly pro the step by step model. On reflection, this class had the hardest time with with ideation.
I learnt over the past 2 terms that students following their own inquiry are far more engaged and require less managing than before. Yet, even in a self-directed learning programme, with all the ideation strategies one can muster, you will still have students who learn best by following structured step by step lessons. Purposeful flipped learning tools have proven successful in supporting these students as they build confidence to strike out on their own.
Twenty-first century ideas about knowledge and learning demand shifts in the traditional roles. By recognising and working with learners' strengths, and supporting the development of each learner's potential, the small shifts that we make in our practice can have exponential benefits for the lives of our students. 

Bolstad, R. & Gilbert, J. (2012). Supporting future-oriented learning and teaching: A New Zealand perspective. New Zealand Council for Educational Research.
2Revolutions LLC (2012) The Future of Learning. Retrieved on November 26, 2017, from
AJ+ (2015). 5 Technologies That Will Change Classroom Education. Retrieved on Novenber 26, 2017, from
Delafosse, S. (2011). Teaching in the 21st Century. Retrieved on November 26, 2017, from
Ted talk for art educators by Foley, . (2014). Tedx Talks: Teaching art or teaching to think like an artist? Retrieved on November 26, 2017, from

With love, as always

Thank you for visiting,


  1. Some great relevant insights into why change in needed. I could relate so much to much of what you say and the use of chosen literature provided during this weeks mindlab notes and clips puts so much into perspective. This last illustration depicting that 'Entertainment is not the same as engagement' is something that parents need help with in deciphering. The concept that just because little Johnny is familiar with a range of screens and appears to know what he is doing is not the same as being engaging and growing positive 21st century skills. I teach year 5 and 6's and often see them rush to technology to use a search engine thinking this is where the answers lie. But they are often overwhelmed by the share volume and don't have the skills to sort, use interpret and deal with the concepts shown in your 'Has anyone shown them how to?' illustration. Facing what I saw in front of me, I have decided to change my practice and construct lessons and questions that provoke creativity, innovation and problem solving with tools and software on the ICT we have in our classroom.

  2. Hi Robbie, I completely agree with you. I taught Y4 in a 1:2 digital environment for several years with iMacs rather than personal devices and that was great. We focused on the computer as a tool to aide our creations and it didn't matter where in the room I was, the large screens were always visible and you could see how students progressed. There wasn't the same addiction factor and stealth usage I am now seeing with personal iPads. Be really strict with your expectations. Just because this generation was born into this technological age does not make them tech savvy, just kids that were born into a candy store who need to develop the skills for deciding what to consume based on the problem they are needing to solve. Focus on those skills and you're onto a winner here.