Essay: The importance of exploring materials and processes in art and design

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  • The importance of exploring materials and processes in art and design
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The title of this assignment is ‘the importance of exploring materials and processes in art and design’

In this essay I am going to talk about how it is beneficial to explore and utilize different drawing techniques in art and design to ensure students reach full potential and find their visual language. After studying an Art foundation degree and a BA in illustration and Animation at Manchester metropolitan university I have felt first hand the importance of using non traditional drawing methods to help motivate creativity. Promoting experimental drawing techniques FE and HE and the creative arts in general can help students find their own visual dialect.

Focusing on the positive impact of allowing student to expolore various materials and processes while studying art and design will hopefully outline the importance of the current Scheme of learning and hopefully by encorporating more experimental freedom and highlighting the importance of students knowledge on various teqiques and not just traditional tools i.e pencil and paper.

I am setting a task in which my level two art and design dimploma students will use non traditional drawing tools to create. I will then question them to see if this experiement increases enthusiasm and motivation and‬ inventivness. I will look at various students’ reactions to using non traditional materials and ask them to keep a creative diary and note their thoughts and feelings on making art work with tools such as sticks and ink, bleach, their left hand and feet.
By questioning at the beginning of the sessions I am able to instantly identify each individuals strength, I am able recognise learners that are engaged and learners that are apprehensive or less confident in learning a new method to creating art work.
I will begin the sessions with a simple writing task, which then allows the learners to think about the content of what they are making and allows ideas to form before getting started.

I will then look at their response and creative outcomes to visually identify if it has had a great impact on outcomes aswell as questionning students to see if mentally it has had a great impact.
I will look at the students level 2 Art and design dimploma to see if documenting creative moments and analysing previous work has proven benificial and if using non traditional methods such as hands and sticks to paint has been helpful in staying imaganative.

The Scheme of learning for the art and design diploma is split into eight units, the first one being an introduction to materials and processes. My aim is refresh the importance of exploration and see if it benfits in being a underlying continus theme throughout the course and not just in the first couple of units.

For an afternoon, students will be set non traditional drawing task, and then at the end of the day be quieried whether the explorationtion has prompted ideas for their upcoming project/ FMP.

Allowing room for non traditional drawing teqniques may help motivate students ‬and improve confidence.If a positive reaction is given from the students this may highlight the benefits of having regular afternoons spent to enhance creativity and improved learning/outcomes.
This may also show learners who really allowed themselves into an unfamillar creative experience may produce a variety or intresting, unique outcomes.
Also I will also be able to differentiate and support/challenge my students by vary the length or quantity of the tasks set, catering for different abilities and allowing room for guidance.
This short task to allow students to discover their own visual language covers equality and diversity, English, Math’s and Differentiation, hand outs and tasks would be or written in layman’s terms and broken down for easy reading/ different colored paper for students who suffer with dyslexia or a SPLD.

When setting the lessons on exploring material scaffolding will take place and a starter activity will take place for five minuets or so, consisting of a written task asking the learners to write a couple of words down relating to learning new processes. The words can be anything, including thoughts and feelings towards creating or the idea of being completely experimental while making artwork.

While evaluating the curriculum I have to consider how I as a practitioner, my department and my oransieation evaluate, there are many different methods and evalation models, eg; scrivens (2001) formative evaluation model, Tyler (1949) objectives model; Kirkpatricks (1998) ‘four level’ model ~ reaction, learning, transfer, results. The most efficient was to use the model is starting with level four and going in reverse, the four levels represent the fundamentals but it is vital you use the key in the right way.

I bare in mind Kirkpatricks evaluation process as I think using the four levels, eg. Reaction: How students react to the processes they have been taught. Is a good formative way to measure how beneficial the lesson was? Did the student find it useful?
Learn: Then what did the student actually learned from the lesson. Then by using formative assessment as a way to measure how successful the lesson was or a Q&A can provide a quick efficient way to see if the student has found the lesson insightful or learned a new skill.

Behavior: This is then is to see if the students have actually used those new skills they have gained and see if they take them into consideration when creating future art. A good way to recognize this is through 1:1 tutorials where the student’s sketchbooks and portfolio is reviewed and discussed. 1:1 tutorials underline Petty’s statement “When one is learning, one may want to ask questions at any stage during the learning process. It is important to realise that some students are too shy to ask questions in front of their classmates; the teacher needs to give such students the opportunity to ask questions in a one-to-one situation. This opportunity is often best provided during the ‘use’ phase of the learning process, where the teacher usually moves amongst the students, checking and answering individual queries”
Result: Lastly, what did this newly found skill/way of thinking result in, i.e. has creative output improved, has the student been able to express themselves more freely?

When producing good work and seeing good results the students ‭may become more motivated to draw and be creative. In conclusion being experimental with tools and tecniques can allow for better learning outcomes, a more confident student who is finding or has found their creative language and more exciting work. ‬‬‬
In unit three of the SoL students are asked to develop drawing skills to support creative skills in art and design this gives students a chance to be able to use a variety of drawing media, however the student may not feel confident in taking a leap out of traditional methodology, which is why I think it is important to set consistent tasks allowing for experimental drawing outcomes.

