Decolonising the Curriculum

Decolonising the curriculum what does that mean? Decolonising a curriculum is not just about a more expansive reading list to feature text of black Asian minority ethnic subjects and writers.  Although a most substantial start as I have come across researcher Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o who’s book Decolonising the mind lead me to his quote:

Values are the basis the People’s identity, their sense of particularity as members of the human race. Language as culture is the collective memory bank of the people’s experience in history. Thiong’o, Ngũgĩ wa (1986)

Decolonising the curriculum in my opinion is to address these values people’s cultural and racial identities and experience. It is the acceptance to acknowledge respect and apply non-white non-European histories, cultures, arts and humanities has also shaped our globe. This acceptance however takes form in action to physically address and make significant changes. To decolonise in Art and Design also reaches further than the teaching of European white male artists. There is a need to employ the richness of ensuring cultural diversity to bring down the barriers of inequalities. I believe that there is a shift happening. Voices no longer remain in the margins as collectively they have become too loud to be ignored. Now becoming visible.

Decolonising the Arts Curriculum zine is an important and most necessary publication for all students and staff. A collaboration between Hansika Jethnani (students’ union), Lucy Panesar and Rahul Patel (Teaching and Learning exchange, UAL) to invite students staff to make contributions and sharing and rich wealth of experiences explores decolonising arts education. I am happily proud and grateful to be a contributor to this zine sharing hopes for a decolonised arts education.

I was pleased to be invited by Rahul to make a small speach amongst other contributors at the  launch event on Thursday 14th June  at UAL Central Saint Martins. It was an inspiring evening hearing the narratives of the contributors and an honour to share a platform with. The well attendance of this launch signified that positive shift as the dialogue of the evening evidenced the action for change.

The zine can be accessed here:

 

Dispositions and qualities of teaching.

What are my dispositions a teacher?       

Directly, the educator may be a source of inspiration for his own qualities, dispositions or energies.

From this quote from Ron Barnette combines having reflected on conversations within the seminar groups I consider my own qualities and dispositions that I have as the teacher.

My dispositions are that I’m reflective teacher I have enthusiasm for my subject that I like to share. I am prepared to explore areas I may not know to provide fulfilment for the students within teacher learner pedagogy. To engage with all students and harnessed the many talents that they bring to the learning environment. To be encouraging and supportive in respect of their identities and needs providing the students with opportunities to see themselves and their work to collaborate and share. To support the different learning styles students may have heard to ensure that there is an open reciprocal dialogue in the student and myself. To demonstrate courage to try things new with the students therefore to inspire.

Reading Task: Ron Barnett – Dispositions and Qualities

Dispositions and Qualities are needed for students to successfully achieve their aim through study. Dispositions rely on state of mind meaning that the student must have a mental well-being to adopt some of the dispositions such as willingness to learn a lot engage and prepared to listen and explore. In ontological terms is how the student perceives themselves within their studies and their experience within the environment that they are in. These aspects rely on one’s motivation and general interest and open mind.

Barnett suggests that “dispositions and qualities are durable in their nature. “They constitute the students pedagogical being. It is they that must be the focus of teaching in higher education.”
I question this as the durability of dispositions can be affected by the experience of the student within the educational environment and external experiences that may affect their disposition in both positive and negative ways. Therefore, for the teacher to recognise the dispositions and qualities the student may possess that can be harnessed, nurtured and supported.

A student may embark on a course of good intention with the disposition of excitement and eagerness. They may have preparedness to explore and a willingness to hold oneself open to experiences, therefore demonstrate the will to learn and to engage in the subject they have chosen. However, this willingness can also be determined by the student experience in the educational environment that they are in and the relationships relationship with their tutor and their peers.

The qualities I link to UAL’s creative attributes framework as well as areas for inclusive practice then teaching and learning. Is a carefulness to consider the needs of students to make sure that all students are being catered for. From my teaching experience I believe that students can bring their own selves into the subject/project that they can share. A basic example is that students (particularly international students) can share aspects of their country’s culture. Students can be encouraged to have their work informed by their identity.

If for instance the student current disposition is one due to having a concern over their progress of work at things outside of college then this may affect their disposition. Therefore, the qualities can be encouraged to build resilience and courage and openness to share with their tutor or to communicate their feelings and ideas in terms of their progress.

In cohort teaching and learning Seminar groups we discussed the Reading of Ron Barnett. The focus was based on the following quote in the reading:

It may then be suggested that qualities as well as dispositions can be expressed in verbal process. Maybe urged, for example, that the quality of ‘carefulness’ could be expressed as a disposition ‘to take care’. So it could. Similarly, say with the self-discipline which could be expressed as a willingness to exercise self-discipline.

