4.Reflection… Writing the interview questions.

I developed the questions for this interview by focusing on my aims of the project and the context of information that I hope to get from the participant.

My preliminary aims for this project were to ‘investigate how the institution prepares its staff to teach students with specific learning requirements. I wanted to use the information I gather from this interview to inform my questionnaire to the staff members at UAL which will be used to achieve the second two aims of the project.

This will help the questionnaire writer to determine which questions to ask and the type of language to use in order to carry out the ‘conversation’ with respondents in a way that they will understand and will help them to provide the information that is sought. (Bruce, I. 2008 p.8)

 

The questions I developed came from 6 areas of investigation:

  1. The training that is provided to its staff to support them in teaching disabled students.
  2. The individual support agreement (ISA) To help understand what information teachers are receiving about their students and how it is intended to be used.
  3. The Social Model of Disability and how it relates to the universities policies and training.
  4. The relationship between the disability service and UAL staff
  5. The implications of DSA funding changes on the training of staff.
  6. The future aims and challenges of the disability service at UAL and how the teaching staff could be better supported by the university.

When writing the question, I was aware that I needed to keep them open and without bias or assumption. This was especially apparent with the questions about the social model of disability and the language associated with it. My bias was that I believe it should be more considered within the teaching environment and staff should be encouraged to be aware of it and highlight the preferred language to their students.

Also, when writing the question, I found that I often incorporated two questions in one, after doing the interview I understood how important it is to present one at a time as the interviewee often forgets the second part of the question and only focus on the first.

 

These are my final question for the interview:

I have added orange notes that will help promote me and examples to provide further explanation if needed.

Questions:

  1. What specialist training is given to staff to help them teach students with specific learning requirements? Ask for examples
    Is this training mandatory or optional?
    Are staff required to ‘top-up’ their training, and if so how often? If new legislation is passed are staff automatically informed/trained
  2. What is the purpose of the ISA report and how is it used?
  3. How do you decide how much of the ISA report is relevant and should be disclosed to staff?
  4. In the Social Model of Disability much is written about the preferred language and terminology. What is your view on this within the higher education environment?

These examples I have are taken from ‘Glasgow Centre for Inclusive Learning guide to the language.
Avoid/ offensive                                            Preferred
A person with a disability                         Disabled person

The disabled                                                   Disabled person
Special Needs                                                 Individual needs

  1. How is awareness and understanding of language and terminology around disability promoted to teaching staff? For example, lecturers, technicians, support workers?
  2. How are communication and collaboration built between teaching or technical staff and The Disability Service?
  3. Could more be done to enhance such relationships to provide a consistent teaching experience?
  4. What implications do funding changes have on the disability training provided to teaching and technical staff?
  5. In your view are the teaching and technical staff of UAL adequately equipped to provide an inclusive and supportive environment for all students?
  6. What additional ways could staff be supported by UAL to provide a more inclusive environment for their students?
  7. What are the future aims and challenges of the disability service at UAL?

 

2. ‘Disability Matters’: the role of personal tutors for inclusive teaching and learning. Suanne Gibson.

Suanne starts her essay with a statement that I feel supports my rationale for this project. ‘…tutors need to show a greater understanding and awareness of the lived experiences of undergraduates students with disabilities and use their own knowledge to facilitate inclusive teaching strategies.” (2012 page 61).

I am interested in investigating the impact of the teaching role on their students. This will start by researching how UAL is educating its teachers with the right tool to provide inclusive teaching strategies.

The evidence shown in Suanne’s essay is provided from the student’s experience, she gives examples of methods that could be used to help disabled students feel part of the university environment. She suggest that the use of a personal tutor can give the student a connection to the member of staff that is approachable and they perhaps feel happy to share concerns with and will feel understood. I have witnessed this in practice with the students I support. When a student can express themselves to a teacher without the worry of being misunderstood their self-esteem grows they are likely to gain a higher connection to their work.

