Teaching and Learning: Seminar One

This is to be our first seminar that reflected on the readings of both Monica Vilhauer’s Gadamer’s ‘Ethics of Play’ and Ian Munday.

I find it interesting to see how these philosophies came into effect through this seminar. The first being section 1 further into Gadamer’s notion of  notion of play.

Section 1

The first session started by having two sets of games. One was again using string where each participant would pass on a piece of string having answered the question as to form a physical and visual network of conversation between the group. I was involved with the cardplaying group where each turn of the playing card would have to answer a question posed by our peer in the group. The theme was based around Gadamer’s play and game. Interesting conversations arose from this active learning through game playing exercise. I felt quite satisfied having recognised understood this section based on my prior reading. This was really an engaging task which I consider to use within teaching and learning practice either as a lesson starter or introductory to a new project brief.

 

Section Two of Seminar1

this session to explore the issue of the student experience through the assessment and ranking of universities referring to the National student survey (NSS) and the Teaching Excellence Framework. It was interesting to see the historical and political aspects of that frames current issues of university status through such metrics.

Lindsey had explained in the session…Before, when students paid for their fees money would come directly from the government and that was differentiated in allocation of money according to subject. Arts and humanities courses were affordable to teach as they could access books from the library and so on. Science is a bit more expensive to teach and Creative Arts was even more as their expenses on spaces and resources materials et cetera. Then eventually the fee was introduced where students would pay thousand pounds for the course then it rose to £3000 and now it’s where it is today. This now has an effect on education sectors within the creative arts such as UAL that are heavily reliant on space and resources and require more funding. Special Institution Funding had been applied in the past and not knowing what the current state of play of receiving such funding is today.

Students are now officially considered as consumers of investing in their education and since 2014 covered by the consumer protection act. The focus on student satisfaction comes into play when shifting from private good to public good. Systems of measurement were introduced to ensure that students are making informed choices for courses the choosing however seen as essentially buying. This whole thing becomes quite political as a use of league tables suggest that students will use them to do the shopping of institutions they wish to be in. The suggestion then is that students will use the tables to determine which institutions they like to study in terms of ranking and categories that supports learning experience.

For University with a good classification of silver or gold obviously affects its overall national and international status. This date is also aligns itself with being forward thinking effective innovators in higher prospects of further funding.

So with the university ranking systems and classifications of gold silver and bronze the NSS becomes more important. Therefore, the pressures on institutions and eventually rolled down to teachers that there is a positive outcome from the NSS survey.

Ranking 2017

I am considering how this falls into Gabriel Marcel’s philosophy of being and having. What does it mean in terms of university status of being ranked gold or having such ranking status?

During the session we discussed issues of teachers encouraging and, in some cases, enforcing that students participate in the survey. However, you find that students who have a strong commentary on experience will use the NSS survey to express their feelings.

There is also a survey of recent graduates that I had received six months ago have been completed my MA fine art digital. The survey was to gauge what I was doing as postgraduate as well as to look at my cultural background race and gender and age.

Section 3
Values and Knowledge of our teaching practice

Last year the teaching excellence framework metric was introduced this was a new metric designed to measure the excellence of teaching. Within the session we worked collaboratively looking at aspects of good teaching and learning categorised within the teaching excellence framework.

We discussed our thoughts and feelings about what values are needed and wrote them down to later be shared with the rest of the group. I really enjoyed this part of the session using the TEF frame work as with our discussions.

Inclusive Teaching and Learning at Higher Education: GENDER #3

Pay it No Mind- The life and times of Marsha P. Johnson:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjN9W2KstqE

The life and times of Marsha P Johnson seem to summarize the subject of patriarchy and its damaging effect. Watching the film I discovered how positive, tenacious and determined Marsha P Johnson was despite physical and psychological abuse. During a heightened time civil rights movement Johnson intersected boundaries of race, sex, class and religion. Such historical characters as Marsha P Johnson through their lives of discrimination, abuse and struggle paved the way for those that are marginalised by the acts of prejudice derived from the acts of patriarchy. How tough it would have been for a black transgender to be so vocal (visually and verbally) during that turbulent time of the late 60’s and 70’s? The film reveals the hostility, torture and the effects it had on Johnson’s well-being and mental health. But then the interview showed the mental strength, awareness and insight Johnson had to be such a pioneering activist by nature. Her performance and poetry was inspiring. Watching the film, I made ‘coincidental’ connections to Marsha P Johnson in my review of the supporting trans students UAL website and selection of artist Andrea Bowers.  Beforehand, I was unaware Johnson, a black advocate for gay rights and social justice for street dwellers and teenage runaways that she mentored.  Neither the fact that Johnson was a co-founder of Street Transgender Action Revolutionaries (STAR), was depicted by Andy Warhol artwork and had such powerful prominence to be sadly taken away by her tragic death. Questions that surrounds her death has been highlighted by gay rights activists as the violence against transgender women.

