MIT Manaiakalani Innovative Teacher's Scholarship 2016

This is something I applied for in 2015 as something to address in imbalance that exists in getting talented, priority learner Art students through into NCEA with as much confidence in the written/analytical strands of the curriculum, as well as handling the visual/technique based strands.

I want to create an online exemplar forum of student work that is live and demonstrates the curriculum at the junior levels as low mid and high. we are moving to reporting to our community along these lines, as a lot of schools already do, and even using NCEA terminology of Achieved, Merit and Excellence within each level. Years' 9 and 10 are my target group at the moment.

Writing and literacy is a major focus for our school and this inquiry I have planned addresses that focus in Art as well as working at making digital learning opportunities ubiquitous and moving critique and self-assessment into the modification and redefinition phase of SAMR (Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition)

Rough Breakdown Of the Visual Arts Curriculum:

PK - Practical knowledge - at ALL curriculum levels this is technique/technical based learning in Art
DI - Developing ideas - likewise all levels, it is about formulating ideas to make your own art works happen and showing thought in doing so.
UC - Understanding Context - that art works are viewed and/or made
CI - Communicating and interpreting about your own and other's art works

The top two do in fact require a very good level of literacy at all levels to generally excel at them, however, you can to a certain extent do really well without this, as thinking can be so very visual too. But I feel it hinders not having that literacy.

The bottom two strands are most easily assessable (but I wonder if that means not necessarily understandable) with good literacy.

The order I have listed these strands is how they were initially released when the Visual Arts curriculum was released in the year 2000. However, when it was revised in 2008, the order was changed to have UC, PK, DI and CI as the order. While that may seem like not terribly important, it was a way of trying to get teachers to focus on making sure students understood the context of what they were studying. Hence making the emphasis a little more important that the students have higher levels of literacy, in order to truly manage the higher levels of the curriculum (NCEA).

Each year, there are students in our classes who are highly skilled visually, but are sitting much lower than you would want, with literacy. It is at every level. There are students who despite this, have been known at achieve University Entrance level in their chosen field of Art and I could rattle off a few dozen names from memory (not doing that on the public web though!). Equally there are just as many who don't make that level and it often appears, or can be explained by literacy levels.

There has been a clearer distinction for me lately - students who have participated in critique, even with low literacy levels, manage to eventually get to the level required, even though their language skills were less evident. Though this is often at the expense of the teacher's time and other teaching opportunities. More frequently, we have good examples of student learning and end achievement in the senior levels from students who not only participated in the group critiques, but also blogged about their work, in their own language, were more likely to succeed. I am not giving numbers here. My numbers are too low to use as statistics with any real integrity. I had 1 photography student at level 3 in 2015. So that is 100% pass rate. Really, that is not a good way to report statistics. My 3 painters gave me stats of 66% merit endorsement, 33% achieved grades and in total, obviously 100% pass rate. So clearly, I am amazing. Or the numbers are just too low to read as statistics. Those stats also don't show the students I lose leading up to level 3, and those the school itself loses before I could even possibly get them into a level 3 class. Again, lies and statistics.

That throws up the other issue that I am using this to also track and hopefully positively impact retention into NCEA courses here at Hornby High School as well as provide a real resource that other teachers can key into, students can access ubiquitously and use at their own pace to measure, target and improve their own learning. They will also be able to take their own work and share it as a valid, real, teaching and learning resource.





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