I believe by equipping the staff with tools to provide an inclusive environment, all students will benefit. By having a diverse cohort of students they can learn from each other and add to their studio community. ‘…encouraging my students and other to grow, to be empowered by and through each other and make a positive impact upon their communities.’ (2012 p.60)

The table below shows six factors that have been highlighted to be contributing to the exclusion of disabled students in higher education. (2012 p 62)

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For the Love of Learning: Innovations from Outstanding University Teachers. Edited by Tim Bilham 2013 PALGRAVE MACMILLAN, Hampshire.

1. Social Model of Disability. Tom Shakespeare.

Key points and questions on the Social Model of Disability.

The medical model of disability sees the persons medical impairment as the reason for their limited function. The terminology that would be used is ‘people with disabilities’. They are defined in association with having a disability.

The social model of disability offers a distinct difference between impairment and disability. Impairment is the medical reason for a person’s limitation. Whereas disability is the loss or limitation on a person by societies environment and structure.

Tom Shakespeare says “Disability is now defined, not in functional terms, but as
“the disadvantage or restriction of activity caused by a contemporary social organisation which takes little or no account of people who have physical impairments and thus excludes them from participation in the mainstream of social activities.” (op cit)

The role of a disabilities support worker at UAL is to remove the barriers of the university environment and the student’s higher education to provide an inclusive and accessible space to everyone.

UAL’s policy on disability is structured around the social model of disability; they develop policies and practices to promote inclusive environments that achieve The Social Model’s goal of removing barriers for disabled people.

Terminology is said to be a key element to the social model movement and has been used to define and promote The Social Model’s message. Shakespeare stated that ‘it has had an impact on how disabled people see themselves … and to assert their right to equality’.

As a support worker, I was required to attend a DET (Disability Equality Training), which focuses on the barriers and attitudes that disabled people with impairments face. They highlight the` role of the organisation’s such as higher educational university into the removal of those barriers and attitudes. One way this is done it through the importance of ‘acceptable’ language.

Some key terms used in the social model.

– ‘People with visual impairments’ or ‘blind people’
– ‘a person with a hearing impairment’ or ‘a deaf person’ or ‘sign language user’
– ‘disabled person or ‘disabled people’

Does UAL have a unacceptable/ acceptable language for staff members at UAL like this one used at Glasgow’s Centre  for Inclusive Living?

Glasgow Social Model Language
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Shakespeare, Tom. “The Social Model of Disability.” The Disability Studies Reader. Ed. Lennard J. Davis. New York: Routledge, 2010.

UAL Confidentiality Guide: (https://www.arts.ac.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0028/28828/Disability-Service-Confidentiality-Guide-PDF-1.74KB.pdf)

Access Support and Facilities for Disabled Students at UAL: (https://www.arts.ac.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0023/30767/Access-Support-and-Facilities-for-Disabled-Students-at-UAL-PDF-538KB.pdf)

UAL Disability Service website: (https://canvas.arts.ac.uk/sites/working-at-ual/SitePage/45674/disability-and-dyslexia)

 

9. Jennifer Warren – Schooling and Culture V2 issue 1

Jennifer Warren – Inclusive Unit – Schooling and Culture
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4AWjQ3wtyuncDZWdHhaVGp2dkk/view

-As teachers within Higher Education, do you think it is necessary to think about school and FE? What perspective might we gain by doing this?

– I believe it is important to know your student’s background, their identity and the knowledge they have already gained in their previous education. This will allow us as a teacher to not see them as ‘empty vassals to impart our knowledge on’ but to recognise and build off their current education and skills. This relates to Paulo Friere acknowledgment of the Banking Concept. As stated in the publication ‘It is important to think of students not just as students but as colleagues who hold information that is not accessible to adults or professionals.’ The teachings of Friere’s will help us gain a better understanding of our students and in doing so will enable us to help our students reach their full potential.

Are there elements of ‘Schooling and Culture’s’ model of academic publishing/research/teaching that we could use in HE? If so what? And how might we bring this into our practice?