Inclusive Teaching and Learning at Higher Education: GENDER #2

Reading of Bell Hooks, (2013) ‘Understanding Patriarchy’ 
http://imaginenoborders.org/pdf/zines/UnderstandingPatriarchy.pdf 


Understanding Patriarchy was an insightful read. In reading, I made connections to instances exampled from either Hooks personal stories, thoughts or explanations. In some cases, I had felt like saying snap! Like going through a split deck of cards face down placing each familiar characteristics of the card face layered on top of the other (however) in no particular (hierarchal) order where there’s the reveal of the recognisable matching suit.
In reading I can identify areas where to use the phrase of Terrance Real ‘Physiological Patriarchy’ is carried out.

An important thing that I have learnt from the text is the power patriarchy has on the social psychological conditioning to create a collective mindset of people’s behaviours. These learnt behaviours can be subtle as it’s established in in everyday culture. Hook quotes “The psychological terrorism and violence,” that maintains learnt behaviours because the fear of acting against the conditioning of patriarchy may lead to negative consequences. As Hook mentions that this patriarchy is reinforced by religion, home, schools. Areas we people are taught fear of retribution. There’s also the media; magazines, film, drama, television, advertising, computer games, social media can be tools to amplify areas of defined gender roles, violence and a woman’s and a man’s place.

The retelling was necessary to reinforce both the message and the remembered state of absolute powerless. Could it be the retelling of these stories in the media are absorbed into the psyche? By submission, engaging in such media that promotes, violence and dominance takes away our own power?

Patriarchy is a subject I believe we are all too familiar with. As a word relatively new to my vocabulary, however, reading Bell Hooks essay made me think more directly about the unconscious behaviours and attitudes that play out in everyday social activities. Reading her story I couldn’t help reflecting on my own in terms of the prescribed set of rules of how girls and boys should be. I grew up labelled a ‘Tom Boy’ as my interests were in perceived boys stuff, my interest was in racing cars and computer games. I was included in on boy’s games at playtime because of my athletic physique, I could fight and ran faster than many of them. But then looking back makes me think of what laws of patriarchy I was subconsciously conforming to, in my objection to following set scripts, of how a girl should be?

My experience working in Graphic Design, where twenty years ago this industry was heavily male-dominated. Decades prior, Graphic Design was considered as a man’s profession. Working in an environment amongst men it was important to have a voice when I came up against any acts of Patriarchy. That voice was not to necessarily shout out loud either but to take a simple action in protest.

Hook describes the courageous voices of visionary feminists that as were astute to replace the words sexism and male chauvinism for patriarchy. Patriarchy in its effectiveness is multi-layered and multifaceted that surround us in many social contexts.

One of those layers is understood through reading Hooks description of certain feminists caught up in upholding their part in a patriarchy by solely blaming men and for the oppression though sexism in as hooks describes ‘their own lust for power’. Yet another side to this is the complacent attitudes to be passive and allow patriarchy to take place as exampled by Hooks story about her mother.

Then there are layers to which the fact of how men are equally affected and suffer the pain of patriarchy. Importantly how this system impairs their mental health and well-being. Also how the brutality of patriarchy affects males to imitate such behaviours. Hooks highlights the emotional pain patriarchy has on men that are echoed and exampled on ‘caygin’ blogsite. The theory is that boys are brought up to develop certain characteristics.  Characteristics that are pushed by society in the pressure to conform.https://caygin.wordpress.com/chapters-3/emotional-shut-down

As a mother of a daughter and son, I can relate to Terrance Real and Bell Hooks on the accounts of giving my children the space to be. Mindful to try and have balance. Household chores are not gender specific there are jobs to be done together for a cleaner, (physically and mentally) sound environment.

In teaching, similarly, it is important to have balance, collaboration and a sound environment. Students, will have already a defined and determined set of ways, influenced by patriarchal factors that they have been either indoctrinated or exposed to. Therefore as a teacher to provide a comfortable space to allow students the openness examine this and the freedom to be.

Hook’s final words is that ‘We must all change’. Change can only come about by not being silent.

‘This silence promotes denial’

‘A great majority of individuals enforce an unspoken rules in culture that is maintained’.

We have seen this actioned out in the media from Saville to Weinstein. People who were silent are now speaking out. When silence is broken only then change can begin to happen. In the practice of teaching, how do we react to and address any unjust behaviours being done onto others or ourselves?

Hooks I believe, deliberately offers no suggestion of how we must all change. This essay is to provoke thought, possibly to make us more aware of and question our own selves. A personal reflection on our current roles, upbringing and past experience shared to realise the commonalities that affect us all.

