Today (Friday 28h March 2014) I carried on teaching the afternoon session at Frederick Bird for the children University activities. I decided to run a similar activity that I had tried with the first group, as they seemed to extremely enjoy it. As a exciting last few weeks I decided to teach the long exposure class again. The children loved the creativity of playing with torches and drawing in the air. I feel this is an important part of photography to teach as it is something that isn’t as obvious. I feel the children love the playful feel of the task; which is why it is so successful. I have learnt from running this class before that taking the children away in pairs to do this activity works best, as with a larger group it can get quite hectic. I set the children to practice their photography with a simple activity such as themes based photography. This means that I can work with the children in more of a one to one atmosphere for the long exposures/painting with light task.
Over the next week I plan to mark the work. I will show the children some of the best images from the long exposure task and I will create my usual 1st, 2nd and 3rd presentation showing the chosen imagery from the classroom themed task. I have found this is a useful tool to inspire the children to push forward with their photography skills. The friendly competition gives the children a little added drive and enthusiasm to the tasks given.
Today (Friday 21stMarch 2014) I finished teaching the three-day workshop with the year 5 school children. I culminated this session with some selecting and retouching/editing. I helped the children by suggesting strong images that they had taken and letting them choose their favorites. I also showed the how to correct or alter small adjustments to the image on their schools laptops. For this to work successfully we decided to split the children into groups so that we could work efficiently in small groups with them. The other group of children carried on taking photographs of the school; practicing their newfound photography skills.
These 3 days were quite intense for the children, however I feel this worked well as they developed quickly. I tried to make the activities different so that the children didn’t feel like the day was repetitive and boring. Having asked the children how they found it I received positive feedback; some asked us when I was coming back to do it again. I thoroughly enjoyed the 3 solid days workshops and feel that this is something that I could imagine myself doing in the future. Perhaps I could set up my own workshops and offer schools and kids clubs the opportunity of visiting photography workshops.
In the afternoon I ran my usual Friday afternoon sessions with the mixed aged group children for “Childs University”. The word has spread about our three day workshop classes, and excitement had grown about the school new build brief and the photography to be displayed. I therefore decided to carry on the brief with the other children in this class. I allowed them to tour the school and take similar photographs and offered a selection of the tuition I had been giving over the last few days. This was great as `I could see the project had been spoken about and everyone was keen to join in and be a part of it. I am also proud to have been a part of this project.
Today (Thursday 20th March 2014) I carried on teaching the three-day workshop with the year 5 school children.
I started by introducing the brief to the class. The children seemed excited by the idea that their work would be displayed in the new building being built; it was great to see such enthusiasm. I explained that the school council had chosen 4 words and 4 quotes that we were to base our work on. This gave the children something to aim for, however at first I think some of the children were confused by the brief. For this reason I gave a presentation of each word, and each quote; including background information about the person who said each quote. I used limited text in my presentation and tried to inspire the children using images and video sourced from the Internet. I have learnt that with this age group videos are an extremely useful resource; the children enjoyed watching them and seemed to work from them effectively.
After the children had grasped an idea of the brief I put them into groups and started a mind mapping exercise. This was useful for the children so that they could see their ideas unfold in front of them, as well as being a resource they can return to. Once I felt the children had gathered enough ideas we selected some of the best behaved children and decided to treat them to using my DSLR. They thoroughly enjoyed this, I was a little nervous about letting them use it, but felt that it would be a shame for them not to have a go. The satisfaction of seeing the children using it and enjoying the feeling of holding a professional camera far out weighed my nerves of risking them breaking it. The rest of the day was taken up with the children getting down to the brief and going around the school to take their own photographs.
Again the mixture of presentation lesson, demonstration and practical meant that the children had a mixed day and didn’t loose interest of concentration throughout. The day was enjoyable for both the children and me. I am thoroughly enjoying teaching at Primary school level.