-The first element I liked about this publication was the message of collaboration between the teachers, the students and the publication. The publication does not want to be seen as a definitive all-knowing book, it is about the suggestion of what people have tried and learned through their own practice, to build a community to share knowledge.  I find the aspect of asking ‘us’- both students and teacher to feedback really great as it will allow the publication to build a fair and open discussion about our current education system, that I believe is needed.

– I enjoyed reading the Article called ‘Classroom Do’s and Don’ts for Students and Teachers’. This article is about a workshop run with year 10 students with the aim ‘to collaborate in the making of an artwork’ within a gallery setting. The technique of an ‘unscripted day’ was used to help the students decide on a theme for their collective outcome. I found this technique interesting as it allowed the students to learn about each other in an open and safe environment, and decide on a theme they are interested in without influence from the teachers or creator. This is a technique I have tried to adapt to the students I support. As a practicing artist it is sometimes difficult to not have a creative influence on the students work when helping them to understand their briefs. Using this technique of asking open questions and discussion will help the students discover their own ideas without the influence of others.  This workshop is also a great opportunity to give students a chance to develop ‘from critical thinkers to production action.’

– Below is a zine workshop sample which was given to the year 10 students after they had decided on the theme ‘Rules and Laws’. I liked how the publication has given the reader of the publication the material to use in their own practice. The teachers can experience first-hand how a creative workshop could be used to cover subject much as gender, politic, class, race and history. They also give the teacher the opportunity to feedback to the publication, which will build new information on the current education system.

8. Richard Ward -the NCTJ Teaching Shorthand Good Practice Guide

Richard Ward – Curriculum Design
Based in the recommendations of NCTJ – teaching 1 hour without a break, a group of 20 students as a maximum, and a minimum of 120 hours, and yet the University states that you have to teach 50 students in one class at a time, only have 90 hours to teach the course, and 1.5 hours without a break – how would you manage this.

From reading the NCTJ Teaching Shorthand Good Practice Guide it is evident to me that like most practical skills, you can only truly learn this skill through practice. The NCTJ has outlines that 120 hours is the suggested amount of hours to teach shorthand. Richard has asked the question how would I manage to deliver a class to the NCTJ recommendations within the restraints of the university limitations. My answer is, with difficulty… without changing the structure of the course to smaller classes and more contact hours (which Richard mentioned in class that he has proposed within his elected unit) it would be tricky.  This being said the outline states ‘shorthand cannot be learnt and developed effectively in the classroom alone. It requires lots of practice outside classroom sessions.’ With this in mind and the information I have gained from this resource, I have highlighted the aspects I would enhance on within the current course structure.

Firstly, and possibly this most significant to me is this practice of shorthand outside the classroom. I would encourage students to use shorthand in lectures and everyday life, without the fear of making mistakes. A friend’s child who is reception class recently informed me that her daughter and fellow students are never corrected on their spelling if it is written telephonically. This method is used so that young 4-5-year-old are not discouraged by being told they are incorrect all the time but are allowed the freedom to explore and learn, to enjoy and connect with learning to write. I thought this was a really great lesson for all teacher to acknowledge. Obviously at some point there has to be an element of correction but perhaps if student learning shorthand where encouraged to explore this freedom with the skill at an early stage without complete accuracy they would gain confidence and a better connection to the skill. As someone with no knowledge of shorthand it feels to me like a completely new language and encouraging the student to use shorthand in everyday life without the worries of getting it wrong they are learning to embrace a new way of thinking and build a connection to the skill instead of seeing it as a barrier and test to overcome within their course.

The second point I took from this NCTJ guild was ‘To help retain [the students] interest, the best courses ensure that dictation material used in relation to the students’ work and interests.’ This is a technique I witnessed Richard Ward use in the observation I attended, he dictated to the fashion journalism students an article about Megan Merkle dress. This is an element I would enhance on further. Perhaps by getting the students to bring in an article they have highlighted of interest from another aspect of their studies they will start to make the link to the relevance of this skill to their future. This type of student-led learning can help students to become independent and responsible learners.  Podcasts on fashion designer, art movements and current events that are related to the student’s interest could be an invaluable source of dictation material. (Though I fear they may be spoken too quickly). These are the suggestions I would use to help students in the current course structure to make up for the decreased number of teaching hours suggested to be ‘recommended’.

