PG Cert: Teaching & Learning

Rachel Davey

28th September 2020
by Rachel Davey

Opportunities, challenges and strategies of different types of teaching

Unfortunately I was unable to make it to this weeks session, to catch up I thought I’d do some reading on the links Lindsay provided on different types of teaching. Below are quotes and sections from the articles.

DISCLAIMER: I feel like I have to say, this ‘dumping’ method is a work round for my dyslexia. Although I’ve read the content I know its going to take longer for it to really settle in, so I put all my findings in here and then I come back to them when writing essays! I might even come back and bulk out the posts themselves. This makes me think of how my students may use their blogs, we ask them to post regularly but I understand it can be a lengthy process – it would be interesting to speak to them about their blogging methodologies and see how they find them the most useful.


Effective Questions for Leading Discussions:


Large Groups

“The 50 Minute lecture is a problematic beast: The awkward child born of administrative convenience and academic habit. It’s a convenient way to transmit large amounts of information to large numbers of students, although not necessarily a more effective one (Bligh 1998). Moreover, the lecture is often a poor method to inspire students or help them engage with the substance of the subject”

“More emphasis needs placing on encouraging students to engage with their notes and act upon the information provided, either individually or in small groups”

“I would strongly recommend discussing with them what you expect them to do in a lecture”

“The introduction serves an important function for the listener; it helps them to orientate themselves to the subject matter from the beginning”

“Students generally view the lecture positively (machemer and Crawford 2007), they tend to like the fact that they get the lecturers expertise mainlined directly into them. This does not necessarily mean that students do very much with lecture notes and often take the quite naive view that simple attending the lecture is going to be enough for learning”

“The need for a greater degree of interaction within lectures”


The summery of ‘Critiquing the Crit’ by Bernadette Blair Director of Academic Development and Quality Assurance at Kingston University:


The learning benefits of a good crit should allow students to:

  • reflect on their own learning in relation to their peers
  • learn from their peers
  • clarify ideas 
  • practise presentation skills
  • develop their critical awareness through evaluation and reflection
  • receive feedback from their tutors and peers
  • test ideas in a supportive environment without the pressures of the ‘real world’

In the list below we offer tried and tested approaches to crit pedagogy.  These ideas have been shared with us by the many respondents and interviewees that have been involved in this project.

Recording learning 

  1. Ensure that students take away from the crit a written record of the dialogue about their work.  This appears to work most effectively when students are invited to scribe for each other.
  2. Students’ evaluatory responses can be developed via a range of carefully organised  introductory exercises. For example, set up crit pairings so students discuss and crit work in pairs before the larger group crit. Alternatively, give all the students post-it notes; ask them to write a comment on each piece of student work, or ask them to indicate whose work is most successful against a range of criteria (for example whose work has the  most imaginative/communicative  documentation). Students should be given a copy of all the feedback at the end of the crit.
  3. Use a range of written prompts to stimulate students’ written response to each other’s work.  In the early stages of the programme of study these prompts will ask very simple questions about the student work.  Later on in the course the questions should reflect a growing level of sophistication and the use of an extended vocabulary. 
  4. Ask students to evaluate their own work in writing before and after the crit.  They can then identify how the feedback has informed their view. 

Managing the Crit space 

  1. Students’ capacity for engagement can be enhanced by effective crit management.  For example, engagement can be enhanced by something as simple as making sure that all students can see the artwork clearly. Equally, engagement can be enhanced by setting up the crit space so that students face each other (and not the studio wall), the resultant increased eye contact can promote dialogue and debate. 
  2. Have the crit ‘audience’ seated in a half circle around the presenting student and their work.  This is a less confrontational scenario for students.  Also if each student presents in the same space then there is less disruption with the group moving around the room.  If work is wall mounted then having smaller groups moving around (see peer crits) and students being given time before the crit to view all the work would engage the whole group.