Our interpretation and discussion of this lead to two areas.  The first being that learning and teaching there is an element student should be brave open with the willing to experiment and take risks rather than be too careful. The second was taking into consideration where Barnett suggests ‘A disposition may almost be undone by its qualities. Students the need to be aware and careful of producing work that may lead to harmful and unethical outcomes. This can possibly have derived from characteristics of sense of arrogance through a disposition eagerness and the willingness to explore.

We drew upon practices within our own teaching that we discussed and shared.

I had recognised Barnett’s qualities within my own course where students are encouraged to have the courage to use their voice and to put their own self in their work. They are encouraged to experiment and try new things for example, Theatre Design students develop their resilience in creating their model set designs stop there was a carefulness in their approach to maintain accuracy as the model sets had to be made to scale. When talking to the students about this they disclose their anxieties towards making mistakes in the technicalities around making models. In my tutorials with the students I had suggested that they should record the process of making their model sets and reflect on what they found challenging and why and areas that work well on their reflection sheets. Using the reflection sheets help students to develop a sense of resilience as by writing they were able to identify solutions towards producing their model sets.

The second part of our discussion led to identifying students dispositions and qualities the connections between creative arts framework and inclusive practice.
Integrity carefulness courage and resilience self-discipline outlined in Barnett’s paper were linked to the creative attributes framework. Restraint, respect others and openness I consider to be part of inclusive practice.

 

It is important that teachers recognise this however introduce their own characteristics be fair and inclusive to all students. Teachers will recognise this, and the students will often receive good support.  There is risk of favouritism to students that outwardly show the will to learn there may be some students out with that will have the will preparedness to listen and explore within art and design practice it is necessary to have these dispositions alongside the characteristics of being able to have the courage to take risks. The resilience to take knock backs and self-discipline to be organised these aspects of qualities are linked to the creative attributes framework that is there to guide and support students to prepare them for life and industry experience.

As a teacher we get to learn about the dispositions and the qualities of the students and able to support them with such. Dispositions and qualities are linked to how students attain and make progress.  I think of the interview process where a prerequisite of dispositions is what or how students are judged when the interview process for course and how they are assessed along the way.

Students may have or attain certain qualities through their experience within the education system. Qualities such as courage, resilience, carefulness and self-discipline are developed. Some students may have already come equipped with some of these qualities. Other students need to be supported. Therefore, it is important to bring equity as well as equality within teaching and learning.

 

Two day intervention using an artefact

This lesson is part of the two day intervention where I have applied an artefact to support the delivery and learning f the lesson.

My study on inclusive teaching and learning units has led me to introduce an artefact that consciously promotes teaching and learning. I say consciously because in an ideal world inclusive teaching and learning practice should be within our subconscious behaviour something we do naturally. However, it is recognised that there is not an inclusive curriculum within some courses in some subjects. Follow some course leaders do try, more needs to be done. However, the intervention is not only to address the fact that curricula may be inclusive, but also for me as a reflective and innovative teacher to be aware of and put into practice teaching where I consider everyone. Therefore my awareness of being an inclusive teacher or put into place inclusive practices is a positive start towards making a positive change within our education systems in the UK.

Continue reading “Two day intervention using an artefact”

Micro teach

Object based learning as a good way to engage students with the subject they are learning. By handling an object can engage students with the sensory experiences and connection with the object. My experience in teaching art and design d in particularly with special educational needs students has been profoundly beneficial to introduce objects that the students can handle and document. I have personally found that use of an object within learning and teaching can help the student to remember the learning experience which can assist in future development of their own outcomes.

 

Reading Helen Chatterjee Object-based learning in higher education: The pedagogical power of museums I found text that supports and confirms my findings:

‘object-handling has a long-lasting effect and relationship with memory,
more so than text-based learning often has’ (Romanek and Lynch
2008, p.284).

 In addition to the above quote, object-based learning can actually assist with using text based learning exercises by that I mean the use of objects to help the student access their writing.

The micro teach was really an interesting morning and day of teaching and learning and participating in the lessons of the micro teach everyone had something different to share.

Thing I found beneficial about the micro teach lessons and also interesting what’s that we were in a position of the students participating within the micro teach therefore was able to consider from the other side of being a student. Therefore to consider what they may be going through an experience in within that lesson.

Object based learning in higher education draws on many of the
learning strategies already known to inform students, including
active learning and experiential learning.
Helen Chatterjee, (2015)

 

This was the case within the micro teach where various learning and teaching strategies were brought to the table.