On the issue of 1.5-hour lessons without a break- I would suggest dividing the lesson into two sections. The first section would focus on a new topic or technique.  In the second section of the class my suggestion would be to move the students around the classroom, by moving the students into smaller groups or even just to a new area of the room, can refresh their attention and help retain focus in a long class. Another technique that could be implicated in the second half of the lesson would be to ask the students what areas they would like to focus on, for example aspects they have struggled with in previous lessons. This could encourage them to start recognising their strength, weaknesses and areas to work on independently.

7. Opportunities and Challenges Refection

 In this session we completed a task which was focused on the opportunities and challenges of different aspects of teaching. In this reflection I have focussed on one-to-one teaching and the critique as these aspects link closely to my current teaching practice.

One-to-one Teaching

Opportunities:
– The ability to build a relationship with the student on an individual level.
– Prepare and adapt teaching methods in accordance with specific learning needs.
– Provide increased contact time for targeted guidance.
– Highlight and re-direct certain issues towards external support.

There are many opportunities that my one-to-one support role provides to the students. One of the most significant is the chance to build a student’s confidence in their work and social interactions, something that they may otherwise be lacking as a result of their impairment. A student I supported experienced anxiety when speaking to his peers about a personal project depicting his disability. By having a one-to-one tutorial with me he was able to gain the feedback he needed to proceed with the project. More importantly he also developed a technique of talking about the project in the third person, a method which enabled him to discuss the project with his peers without feeling anxious. As a result he gained a huge sense of achievement and a boost in confidence.

Challenges
– Lack of diversity in the opinions of feedback.
– Limited opportunity for peer collaboration.
– Feedback hindered by opinion or personality clash.
– Lack of counter arguments or feedback from which to develop.

I have sometimes found it difficult to provide practical support to students to help them achieve their goals whilst simultaneously ensuring they do not feel a loss of ownership. Striking this balance is a particular challenge in scenarios when a lot of the physical work is completed by the support worker.

Critique

Opportunities
– A wide range of feedback from teacher and peers.
– Students gain an understanding of their work through presentation and peer input.
– Develop valuable presentational skills in a safe environment.

Challenges
– A range of differing opinions from peers and teachers could be misleading.
– Outspoken individuals may overshadow more introverted students.
– Anxiety and language barriers can hinder a student in a critique environment.
– Students may not all receive equal time to present and receive feedback.
– Energy levels of teachers and students may drop towards the end of the session, speaking first may be advantageous.

 

I found this task really informative and helpful towards my SiP, within which I intend to take a challenge I encounter within my teaching practice and find present a possible solution. I am particularly interested in investigating the challenges around understanding and providing each individual student with the correct support they need. Key questions such as what if the student doesn’t know what type of support they will need? And How can a teacher find this out? When I have an initial meeting with any new student the challenge is establishing the type of support they will need. In some cases students are forthcoming and have a clear idea of the ‘help’ they require, either because they have had support before or a because the support has been allocated to a specific project. In other scenarios it can take some time to build the relationship and confidence of trust with a student before you can understand how they work and how to support them. In my SiP I hope to find solutions that would be applicable to both situations so I can always quickly and effectively understand my role for each individual student

6. DISPOSITIONS AND QUALITIES

 Notes on Barnett’s: Dispositions and Qualities

– Qualities have to have an action – you have to witness a quality.
–  Disposition is a character inside you – quality is an action of using that disposition.