Are there areas of our own experiences recognisable in the game of cards that can inform us to how we can dismantle the rules of patriarchy?

Maybe. As with self-awareness, we can begin to make a change.

https://organizingchange.org/patriarchy-persists-can-change/

 

Some further questions:
What effective strategies can be used to address patriarchal learned behaviours?
Who defines the rules of these prescribed gender roles to be unlearnt?

Inclusive Teaching and Learning at Higher Education: GENDER #1

Gender Diversity at UAL website http://supportingtransstudents.myblog.arts.ac.uk/

How could you apply the resources to your own teaching practice?
Initially, I thought there was not much immediate information on how to support transgender students on this web resource page. The information is directed elsewhere to either a designated member of staff to press further enquiries or a website to outside agency that offer training in this area. Other than a list of Gender Neutral toilets the rest seems to be left up to one’s own initiative to seek guidance and training in this area and to conduct one’s own research to support their students. However, spending time going through the website and particularly ‘Understanding gender diversity’ on the site there are useful articles and links to be passed on to students.

With the insight and awareness to consider people’s feelings. Mindful of how students are addressed and address each other in order to promote an environment where students are at ease. Also, the security for students to voice their thoughts and feelings.

Therefore from the beginning (the induction), I would make students aware that there is no place for prejudice and discrimination of any kind. The video ‘Things Not To Say To A Trans Person’ is a very helpful introduction to address this issue.

Practical ways are to use the links and the information on the site to support and direct students. As a teacher, member of staff, ensure that students are aware of the facilities and support that is available to them and not to single anyone out. To be open approachable and empathic, that students feel reassured to discuss personal matters in confidence. Essentially to address and treat all equally.

The resources can be used as research tools to help plan activities that generate open discussion.  Some of the articles, videos and links provided online would be a good introduction to a project that addresses these issues. So going back to my initial thoughts it’s a case of developing an initiative to seek to understand through one’s own research.

How could you integrate the research/work your students do on this subject into your teaching/professional practice? 


By having discussion, communication and reference.
Visual art is a platform for communication that imparts information and message that can read universally. Where possible I  utilise acquired skills in my art and graphic design practice. Use elements of visual communication to provide a space for storytelling, conversation, poetry. The research work students do would be through observations and analysis of the world around them. Respond to current affairs and the work of relevant artists. Invite someone to provide a workshop or talk that relates to their personal experience of being Transgender.

https://issuu.com/shadesofnoir/docs/shades_of_noir_identity__disruption

http://www.somarts.org/thirdmuslim/

THE THIRD MUSLIM, JANUARY 25–FEBRUARY 22, 2018
: 14 artists create a platform for visibility and an archive of resistance within queer, trans* and gender non-conforming Muslim communities.

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2018/jan/22/lgbt-muslims-san-francisco-art

The above links can be good reference points for observational study and analysis.

Can you cite examples? 
You will share your thoughts within your groups and comment and share further resources you use in your own context.

Andrea Bowers
https://creators.vice.com/en_au/article/53w4da/andrea-bowers-trans-activist-art-exhibit

Could be a starting point for a topical project. A portrait springs to mind but not necessarily figurative.

Other thoughts brainstorming ideas
Perhaps as an Introduction/ icebreakers starter project, to have students could make something collaboratively.

A study of everyday household objects that have suggested gender roles and attributes but change its features.
Build a flat pack chest of draws, dressing table with mirror. what would go in it? How would it be decorated – a form of a portrait?
Design a universal toilet Lid or no lid. Low or high (refer to Duchamp in term of change and public perception).
Designs on toilet paper

Learning through creative play. Association of familiar, objects, colours (pink Blue, Black and white) and words. Use of language and words and the effect of its repetition.

Reading Response and Discussion Group

My initial response to the three texts, therefore this is a work in progress as I take some time to digest, reflect, compare and contrast and write the three before I consider any sort of conclusion if there are any.

  • Universities and their Function – Whitehead, A.N. 1929.
  • A Learning Model for the Future – Aoun, J. 2017.
  • Kant’s Ideal of the University as a Model for World Peace – Palmquist, S. 2004.

Universities and their function.
The first thing that strikes me is that the text was very male centred. Yes, I am aware that this text had been written back in 1929 when times were supposed to be different.  However, this was almost a decade after women in the US were given the right to vote. A hundred years today in the UK where some, not all women received that right.

Captured by the words of ‘It enables men to construct an intellectual vision of a new world’ my imagination spanned to being around during a time where like ships universities were described by Whitehead as ‘She’. Where would I (a woman, a black woman a British citizen with a link to an imperial past) be placed in the vessel of learning for ‘the imaginative acquisition of knowledge’?