On my fourth day (Monday 31st March 2014) I was with both years of the National Diploma. Today it was important to see how projects were developing as it is the last week before Easter. Whilst Dom took the students off for one to one tutorials I carried on working my way round the class giving my advice on their projects. It is great to see how their projects are developing and growing. As part of my role I tried to make sure that each student had a plan for the next few weeks that they have off; planned shoots, locations and style ideas etc.
In our break Dom went over the marking criteria again with me, discussing how he gives student feedback. Again he reiterated the importance of illustrating that you have read their projects through thoroughly and show this in the marking. I feel that its necessary to demonstrate with examples how you have marked their work, and what exactly it was that they did that gained them the point on the marking criteria. This is critical so that they can use this feedback in future projects.
I have been asked by Dom to talk to the National Diploma student about University and the projects that I have been working on. I will use my presentation skills that I have developed on at University. This will be a great opportunity to teach students on the ND about the opportunities and projects available at Uni. I have planned a presentation, which can be displayed on the board. I also plan to handround physical books I have created. I will show my blog and talk about how sketchbooks have developed into a creative blog at University. I think this is important to talk to the ND students about as they are deciding at the moment where to go for higher education. I feel I can offer an incite to University, this will help them decide what is right for them. I plan to have question and answer time at the end of my presentation. I hope that this will help with their decisions and knowledge of what to expect from University projects.
On my third day (Tuesday 25th March) we started by spending a few hours going through the marking scheme of a project that the ND students had just finished. This was great to see and discuss with Dom as I have experienced marking schemes as a student but not from the teachers side before. It was a great opportunity to develop my knowledge of how tutors read through sketchbooks, and thoroughly mark against the points in the marking criteria. As a teacher I realise that some marks will be obvious and some will take more careful consideration and deliberation. I helped to look through these sketchbooks and discussed student’s marks, examining the analysis of each student and assessing their work. I found this particularly beneficial, as I will have to develop my marking skills if I want to become a teacher in the future. One key point that I picked up about marking is that it is important to illustrate to the student that you have in fact read their work in detail. It is one thing to say that they have got a certain mark, however it is more beneficial to the student to tell them where was good and where they can improve, as they can then develop on these points in their following projects.
Later I assisted the National Diploma students again in the classroom. This consisted of very similar work from the first few days. The students were all carrying on with their projects. I worked my way round the classroom, checking how the student’s projects were coming along. I entered into further conversation with each student about his or her plans and helped them develop their ideas further. I realized that by asking them questions about their project and talking out loud meant that the student ideas were cemented into their heads, so that they were surer about how to develop on these ideas.
On my second day (Tuesday 25th March) I was assisting the National Diploma students again. The class started with a reminder of how long there was left before the deadline for their Final Major Project. This meant that the students could plan their projects and make sure that they would defiantly have their work ready to exhibition display. I realise this is important to mention as it allows the students to organise their planning, development and photo-shoots, ready for print and the deadline.
Sketchbook work is important in the final major project, I realise that it is key to keep reminding students on what is required e.g. project proposals, research, development, multiple photo-shoots, final piece (exhibition standard) and a conclusion. An example of a HND sketchbook was shown, this was because the student got a high grade. It was discussed and explained that the high grade came from a well-organised sketchbook; including analysis and taking onboard advice from tutors. This is a great way to inspire other students as they then can visualize what level is expected of them.
The few students who had asked for an extension had their presentations today. This was a great way for me to see the level of the students and their knowledge on a contemporary photographer. I have learnt that if students are reluctant to talk about what they know, that questions from the tutor/teacher (me) or other students can relax the student into their presentation. Some students were shy to start, however once on a roll they had a reasonable amount to say. I have picked up on this skill, to access the information from students, by coxing them with questions until they have gained confidence to talk about their knowledge freely and more comfortably.
During the break in the day I had the opportunity to talk to Dom about PGCE’s and teacher training. He told me about the DTTL’s and PTTL’s offered at the college; this is training for teachers at colleges, and not curriculum classes. We also spoke about a past student of his from a few years back who has successfully trained as a teacher and got herself a job in a private school. Originally teaching reception and now teaching photography. This is something that she introduced into the school. This sounds exciting, maybe something I will want to do.