A disposition may be undone by a bad quality, for example without the qualities of restraint and respect the disposition of inquiry may lead to making claims that are unproven. A disposition requires certain qualities for it to work in a positive way. A bad tutor or an illness may also be factors that make a disposition ineffective. I believe that teachers have a responsibility to encourage and help a student fulfil their potential. Some dispositions can be permanent characteristics, whereas others are constantly evolving and are delicate to influences.

EMPISIEMIC VIRTUES – does the quality or disposition come first?

Qualities and disposition are mutually reinforcing and self-perpetuating – the more you practice a skill that you are good at the more you want to do it and the better you get. Barnett argues that this cycle can become a hindrance which steers one away from other ‘virtues’. To break this circle we can help the student identify why they have an interest and allow them the freedom to explore the area. To discover themselves if they have a disposition for something before teaching them why.

I agree with Barnett’s statement that teachers should be sensitive to student’s dispositions. We should be aware of the way a student might prefer to learn but avoid this completely dictating the way we teach them. What is more important is what we are teaching them.

The teacher has the potential to release a student’s disposition by encouraging them, and showing them faith. I am lucky enough to be able to tailor my encouragement to each student on a one-to-one basis, therefore I can take time to identify a student’s disposition and then teach in a way that allows that disposition to become a quality.

In summary, as basic formula that represents this theory is:
Interest + disposition + quality = a student reaching their potential.

  1. How do you recognise Barnett’s ‘qualities’ in the context of a course you work with?

Teaching my students in a one-to-one format allows me the time to get to know my students individually and focus on the specific qualities they might have. One student I support who is on the autistic spectrum and suffers from mental health issues shows courage every-day he attends university. He has often talked about the anxiety he suffers from the workload, tutorials and university environment. The other strong quality this student has demonstrated is self-discipline. Over the Easter break he worked in the library on his final project every day, as he puts it ‘keeping up with the rest of his year’ even though he has never been ‘behind’.

  1. To what extent do you recognise Barnett’s ‘dispositions’ in your own approach to learning?

The dispositions that applies to my own learning would be the willingness to learn – I have shown this disposition by financially supporting myself through this course. I took the decision to embark on this course out of a desire to become a better teacher to my students. I did so even though it meant returning to an academic situation, something I have always struggled with. This willingness to learn has enabled me to build my confidence as a teacher and highlighted how important it is to continue to learn and improve.

I have suffered from dyslexia all my life but with the disposition of determination I have learnt to persevere and find solutions to the barriers that it may cause. Reading Barnett’s text was a particular challenge to me due to the quality of the scan and the length of the chapter. Completing the assignments required of us can take me a long time but when the content connects to my teaching practice or when I learn something new I am encouraged to keep overcoming the barriers of my dyslexia.

  1. Are UAL’s Creative Attributes more like Barnett’s ‘qualities’? Or his ‘dispositions’?

I believe dispositions and qualities are listed in the Creative Attributes Framework, therefore I believe that a student requires both. As Barnett mentions dispositions need qualities to make them work, just as qualities need dispositions.

For example if ‘Making Things Happen’ or proactivity is a disposition then without the qualities of initiative and passion, this pro-activeness would not succeed in a university or workplace environment. Similarly the ability to demonstrate a unique talent through ‘Storytelling’ is highlighted in the Creative Attributes Framework, however without the disposition of willingness to adapt and a preparedness to listen this quality will be of little benefit to an individual.

Curiosity is listed in the group titled Navigating Change. It is an important quality for any professional or student, but without the willingness to adapt and remain motivated’ this curiosity cannot be developed into a successful outcome. If a student has a curiosity in a specific subject but is unable to remain motivated and focused they are unlikely to research and develop an idea to it’s fullest potential. Or if they have a curiosity in their creative practice but are unwilling to listen to feedback and adapt their approach there is a risk their work will not develop.

Ultimately I do not believe UAL’s creative attributes are more like Barnett’s qualities or dispositions but instead act as evidence that both are just as important as each other. Only when qualities and disposition are combined can a student or professional truly reach their full potential.