I agree with Whiteheads notion for universities and their function is that they should be a place for imagination. Imagination is needed for creativity.
Thus this nurture and cultivation of imagination breed a zest for life through ambitious conquests.
‘The task of a university is to weld together imagination and experience.’

We learn by doing. Our experiences can be fuelled by our thoughts; ideas and imagination that projects our outcomes. In my teaching, I like to plan projects, lessons and workshops that provide positive learning experiences that both challenge and encourage students to use their imagination. Students should feel comfortable and safe in the freedom to do so. Isn’t that the nature of an Art and Design brief anyway? Should be, but not always the case when I think back to prescriptive art and design lessons and outcomes I have observed during my in some educational establishments I have once taught.  I suppose the mission in today’s society would be to facilitate some of Whitehead’s ideas of imagination and learning, where not only are there minds diverse in opinion along with a selection of diverse equipment at hand but also to be inclusive to educate and meet the needs of a diverse range of students.

‘Imagination is not to be divorced of facts: it is a way of illuminating facts.’

To facilitate some of Whitehead’s ideals of imagination and learning, in today’s society, would need to also consider there are minds diverse in opinion along with a diverse range of prior experiences and needs. 

Opportunities are then to be made for experiences to be shared confidently. 

This leads me to Aoun’s,
A Learning Model for the Future. In Higher education in the age of artificial intelligence.

By immersing students in diversity and celebrating its lessons, we enrich their minds, broaden their thinking and build their valuable human literacy.

In a world where computer technology can bring people further away closer together and people closer together further apart human literacy is the where we all need to start. Human literacy is not new at Aoun suggests but a transition. As technology advances, we learn to adapt and evolve with it. It’s something humans have always done to address the changes in climate. In terms of education, the space of a classroom no longer exists within four walls. Yes, I agree the importance of diversity and inclusive teaching practice is essential for all to reach their full potential.

I think of how schools and universities operate now with the use of online learning platforms such as  Moodle and Fronter,  Show My Homework for schools. Tools to support learning. There is the digital maker space at Camberwell and Chelsea that is a hub of activity embedding data and human literacy. However reading in earlier part of the chapter and making note of the comment and paraphrase that access to platforms and equipment, this can be sometimes restricted to privileged groups. For example, not everybody comes from a place of privilege where they have access to devices, internet and consoles available to them at home and educational establishments. In terms of computers as this can also be extended to household equipment, homeware and accessories etc. Thinking back to Whitehead’s Books are cheap can also come from a point of privilege. Books and computers are not cheap in today’s currency.

Something to bear in mind. Not all of my students at the school had access to Fronter, Show My Home Work so homework club was set up at school. Year 9 (13-14 year old) students in a girl’s school I taught had no Information Technology on the curriculum despite having to choose the GCSE options that year. Where some schools particularly in those that have Academy status and adequate funding that can be linked to ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted grading; IT takes precedence in their curriculum. This migrates down to primary and even infant schools where children are being taught coding such as Scratch and Python. None the less, impressive as this may sound there still is a case for how creatively and imaginatively these are applied to engage all learning styles, abilities and educational needs.

My experience within Art Education in secondary school is that the cultivation of creativity liking to the Amazon rainforest is being cut away. The introduction of English Baccalaureate and STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths).  In the case of STEM some schools still struggle with the creative aspect of technology and few apply STEAM (Science Technology Engineering, Art and Maths). Divergent thinking comes to mind when I think of STEM. Students need to be encouraged to think more laterally. For sustainability of art education in schools, STEAM needs to be employed for more dynamic and divergent thinking.

I mention schools as it is an important trajectory towards Higher Education. Universities cater for all ages, genders, backgrounds etc. Being inclusive has to consider prior learning, experience and exposure to the understanding of technologies. The experience provided by schools particularly in the UK can aid the progression and transition to Higher Education and beyond. Outside agencies such as Genetic Moo also helps to facilitate learning for the young.

The earlier part of the chapter suggests the importance to be prepared or rather prepare the young digital natives of our society to be more literate in technology and data.

Indeed it’s both beneficial an important to have an understanding of the mechanics of the machines we use. But what for the digital immigrants who were either not born into the world instant of technology or not have been able to keep up with it? I know a fair amount of educators not familiar with the language of new technical literacies proposed. They will need to keep up to speed to lower their guard on the fear of technologies and instead builds on their confidence.

This chapter jumps around a bit with discussions of coding and technology that was broken down into different components of The New Literacies. Therefore so have my responses.  The chapter raised many thoughts on educational practices regarding code and technology. I think how this is applied in art and design practice. Where technology is not simply using a computer. Some of these raised questions in my mind to what technological stance was Aoun was taking.