Saturday, 18 February 2012

Teaching Measures

Well, you may have seen that Michael Gove & the new Ofsted chief inspector have changed the grading system for teachers.

It used to be:
  1. Outstanding
  2. Good
  3. Satisfactory
  4. Unsatisfactory (think it said unsatisfactory, although not necessarily important for my point)
Now Satisfactory is Needs Improvement, or something along those lines.

That's all well and good, but it isn't going to do much to make teachers improve. Yeah making them learn or teach the latest IT skills and not the old ways of just microsoft office, ok.

But if they actually wanted to measure the quality/ability of a teachers output would you really just perform 1, yes 1, observation a year (scrap that, 1 in 10 months)? and warn them of the week it will happen.

Maybe its different to the organisations I've worked at, but really, 'I'm coming at some point that week, be ready...'

If you wanted a reflection of the teaching that is taking place, surely you get a few, generate some averages, see how they're tracking, monitoring, developing the confidence of students individually, how they're differentiating.

No, just one, roll out your bells and whistles lesson guys, sure you do that every week. Ok i'm being cynical there, but I doubt that there aren't people who don't do that.

Get some informal walk through's, unannounced, say they will be taking place throughout the year.

Also, I'm a great believer at least from an art and design background/perspective, keeping abreast of the current trends, styles, techniques, artists, disciplines direction, its level of public visibility, the top organisations, the cheapest... is a must. Lets measure how recent/often a teacher actually visits a gallery, museum, workshop, presentation, symposium. Its an absolute necessity, is this recorded? hmm.... nope. Just an option on the feedback sheet for the observer to say... 'good or adequate... application of subject knowledge being shown'. More to the point, so should the observers satisfy credentials of:

Current Cultural Experiences

The most important, again from an art and design perspective, teachers should have to account, prove, measure the level of:

engagement and social/cultural industry recognised/exposure of their current practice (more to the point praxis)/work/theories/research

How can you teach if you don't actually practice your trade, be it pottery, illustration, painting, photography, software programmer... ? Yet, I've seen some teachers don't practice what they teach. They aren't active in the making of new pottery styles, innovative software, eye catching/unique illustration techniques/styles.

One colleague who I discussed this with went as far to say, 'they see their teaching, as their practice'.

Now I appreciate full time teaching positions leave very little time to perform, carry out your own practice (practice in industry, not practice of teaching). But you have holidays, summer, your own time at home, weekends, maybe there should be:

allocated, mandatory time to perform exploring own practice in industry, and showing publicly

Likewise for the observers.

Why aren't we (all teachers/observers) required to attend, exchange in good practice at Art & Design teaching symposium, or whatever subject area? Then bring it home (their own institutions) and show/employ innovative teaching practice/industry practices identified from the symposium in our lessons own practice?

Teaching is so obsessed with retention of students 'bums in seats' I see it as, teachers lessons are overcrowded and it is harder, far more 'tick box' tracking systems (most of which are useful) paper work to fill out, not all to actually help the student learn.

It has turned some teachers to just filling in boxes with generic feedback, they take their innovative passionate spark and realise it outside their teaching job. hmm....

Well, ideas, doubt they'll ever come but at least there is a record of when we suggested it if they do... dont worry, we'll keep trying and no doubt be seen as silly nuisances until we find an organisation, or we start a successful one, that actual work with us and not 'fob' (is this a word... yes, its a verb) us off.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Academic & Vocational

Jonathan Dimbleby chairs a live discussion of news and politics from Wirral, with Andy Burnham, Maria Miller, Tim Farron and Steve Jones.

They are all talking twaddle, all over the place. Ironically, the scientist 'steve jones', is the only one who cuts to part of the truth!

about 31 mins in.

yeah, he is cutting to part of the truth being lets satisfy league tables and there was/is no doubt incentives that increase their league table position with so called 'easier' courses.

but i have to say, with the whole debate between vocational and academic, instead of just dropping vocational course as Gove has done, if they wanted to improve it, and i think someone mentioned it in that talk, why dont they try and blend the two? embed the numeracy, english, IT into the vocational courses, or make it more explicit and assessable that it is in there.

they use maths when planning out a business, comparing prices for equipment, they do maths in engineering (the one that has so drastically been cut apparently).

embed these skills in the vocational courses they want to do. blending the academic with vocational. this maybe a drop in the ocean 'tid bit', but stop with this class divide of get them into uni, or get a job. those in uni end up wanting to get a job at one point. i dont think the league tables make one smidging of difference when someone with a degree ends up in a position they could have got from school or college.

the league tables arent the measure of success, 'look at all these a-c english and maths', how many of them get jobs, an income, at the end of it?

anyhow, yeah. hopefully we can provide this blend of vocational with academic.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Alphabet Popup

Abc3D - video powered by Metacafe

absolutely fantastic. i love the animated S just through paper. its clever that v is then reflected for w and the movement for the x to the y transition is also brilliant.

from here:

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Geometric Type

A brief, though excellent little article, Making
geometric type work

Attempting to apply exactly the same set of
rules to each letter is similar to handing out the same size clothes to a random
selection of adults. Some will have excess baggy sleeves, others will be skin
tight, and some will barely squeeze over their heads.

from here:

loved this from ilovetype

great colours, nice idea

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Hockney Photomontage Program ICE

This great free program lets you automatically composite shots/images, ICE (image composite editor) taken in the hockney style arrangement montage. saves you a lot of time trying to make them in photoshop with 30+ layers.  

its only 3mb, handy little piece if software.

lets you easily save as jpeg, or a higher quality tiff.

found in web user magazine issue 199 pg 40

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