  1. How are these attributes taught and/or learned at UAL?

These attributes are taught at UAL through projects based learning, such as workshops, briefs, group projects, deadlines, critiques and tutorials which make up a substantial part of the curriculum. As a support worker I am not directly involved in how these attributes are built into the curriculum but have witnessed and supported the students whilst they learn these skills through the projects and social situations they are in.

The invaluable professional attribute of ‘presentational skill’ is built through to the Tutorial process.

When a student is consistently required to present their work they inevitably build confidence which will translate to the workplace environment. A student might have a strong concept behind their work but if they do not have the skill to present it the work may be misunderstood and not fully appreciated.

  1. How do these ideas connect with the theories you’ve been encountering on your elective unit?

The areas from the Creative Attributes Framework that most strongly link with the Inclusive Teaching Unit are ‘Showcasing abilities and accomplishments with others’ and ‘navigating change’. These attributes promote collaborative skills through openness and acceptance.

The attribute of ‘Curiosity’ (‘the enthusiasm to seek out new perspectives, to create and build on existing knowledge’) is listed in this area of the Framework. In university and the workplace one will encounter people of different opinions, faiths, gender and race. Demonstrating the curiosity to ‘seek out these new perspectives’ and realising the importance of ‘building on their knowledge’ will help develop a more inclusive and diverse environment and way of thinking.

I believe it is important to improve our university environment through the students. The attribute of ‘Connectivity’ (the ability to collaborate with others, create networks and develop and contribute to communities of practice’) emphasises my point that collaboration and group work in the curriculum is a great way to encourage diversity and acceptance within the university environment.

5. Marking Matrix Session Review

  

The images above show A) the incomplete marking matrix from a group of 4 participants in a taught session. It includes coloured squares to represent where our peers think we mark in ‘group discussion (image 1). And B) the marking matrix I developed after the session. (image 2).

I found the session on the marketing matrix very interesting. As a support worker I am not directly involved with the marking of my student’s work but it is a factor I must be aware of when teaching. Students have expressed to me that they find it difficult to understand the process and vocabulary used when marking. When writing our own group matrix’s we wanted it to be clearer, with simpler vocabulary, however we found it difficult to find the necessary words. For example in the phrase ‘excellent understanding of the text and task’ how do you measure excellence? Similarly, the phrase ‘engaged with material’ is used on the current marking matrix but it is difficult to give measure to the action of engagement.

This session did however help me to understand the marking system more. I believe that the students I teach would benefit from an exercise similar to the one we conducted. I would like to implicate this either at the beginning of the second year or during the lead-up to a submission deadline. Doing so could encourage the students to check they had met the marking criteria and to understand where their strength and weaknesses lie.

The benefit of this exercise was evident during the second part of the session when participants had to mark themselves and their peers on group discussion. My peers assessed that my strong points in group discussion are knowledge of the subject discussed and the contribution to the group. For example listening and developing on what other people have said. The points for improvement where presentation skills – offering my knowledge in a clear manner. Learning my strengths and weaknesses in this process was very insightful for me. I believe it could be equally beneficial to students at all levels in developing their understanding of the marking matrix.

Inclusive Teaching and Learning – Blog Task 3 – Race.

Visit the Shades of Noir (SoN) http://shadesofnoir.org.uk/

Shades of Noir is a creative platform that supports and showcases current artists, events and social issues of marginalized groups. It’s aim is to give students, graduates and staff a true representation of art and art history that perhaps our current society and curriculum does not.  By being an open, safe space for it’s users it encourages groups to articulate self-determination and liberate the struggles from oppressive structures both in education and society.’

The site should be considered a resource for all students and staff. It’s content primarily focusses on people of colour, however the articles and topics covered are applicable and educational to all. Teachers and students should be encouraged to use the site as a resource. In doing so they will uncover a diverse and representative range of creative and social influences. As well as acting as an educational tool, the site is also a place of community to BAME students, providing much-needed exposure and representation in the creative industry.

http://education.shadesofnoir.org.uk/case-studies/..