  1. Discourse is central to the crit.  Students find it helpful when lecturers  explicitly model the types of feedback and dialogue that they hope to inculcate in the students.
  2. Ensure that the language and terminology used is understood by the student group. 

Maintaining student engagement 

  1. It is useful to make sure that the work is responded to thematically.  Thus a student may get his or her own feedback but their work may be referred to in relation to other student work over the course of the crit.  This means that the crit is not simply experienced as a waiting game until it is each student’s turn, after which they  can ‘switch off’.  Thus the lecturer draws out comparisons and contrast between students’ work as a means to promote sustained student engagement. 
  2. If all students’ work is to be critiqued individually, manage the timing of crit so that the work presented and discussed near the end is not rushed or left out.
  3. To vary crit routine it can be useful to ask students to present work which is not their own.  The experience of ‘pitching’ someone else’s work can open up a new experience of evaluative feedback.   This approach can be useful to help to disentangle the person from the work. 
  4. Ask students to write an anonymous reflection on their work and how it has progressed.  Put these in a hat.  A student is asked to pull out a piece of paper from the hat and the group have to decide whose work is being referred to.  This student then takes the next piece of paper out of the hat.  This encourages students to reflect and evaluate on how they articulate their work and ensures all students are continually engaged in the process.
  5. Students can also be divided into small groups of 4-5 and look at the work of each individual in their group.  They discuss the work in relation to the criteria given by the tutor and then feedback to the main group as a whole.
  6. Ask a student to chair the crit.  In this case they take it in turns to become fully responsible for timing and pace. 
  7. Link crit attendance to the learning requirements to ensure good attendance.
  8. Seek out opportunities for interdisciplinary crits which offer students opportunities to present their work to audiences outside of their discipline. 
  9. Make sure the centrality of the crit is signaled at induction.  Explain the purpose of the crit to new students especially those who may not have experienced anything similar due to cultural differences. 
  10. Allow for silence.  This can offer important time for reflection.

8th September 2020
by Rachel Davey

Inclusive Teaching Unit: Extra Reading

During the summer break I spent some time looking at a lot of content from the Inclusive Teaching Unit. Below are a collection of screenshots from articles I found particularly interesting and inspiring. Looking back at them, a lot of them are formatted in a conversational tone; they are honest accounts of life. I am drawn to this type of communication (over dense theory) and take so much from it. 

The Journals can be found here:

Peekaboo We See You: Whiteness

Inclusive Practice: Alchemy – Transformation in Social Justice Teaching

27th July 2020
by Rachel Davey

Love & Belonging in the Educational Realm

“In his introduction to Stefano Harney and Fred Moten’s book The Undercommons, Jack Halberstam (author of The Queer Art of Failure) emphasises that what’s needed isn’t so much recognition and acknowledgement of those on the margins of the dominant systems and structures (although of course that’s not a bad thing to do), but to dismantle existing, oppressive structures and systems that oppress. And it’s impossible, now, to determine what a new world will look like, because we’ll see things completely differently without those structures:

‘What we want after “the break” will be different from what we think we want before the break.’ (p.6)

Whether we’re experiencing the current times as a low ebb—and hopefully a turn of the tide— or the crest of a wave (or lurching between the two), as teachers we’re being called to think fundamentally about education and its purpose amid this uncertainty, and also to respond to the very immediate needs of our students. How can we maintain connections and build a sense of belonging? What connections can be enriched? “

Merging the session on ‘Love and Belonging’ with my initial SIP ideas: 

Dismantling the existing structures surrounding illustration, being influenced by key theories to create a new space for Illustration. This could be in part through workshops with students, exploring the question: What are the potentials for contemporary Illustration? Look

Also thinking about ‘affective peadogogy’, after reading this

Interesting definitions:

“Affective pedagogy is as much about feelings and emotions as it is about learning outcomes. indeed the feelings and emotions are inseparable from the learning outcomes. it is distinguished in the first instance by teacher-student interactions that echo Oakeshott’s depiction of ‘dramatic friendship’”

“‘Dramatic Friendship means relating wholeheartedly to another person ‘who engages the imagination, who excited contemplation, who provokes interest, sympathy, delight and loyalty simply on account of the relationship entered into.’”