 

It was interesting to see the different teaching styles that was literally brought to the table. I also found interesting the different ways in order to engage students the important thing was to maybe get student starting straight away into action I’ve learnt this from my own teaching experience at secondary that having a starter activity to get into straight away or engaged students. I have started of my micro teach in a similar vein. By having participants start by drawing their lips but deliberately I made with no suggestion of why. This was to come later.

Continue reading “Micro teach”

Teaching and Learning: Dispositions and Qualities – Ron Barnette

[Work in progress]

What are my dispositions a teacher?

My dispositions are that I’m reflective teacher I have enthusiasm for my subject that I like to share. I am prepared to explore areas I may not know to provide fulfilment for the students within teacher learner pedagogy. To engage with all students and harnessed the many talents that they bring to the learning environment. To be encouraging and supportive in respect of their identities and needs providing the students with opportunities to see themselves and their work to collaborate and share. To support the different learning styles students have  to ensure that there is an open reciprocal dialogue between the student and myself. To demonstrate courage to try things new with the students therefore to inspire.


Dispositions and Qualities are needed for students to successfully achieve their aim through study. Dispositions rely on state of mind meaning that the student must have a mental well-being to adopt some of the dispositions such as willingness to learn a lot engage and prepared to listen and explore. In ontological terms is how the student perceives themselves within their studies and their experience within the environment that they are in. These aspects rely on one’s motivation and general interest and open mind.

Barnett suggests that “dispositions and qualities are durable in their nature. “They constitute the students pedagogical being. It is they that must be the focus of teaching in higher education.”
I question this as the durability of dispositions can be affected by the experience of the student within the educational environment and external experiences that may effect their disposition in both positive and negative ways. Therefore, for the teacher to recognise the dispositions and qualities the student may possess that can be harnessed, nurtured and supported.

A student may embark on a course of good intention with the disposition of excitement and eagerness. They may have preparedness to explore and a willingness to hold oneself open to experiences, therefore demonstrate the will to learn and to engage in the subject they have chosen. However, this willingness can also be determined by the student experience in the educational environment that they are in and the relationships relationship with their tutor and their peers.

The qualities I link to UAL’s creative attributes framework as well as areas for inclusive practice then teaching and learning. Is a carefulness to consider the needs of students to make sure that all students are being catered for. It is reported that students can bring their own selves into the subject that they can share. An example of the international students they can share aspects of the country’s culture. Students can be encouraged to have their work informed by their identity.

If for instance the student current disposition is one due to having a concern over their progress of work at things outside of college then this may affect their disposition. Therefore, the qualities can be encouraged to build resilience and courage and openness to share with their tutor or to communicate their feelings and ideas in terms of their progress.

It is important that teachers recognise this however introduce their own character of carefulness to be fair and inclusive to all students. Teachers will recognise this, and the students will often receive good support there is risk of favouritism by students that outwardly show the will to learn stop there may be some students out with that will have the will preparedness to listen and explore within art and design practice it is necessary to have these dispositions alongside the characteristics of being able to have the courage to take risks. The resilience to take knock backs and self-discipline to be organised these aspects of qualities are linked to the creative attributes framework that is there to guide and support students to prepare them for life and industry experience.

I recognise Barnett’s qualities within my own course where students are encouraged to have the courage to use their voice and to put their own self in their work. They are encouraged to experiment and try new things for example Theatre design students develop their resilience in creating their model set designs stop there was a carefulness in their approach to maintain accuracy as the model sets had to be made to scale. When talking to the students about this they disclose their anxieties towards making mistakes in the technicalities around making models. In my tutorials with the students I had encouraged that they should record the process of making their model sets and reflect on what they found challenging and why and areas that work well on their reflection sheets. Using the reflection sheets help students to develop a sense of resilience as by writing they were able to identify solutions towards producing their model sets.

 

Dispositions and qualities are important for how we learn and make progress. It is about our characters and the way we conduct ourselves within our in pedagogical practice. Ron Barnett discusses dispositions and qualities within the student’s willingness to learn. As a teacher we get to learn about the dispositions and the qualities of the students and able to support them with such. Dispositions and qualities are linked to how students attain and make progress. A prerequisite of dispositions is what or how students are judged when the interview process for course and also how they are assessed along the way.

Students may have or attain certain qualities through their experience within the education system. Qualities such as courage, resilience, carefulness and self-discipline are developed. Some students may have already come equipped with some of these qualities. Other students need to be supported.

 

Freire Video Task

The Inclusive Teaching Unit uses, as one of its key theories, critical pedagogy. In preparation for the start of the course we would like you to watch the following 14 minute film on Critical Pedagogy from the Friere Project:

and come to the first session prepared to discuss the following prompt questions:

  • What are the central concerns of critical pedagogy?