The case studies within the Curriculum section of the site were of particular interest to me. Not only do they offer invaluable first-hand insight into prejudice and racism, but significantly they also provide tangible suggestions as to how such cases can be avoided in the future. Significantly the examples given cover student and staff experience, and therefore offer a comprehensive insight from all perspectives. It is my view that these case studies should be promoted to staff at all levels so they are better informed of the challenges faced by their colleagues and students and be better equipped to support them.

My personal experience of working with a BAME student has taught how it important a sense of community connection is, whether that be race, faith or identity. My student has always excelled when he feels understood by his tutors and peers. When a tutor shows recognition and makes the effort to connect to a project the student feels vindicated and encouraged to continue working. On the contrary I have also seen my student become despondent and demotivated when his tutors have failed to appreciate his work on a cultural level. This is not simply a case of tutors encouraging their student, but more a case of them truly understanding them too. I believe Shades of Noir would provide valuable context to my students work. In turn it could have a positive impact on his work and mentality by providing a source of encouragement and community. I am sure he would learn a great deal from reading the case studies, as indeed I have.

Read Hahn Tapper (2013) ‘A pedagogy of social justice education: social identity, theory and intersectionality’, Pp. 411-
417 (and see diagram on p.426) 

What is social justice education? The article written by Hahn Tapper makes the argument that our universities will fail unless they can manage and reduce social conflict. To do so they must integrate social issues into their curriculum. This fragile situation highlights the disparities in ‘societal opportunities, resources and long-term outcomes among marginalised groups’.

Reading Hahn Tapper’s article on social conflict has introduced me to the series of studies described as ‘Contact Hypothesis’. This theory is said to have been devised by Gorden W. Allport who aimed to break-down social prejudice within education. Allport suggests that if two groups of people of conflicting opinions are encouraged to interact in appropriate conditions it can help to break down prejudice, preconception and resolve the conflict. The ambiguity here is that positive results are dependant on ‘appropriate conditions’ – as teachers how do we make sure the conditions are equal and correct? The Robber Cave experiment explains that intergroup activity and teamwork can greatly improve relations between peers, however if handled incorrectly they can also end up causing more harm than good. This experiment highlights the challenges faced by teachers in ensuring the environment they create is conducive to positive learning experiences.

It is further argued that even if the intergroup activity is successful inside the ‘room’ there is no guarantee it will change things outside. Although I can see this point of view I believe Contact Hypothesis theories should still be encouraged within our teaching. At the very least they will promote self-reflection and be the start of a critical thought process. In best case scenarios this self-reflection may then lead to a change in preconceptions and prejudices later on.

Trapper’s article on social justice education has been very reaffirming to methods that I already employ in my practice. I continue to find Paulo Freire’s The Pedagogy of the Oppressed to be an influence on my work and I am pleased that Trapper’s articles generally support Freire’s theories. Specifically it is the notion that ‘education provides venues for students to achieve freedom’ that I relate to. One of my primary objectives when teaching is for my students to gain a sense of freedom in their work. I try to aid my student to reach their potential despite their disabilities, and I think in many ways this is the ‘freedom’ that Freire describes.

The many artists and discussions on the Shades of Noir platform highlight that identity is an integral part of all student’s and professional’s learning. The same idea is discussed by Freire when he states that a student’s identity needs to be taken into account in all educational settings. I believe it is a teachers responsibility to understand their student’s ‘reality’ and reasons for studying. Our aim is to use a student’s passions and influences to direct their learning, to do so we must properly understand them ourselves first. The use of dialogue is an important element to achieving this goal. Freire explains that teachers must be ‘open to everything in the world’. True dialogue cannot happen if we are closed to contributions from others, in this case our students.

Watch the student film ‘Room of Silence’ from Rhode Island School of Design https://vimeo.com/161259012.