“‘Utilitarian friendship in which the relating is based on a calculation by both (or all) sides in the relating about what use they will be for each other.”

Although I want to create something useful, I do not want to enter into a utilitarian friendship.

“This toxic mix of extreme utilitarian education and socio-economic privileging flies in the face of two basic errors at its very core. The first is mistaking information for knowledge. The second is confusing downloading with educating.”

“The imparting of practical knowledge necessarily entails complex emotion as well as intellectual interactions between the teacher and the student”

I want to think about how this can be a project that doesn’t feel so tied up in the neo-liberal university structure, that doesn’t think of students as consumers, but as collaborators.

27th July 2020
by Rachel Davey

An Introduction to the Manifesto for Illustration Pedagogy: A Lexicon for contemporary Illustration Practice, Mireille Fauchon and Rachel Gannon

This text verbalises some of the frustrations I have experienced with Illustration practices, always feeling there was more to illustration that people give credit for. Fauchon and Gannon argue that Illustration is an ‘expanded practice’ and have developed a Manifesto for Illustration Pedagogy:

“We acknowledge the following to be true and unequivocal of contemporary illustration practice 

  • Illustration is not the image, the slogan or a product
  • Illustration cannot exist in isolation
  • Illustration comes full term through participation
  • Illustration thrives on a network of active collaborative relationships
  • Illustration lies dormant, without engagement much like a story told but unheard”

If Illustration is an underdeveloped practice the surely the scope for its future is incredibly exciting?

Jaleen Grove states that “the ability to articulate critical analysis, explicitly in writing as well through imagery to public audiences, will not only establish the illustrator as intellectual but also serve to showcase the agency of the subject”

This relates to my research into ‘practice as research’ and the importance of writing in collaboration with image making, but it makes me think why is the image always secondary? Why is writing intellectual but image making not? 

Perhaps because illustration isn’t always explicit it can be transient and slippery. Sometimes the image isn’t always making a comment, but acts as a question mark. Illustration is conversation rather than statement.

If writing is important how can we better support Illustration students with this practice?

“Too often emphasis of the illustrators work is placed on the finished artefact, stylistic decisions and/or message conveyed. In contrast, much of our time working with students focuses on developing the methods and processes of thinking and doing that will enable an intelligent, thoughtful and articulate body of work to be developed”

Why do we still have end of year degree shows that only showcase the ‘final outcome’?

Illustration still sits somewhere between fine art and graphic design, do we want to relocate? What is the middle ground between creating images for consuming and creating potentially inward looking work? Education? Collaboration?

Could my SIP be redefining Illustration and creating a space/resource where things move, a place where things are in flux? What are the potentials for contemporary Illustration?

Initial thoughts:

  1. Does it matter if people don’t see it?
  2. What resources do people want?
  3. What support do people want? Is the AOI outdated?
  4. Funding for personal projects
  5. Board for collaborations
  6. A place to meet like minded people

I don’t want illustration to be a basic service area, so let’s move it forward together.

27th July 2020
by Rachel Davey

Academic Diary, On Why Higher Education Still Matters by Les Back

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, weaving together policy, theory and experience to give a honest insight into Higher Education. You can tell that Back loves being an educator and a key element here is the power of listening. Although written as his own diary, many voices come through and there is an empathic element to this book. I feel like I highlighted so much of this book, too much to document here! I will be something that I keep popping back to for inspiration and I really want to read ‘The Art of Listening’ next.

10th July 2020
by Rachel Davey

Micro Teach Session

This week is all about the micro teach session and I need to get my thinking cap on. Reading Dr Kirsten Hardie’s paper ‘The power of objects in object based learning OBL’ was really interesting even if it did add to the collection of acronyms i’ll never remember.

