Post Graduate Certificate in Education

In September 97 I embarked on further study at Bretton Hall College of the University of Leeds completing my PGCE (Post-Graduate Certificate in Education), in Secondary Art & Design teaching in June 1998. Twenty percent of the course involved college based work in the form of lectures, seminars and tutorials. While the major part of the course eighty percent of course was school based teaching placements with subject and professional mentoring.

The college-based elements of the course were organised around a primary specialism of Art & Design, a secondary specialism Design Technology Textiles and Educational and Professional Studies. Within these areas we covered such topics as the role of the Art Teacher; child development; National Curriculum in Art & Design and Design Technology and their respective Programmes of Study and Attainment Targets; Key Stage 3/4 planning & Preparation; Classroom Management; materials; monitoring; assessment; recording; evaluation; differentiated learning; Special Educational Needs; gender/multicultural issues; Personal Social & Health Education; pastoral roles; cross-curricular themes; contextual studies etc.

On my teaching placements I gained experience in both primary and secondary education, from Year 5 to A Level and GNVQ (General National Vocational Qualification). This gave me a broad understanding of the progression made by students across all the Key Stages. In addition, my teaching placements were in a wide variety of school situations. They included Wilthorpe Junior School, Barnsley, a mixed primary of 283 students; Outwood Grange, Wakefield, a mixed 11-18 comprehensive with 6th Form of 2,100 students, where I did my diagnostic secondary placement; and Thornhill High School, Dewsbury, a mixed 11-16 comprehensive of 730 students which had a high multicultural catchment. This placement at Thornhill was full time over five months.

Year 8 Mosaic Project

In both my secondary teaching placements I taught a wide range of schemes of work. At Key Stage 3 these included, colour observational drawing and painting, mono-printing developed around Art-deco design, colour theory through drawing and painting using the Fauves and Pointillism as a starting point, group mosaics based on ancient art, a ceramics project that concentrated on the development of hand-building skills and a Design Technology Textiles scheme designing and making educational toys/cushions for a junior school library on the theme of farm animals. At Key Stage 4 I worked with a range of students on their self directed art work helping them to extend their research and develop individual skills in preparation for their GCSE exams.

You will find a Year 10 scheme of work on this site, which I taught at Thornhill High School. The scheme focuses on observational drawing skills a key target identified by the head of department. As well as visual observation, I also encouraged students to consider tactile observation as a way of helping them to understand form and texture in a more thorough way. These observational skills were primarily developed around charcoal techniques drawing with a putty rubber.

In March 98 Thornhill High School had it's OFSTED (Office for Standards in Education) inspection, my teaching in Art & Design at Key Stage 3 and 4 was described as 'satisfactory or better'. Positive comment was made on my verbal communication with students. My work with Year 10 was particularly well received and Bretton Hall Faculty of Education exhibited a selection as an example of a good and novel approach to developing observational skills in drawing.

I was also assigned to a Year 8 tutor group where I assisted the form teacher. This gave me the opportunity to cover various issues outside the Art & Design and Design Technology Curriculum. Consequently, I have some experience of teaching PSHE. I also had the opportunity to take part in the Art Department's foreign trip. With four other teachers we took twenty- eight Year 9 and 10 students to Barcelona for a week.

Devising ways of making use of the sense of touch in Art and Design teaching for all, is something that interests me greatly. To that end, my PGCE studies in Art and Design have been instrumental, in deepening my understanding of the UK's National Curriculum in Art and Design. Especially, how its Programmes of Study Attainment Targets could be used in modules/schemes of work, to use touch as a primary rather than a subsidiary means of learning in Art & Design, in appropriate instances.

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