One of many comments that stood out to me was when one student expressed how important it is that tutors and peers do not feel ‘nervous’ when commenting on her work about race. She stated that ‘I need you to say something about this, how am I meant to learn? I could be making the shittiest work about race and no one would tell me…’

We must acknowledge that students of minority groups are being brave to talk about racial incidences and this should be encouraged. Only by creating honest, open discussion can an issue come to the forefront and resolutions be a made. I wonder if perhaps now that this video has been made and the teachers of this faculty have seen these honest discussions there has been a change in their experiences?

As teachers we should support, critique and encourage student’s individual and social identities in their education. If a lack of knowledge leads to a teacher failing to provide a full critique of a student’s work that teacher has two key responsibilities. Firstly they must direct their student to an appropriate colleague for better feedback, and secondly they must rectify the gap in their own knowledge. It is paramount to a student’s development to have access to communities and artists as reference points in contextual study. This is why the Shades of Noir platform and the case studies mentioned above can be so important – not only can it provide education to teachers looking to expand their knowledge but it can also provide reference points to students looking for inspiration.

4. Micro-Teaching Session.

Overview
Object-based learning is an effective way to encourage learners’ curiosity and have fun whilst exploring a new topic. It can also help explain techniques and skills in a way that is more digestible for certain types of students. I have often found short workshops to be an effective way to teach my students. Significantly I believe it demonstrates a way of working that students feel confident continuing on their own. I have observed that a student that has Asperger’s can find it difficult to follow a lot of instructions. Using the types of micro-teach sessions I showed in this workshop can help explain a technique or way of working in a fun and engaging way that encourages them to understand without getting anxious.

Idea
The idea for my micro-teach came from a particular challenge my student has when creating narrative on his Illustration and Visual Media course. His current project is to produce a comic book story about his disability. I have noticed that when producing the storyboards he may inadvertently miss out sections of the narrative. This can mean his work doesn’t flow or make sense without verbal explanation. I wanted to create a micro workshop that will teach students how to illustrate their story clearly storyboarding, a necessary skill when working on narrative based projects.

Learning outcomes
The intention of my micro teach was for my ‘students’ to find engagement in the 3 objects presented to them and use their observational, inspirational and communication skills to produce a spontaneous collaborative narrative.

The Objects
The three objects I decided to use as inspiration were a pair of binoculars, a Nokia 3310 mobile phone and a small architectural model of an Indian Temple. These objects have strong personal memories for me but more importantly they carry a diverse range of themes for the group to draw inspiration from.

The Task
Each ‘student’ receives a sheet of paper divided into 12 squares in the style of a storyboard. For the first 3 minutes everyone uses the top row of squares to draw the beginning of a story inspired by the 3 objects in front of them. They are encouraged to be playful and creative whilst following two rules – firstly the story must be open-ended and secondly they are not allowed to use descriptive words. They must try to use only drawings in their storyboard. After the first three minutes everyone passes their sheet to the person on their right. Informed by what they see on the first row their peer then continues the middle part of the story without talking or asking questions. This will be the test, has each participant drawn their story in a way that clearly communicates to their peers.  The process is repeated for a final time to finish the story. Once the final 3 minutes are up the students reveal the full storyboard and discuss if the original narrative was correctly understood.

Review

The atmosphere is the group was relaxed. To begin with people were tentative of their drawing skills however everyone quickly became relaxed. The fact that the stories were generally quite abstract and fun meant everyone was able to be playful with their contributions. People quickly realized that executing a beautiful drawing was not necessary, the sketches could be as simple possible as long as they clearly communicated an idea. Working in a quick manner meant people were less precious over their work, especially when continuing onto someone else’s narrative. This method of working really helped to promote the skill of collaboration.

I think the workshop could be developed by increasing the timings to allow the participants more scope for detail in their narratives. Inhibiting people from verbally communicating was very interesting and I could sense people wanted to talk, perhaps given more time they would have more confidence in their own interpretations. As a follow up activity participants could be placed in their groups and asked to develop their outcomes. With further group work the outcomes could be evolved into finished storyboards which could then be applied to an animation or comic zine.

Here are some examples of the narratives created in the 1o minute micro teach.