Some quotes that stood out to me:

“Design objects can provide unique and effective learning experiences when placed physically in the hands of learners”

“The WOW of an item can create rich, important and fun learning”

“Experiential learning activities for visually orientated learners and visual thinkers”

It got me thinking about how I want to communicate that the action of drawing can heighten observation and visual thinking. I also like the idea of using an object as a starting point which leads to the production of a new object, carrying on the journey of learning.

“Students are encouraged to interpret the objects, interpretation is the process for constructing meaning, interpretation is part of the process of understanding” Hooper-Greenhill 1999

The key thing that stood out to me was

“Active learning that addresses key needs while offering an entertaining experience”

So using this information I started to think about my session, the problem with DOING is that it takes some time. Although my session may be a bit rushed, I think it is important to go with my gut and explore this idea. This activity is especially tricky over the internet but lets see what happens. I am going to have to email my peers as there are some things they need to come prepared with. 

I also wanted to connect this session to some of reading I have been doing on contemporary illustration practices. Mireille Fauchon and Rachel Gannon’s text ‘ An Introduction to the manifesto for illustration pedagogy: a lexicon for contemporary illustration practice’ poses some interesting thoughts which I want to embed in this session.

“Think deep, start small and add water. Depth can take all forms and be manifested through seemingly simple acts”

“Illustration does not have to solve a problem; it can be diagnostic or discursive, prompt questioning, offer analysis, provide explanation or be used as a resource for future reference.”

The images in this post showcase my thinking and working behind the micro teach.

3rd April 2020
by Rachel Davey

Teaching for people who prefer not to teach

Editors notes.

“If everybody dared to be honest with each other all the time, our present school system would collapse very rapidly.’ – The Little Red Schoolbook

The manual you are holding in your hands is incomplete. It does not feature well formulated lesson plans, a history of art education or a step-by-step guide on how to set up your own radical education co-op. It’s a messy collection of ideas: contributions our friends and colleagues sent us, our own learning experiences and rumours we heard.

You might ask yourself who this manual is for, is it for teachers? Is it for students? Is it one relevant for teaching art? The answer is: Yes and no. We don’t know. Probably both. As self-employed artists, we have become used to performing our services anywhere, for anybody who books us. One day we might be doing a happy crafty afternoon in a primary school, the next day a post graduate seminar on exhibition making, the day after were making soup for the reading group we organised. And our methodologies need to work in all of these contexts.

So this manual has come out of the frustration an the joy of never having what our grandmothers would call a ‘permanent position’. It has come out of years of being on-call teachers, trouble shooters, assistants. Working on one year contracts that never get extended. Traveling for 2 days to give a 45 minute lecture. Grading students according to criteria we disagree with.

This manual encourages us to find out what happens if we don’t deliver. if we don’t give students the standard slide show, but instead make them take off their socks and rub their feet with mustard.

We know that spicy feet will not in an instant salvation, but we believe in going outside in using our bodies and not only our brains, in absurd interventions, in silly jokes, in creating atmospheres, in learning in the gap, in destabilising our position, in talking about money.

Miriam Bayerdoerfer

Rosalie Schweiker

26th March 2020
by Rachel Davey

The Art of Noticing & The Empathy Instinct

Two books I that I think could help with my essay, quote drop below:

“Attention is vitality. It connects you with others. It makes you eager. Stay eager” TAON – Susan Sontag

“Saul Bellow coined the phrase ‘first class noticer’ – cultivating the ability to attend to what others overlook. Experiencing ‘enchanting reality’ as a new and fortuitous gift – is crucial to any creative process.” TAON

“Arts and culture, by their very essence, tells us stories about the human condition and help us to understand and live with our fellow citizens. It is a demonstrably powerful and positive force.” TEI

“Compassion is the cultural glue that holds us together as communities” TEI

Personally I believe that empathy and noticing are connected and that both of these elements heighten a persons emotional intelligence. There is much to be said of ‘being in tune’ with other people, especially within teaching and learning.

Skip to toolbar