The Scheme of learning out comes are as follows:
1. To Know systems of measurement for translating 3D subjects into 2D drawings.
2. Be able to use measurements in observational drawings.
3.Know how to use a range of light sources to affect the appearance and meaning of subjects.
4. Be able to use a variety of drawing media to record the effects of light.

The assessment criteria are:
The student can:
1.1 Identify systems of measurement appropriate to translate observed subjects from 3D into 2D drawings.

2.1 Use systems of measurement in the production of observational drawing in a range of contexts.

2.2Assess the use if measurement in the production of observational drawing in a rage of contexts
3.1 compare and contrast a range of light sources on a variety of subjects
4.1 Use a range of media to record the effects of light and influence appearance and meaning in drawing.
4.2 Assess the use of light it influence appearance and meaning in drawing.

This is unit allows room for freedom in creating in a non typical form, however time needs to be spent teaching and showing the student how to break out of the more traditional way in which they would create, which is why I have decided to look at the importance of exploring different materials.
Also planning sessions and lessons that vary, means learners wont get tired of working within the same way, learners can then challenge their own ideas and other students in a beneficial way, In Creativity in Education journal 2004 Craft highlights Gardeners three things which promote creativity:
Craft (2004)“Reflection: making time to reflect, in a variety of ways. Leveraging: picking out what they are good at and really pushing that. Framing: the spin put on things, which do not work out. Gardener (1997)” states, and Unit three allows for this to happen however with more emphasis on the importance of exploring materials and processes leveraging would take place more frequantly allowing the student to produce better outcomes.

Therefor actively prompting exploring different materials and processes regularly is a great way to help students find their own visual language. Students can broadening their imagination and connect new material found techniques with the things they already know, Students can learn how to communicate through their own unique dialect while they recording and respond to the SoL while ticking boxes.
This can show how documenting and experimenting with what you have learned can prompt the learner to process what they have learned and make connections with newly encouraged processes, it also helps as students in are able to think and reflect on what they have learnt, while discovering their own individuality which is vital when studying a creative subject.
Hopefully this freedom and encouragement in varied different materials and processes will highlight the importance of being experimental.
It is important for the student to learning different ways to approach a creative piece of work. Having questions at the end of each session asking the students what worked, what methods they preferred and taken an interest in allows for growth and differentiation throughout.
“Successful learning, then, happens by a process of personal hypothesis-making. This cognitivist theory of learning is sometimes called ‘constructivist’, because it describes how learners construct their own knowledge. Only when learners have ‘made sense’ of the topic like this will they be able to reason with it to solve problems and to do other useful tasks.”Petty (2009)
By using various resources students can chose what medium they prefer, by allowing student to use multiple materials allows the task to be approached from different perspectives, this also allows me to see if the learners are able to respond to objectives, as once a learner has found their personal visual language it becomes easier for them to respond and make sense of how they have answered a question/researched or simply make a piece of art work.

If the students are pushing or limiting themselves through their choice of materials and I can then suggest alternative methods and thought processes.

Having a variety of creative outcomes and using different mediums can enhance and encourage the student to reflect on their work, look at what worked and especially think about what they find most interesting.
The current scheme of learning allows room to asses the progress and
Brookfield (1995) says that “we think that resistance to learning displayed by students is caused by our own insensitivity or unpreparedeness” I think this statement has some truth to an extent, and have bared this in mind.

Prompting students to find their own unique style an language through being exposed to various drawing tools and proccesses hopefully will make room for varied outcomes, also using different resources means that students can chose what medium they prefer and by allowing student to use multiple materials means the task can be approached from a different perspective and be inventive.

Students getting out of their comfort zone is vital as an art teacher as that is where real progress and ideas are formed. As a teacher, setting tasks to encourage exploration of different art materials means as you can witness if the students are pushing or limiting themselves through their usual choice of medium. This task also allows me to provide my learners with the most supportive and natural way of working .
By encouraging creativity in many different forms and mediums painting/drawing/sculpting allows my learners to achieve in a varied creative and personal way of expressing themselves.

By allowing broadness aswell it means it caters to all students, the final pieces of work produced by learners can be presented in any form, this allows room for self awareness and confidence and allows me to question and see strengths and weaknesses.

The importance of understanding different theories and how different abilities should be bared in mind when setting marking and measuring progress aswell is important and by student outcomes I can see the correct methods that are appropriate for measuring each individuals ability, while respecting the colleges guidelines and keeping in with the Scheme of learning, I will hopefully help build the students confidence as they will feel all aspects of their learning and social and background is taken into consideration and respected.

The current Scheme of learning makes sure all students are making good progress in the lessons by using differentiation, British values, English, maths and safeguarding in each lesson.

Petty, G. (n.d.). Teaching today. 4th ed. U.K, p.34.

BROOKFIELD, S (1995) becoming a critically reflective teacher. San Francisco: Jossey Bass
Petty, G. (n.d.). Teaching today. 4th ed. U.K, p.7.
Craft, A. (2004). Creativity in education. London: Continuum, p.48.

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