Critiacal Pedagogy, I take from the video ‘the study of oppression in education, of how issues of race, gender, class and sexuality religion is shapes what happens in the classroom’. I Identitfy it as what we is taught is used to control thinking and to be taught be the views of those in power. It is a form of dictatorship and conditioning of minds to control one way of thinking. It is a political move to of power to keep people in line, controlled, a form of slavery by promoting only one view in order to keep those that are privileged in power.  Critical Pedagogy aims to break down the oppressive value system that has an impact on people in working class or poor communities.

The concerns are that there is no equal education.

The central concerns to critical pedagogy is that some teachers teach students by rote. By just being told what to do and then students memorising a formula.  This is shown in the video when the high school teacher asks the student of what is a circle and he is answer is so prescribed and memorised. Freire describes this as depository, just placing in the mind of the student one way of thinking with prepared answered by the teacher.

Continue reading “Freire Video Task”

The, Academic Enhancement Model (AEM) Workshop

I attended the Theatre Design Academic Enhancement Model (AEM) course team workshop at CCW Wimbledon College of Arts. The AEM meeting was to address any anxieties of the results of the National Student Survey (NSS) of data that had fallen below the benchmarks surrounding theatre design department. It was to look at the student experience and attainment gaps between Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) and home white students and the attainment gaps between International and home students. This was a good opportunity for me to participate and support, highlighting inclusive teaching within Theatre Design course. There was a concern that inclusive practice in the department would come under scrutiny.

The workshop was revealing. The data from the survey was both enlightening and disturbing. The attainment overview provided a clear graphic to the population of International and BAME and international students. It was disturbing to see highlighted that between 2014 to 2017 that there are no BAME students to have gained a 2:1 or a 1st class honours and have a wider attainment gap compared with International  and EU students.

The summary of student feedback for 2017 had good positive comments with regards to sense of community. The concern was the attainment gap figures. The report (Appendix A) showed that within BA (Hons) Theatre Design there is a -18% attainment gap between Home BAME students, at 67% and Home White students at 84%, -29% attainment gap between International students at 52% and Home students at 80%.

Reviewing the data on I had not been aware of such a big gap and It was glaringly obvious it would have a direct impact of the student experience that effects student attainment. The student experience and how what they are learning relates to them is important. I therefore refer to this: HE providers must recognise they must ensure that all students are included and experience equitable participation within the HE environment. (Wray. M 2013) On of my reasons for being and remaining in education is that I want to ensure that all students receive a fair education with the equal amount of opportunity.

In pairs we reviewed from set questions the learning journey of 3 year from 1st to 3rd year; how subjects taught connect and interconnect and how they were scaffolded. The question raised in the workshop was what learning experience are the students receiving? How is this a direct link to the current curriculum? To answer those questions, the workshop entailed drawing out a curriculum map from the 1st year to the 3rd, looking at the units and what they are learning and the relevance to their cultural experience.

New to the theatre design department I am interested through both the Learning and Teaching and Inclusive Teaching and Learning units to answer this question proposed by Simon Betts Dean of Performance: ‘What is the course’s philosophical position and belief the minute they (the students) arrive on the journey of the course?

I include by asking What is the philosophical underpinning through the course culturally and educationally?

We dissected areas within it to outline what was working and what need to be developed. The issue became clear that the curriculum map that there was more scope for students to bring their own voice of self-identity for opportunities to learn from and about each other. The questions were raised to where students do they recognise themselves and where their work is celebrated.

The desire to introduce an inclusive pedagogy must appear early on because once a student has been through the set process in the curriculum before they can actualise their own identities. It was acknowledged this should not occur too late a stage in the curriculum map.

From the discussions and perspectives that took place various suggestions were highlighted that can happen early on:

  • New diverse writing and contemporary text to appear throughout the course.
    The celebration of what the students can bring.
  • A student focus with care and attention to inclusivity right from the beginning of the course/academic year.
  • Create opportunities to carve a direction of what we stand for in Theatre Design at Wimbledon and how its supported through the pedagogy.
Dashboard filters is useful for refined data research.

The meeting was a good activity to unpick the units of the course and how it can be scaffolded where a more inclusive pedagogy is applied. Through the Inclusive Teaching and Learning Unit, I will use the curriculum map drawn out in this session to plan and apply my intervention towards inclusive practice. I obviously will reflect on this day in my approach to address key points raised in this workshop. I will also continue with my reading and research within my inclusive practice unit and to refer to the data on dashboard. My intervention will be documented in my written report once applied.

 

References:

Wray, M. (2013) Developing an inclusive culture in higher education: final report. York: Higher Education Academy.