The Marking Matrix

This cohort group exercise was to get to grips with assessment and review how the language format within the assessment criteria is structured.

It is important to mention at this point that this exercise came at the end of a session looking at two readings John Nixon ‘Interpretive Pedagogies for Higher Education’ and Ron Barnett’s chapter on Dispositions and Qualities. Within subsectioned groups we had spoken at length referencing dispositions and qualities mentioned in that chapter to compare them within the context of UALs Creative Attributes Framework. I consider to be an important link towards the current statements in the marking matrix and the assessment and attainment of students

Working in a group of five we looked at the current assessment matrix and discussed how the wording of the band descriptors can be improved. Some we found to be rather dated and not coherent. We were given the task of analysing the band descriptors to state what we thought may be wrong with it in its current form.

What is wrong with these band descriptors? Try to list as many flaws as you can (I’ve started you off):

  1. The difference between the descriptors for D/C, B and A is not always obvious
  2. Some aspects of the standard descriptors won’t apply to all assessed tasks
  3. The descriptors for the F and E grades are… rather unkind
  4. There are areas open for interpretation as well as manipulation of the grade boundaries.
  5. Some of the descriptors a rather vague and require more defined clarification
  6. There is no following order scaffolded descriptors therefore there is a gap between the banding an the matrix itself is inconsistent.   

We discussed the above areas of the descriptors.  Manipulation especially where there is no anonymous (blind) marking. We considered how these descriptors effected students.

Now, use the blank matrix on the next page to write your own band descriptors to peer and self-assess your participation in a group discussion task.

The second part of the task was to create our own descriptors using the following learning outcomes from the discussion task:

  • Analysis
  • Communication & Presentation,
  • Collaborative and/or Independent Professional Working

This was interesting challenging and fun and a good way to combine our thoughts that had also been influenced by our prior reading and discussion. I have thoroughly enjoyed this exercise. I enjoyed their collaborative approach and discussions what I learned from others and what I learned about myself. This was an engaging way to promote clear understanding of the assessment criteria a device which could be used within the classroom with students.




Race 3

The room of silence

The room of silence a personal and emotional place of recognition of the student experiences I only know too well. What black person or person of colour has not been through the similar experiences? A Latino student in the video mentions how she counts the number of students of colour that are in prominently white places. How many black people or person of colour have walked into many higher educational establishments and counted how many black people are occupying those spaces?

There is so much to be said about this video. For each of the student experiences highlighted in the video I could give many accounts to experiences (those that are my own or of other people) influenced my teaching practice. It’s all cliché to use regurgitate words I have heard educational establishments use to promote themselves so many times of being ‘student centred’ if not all students and their needs are considered.  For a start teacher must invest the time to find out about their students and their communities. The importance of respectfully addressing the student by name and making time to find out and share the student interests. A poignant comment from a student describes his treatment of his teacher continuously not bothering to address him by his correct name and the fellow students highlighting the fact.

“How I exist in my space will affect how I perform and will directly affect my grade.”

I identify from watching the video how the students were made to feel invisible and therefore isolated.  This isolation, no representation, mentor or guide that understand the student and supports their need leads to poor attainment and the widening of the gap.

It made me consider in my practice the importance to show care and understanding for all students from the basics of sharing with them their interests. As a black member of staff this is something I have always done as a teacher. I use current topics of interest to engage all students and support learning and to develop good relationships. These students have invested their time, energy and money to not receive a lesser experience!

It is important not to tolerate and form of discrimination and abuse. This video I would show to students and staff to be ground rules set out from the beginning.

In brief here are highlighted issues for me that teachers need to be aware and address in their practice to facilitate their students.

  • Student feedback is important it helps you to find ways to help the student in return.
  • Students from the start should be encouraged to share information ideas about themselves and their interests. This will inform and teach each other as well as the teacher.
  • Take the time to research topics that students are interested in to support, you will learn something.
  • There need to be a wider mentoring program for students to receive guidance and support from

The classroom crit is a place of power and oppression.
The room of silence screams of the ignorance that white teachers, those coming from a place of privilege have no interests, in not finding it necessary to even begin to relate, investigate or understand BAME students. The isolation of the crit, the stripping of ones identity to not talk about artist themes that relate to race, gender, sexuality, disability and faith can mentally and physically castrating thus damaging. Wanting to silence those students who have valuable contributions. Their right to freedom of expression that is not offensive to others denied. Its seen a confrontational, where a student wishes to assert their art with confidence is taken as aggressive or shut down or ignored. This bears similarities to Tappers piece a psychological mind game with subconscious and mindful intent.

I have been in that place where I have produced artwork and presented at a class crit to be denied and classed as too political or not quite fitting the brief. My sister who had gone through the same experience had warned me after I came home feeling deflated from a crit. “The moment you mention the subject of your identity and race it will affect how the teachers treat you and have an on your place on the course and impact on your grade”. She had said that through her own place of pain having decided that after the first year to leave the fashion course and pursue writing instead. This was over thirty years ago and still this classroom conflict continues! Did my sisters comment suggest that to survive higher education a non-white student not reference their own identity? To strip away heritage and culture and belief to thrive and survive in these white spaces within the institution? There seems to be that expectation of refusal to address issues of identity and race for being too uncomfortable. There is no more room to extend the comfort zone. By ignoring the issue doesn’t mean it’s going away.

Important to watch

Decolonising the Institution #2 | Shades of Noir

Related reads

‘Black Faces in White Spaces’: Spotlight on Rhian Spencer

Peekaboo We See You Whiteness


Race – The Robber’s Cave experiment

The psychology around The Robber’s Cave experiment is an interesting one. How would The Robbers Cave experiment work in a classroom setting? Does it already exist as a place of conflict? I say yes. I can compare the concept of this experiment to the Inclusive Teaching and Learning Unit and the Teaching Within program. There is no doubt when some white academics are confronted by the fact that their methods and practices are profoundly Eurocentric. Where alternative methods for inclusive teaching are introduced by BAME staff the reaction is often one of hostility.

The ‘defiance’ black academics pose is a simple one of delivering an inclusive pedagogy. Addressing the lack of diversity within the institution by employing a curriculum, methods of teaching that encourages cultural diversity. Creating spaces that supports all students to receive enhanced learning, deep thinking and a place to become a visible voice.

This is not widely accepted with some academics within the institution. Particularly from those that come from a place of privilege are challenged to think about their own position of having been blinkered and disconnected to issues of social injustice with regards to identities and race.

The resource seen as limited by those who are insecure wishing to retain their position of power In denial to amend those insecurities their hostility creates conflict. You’ve only got to read Inside the Ivory Tower: Narratives of Women of Colour Surviving and Thriving in British academia (10 Nov 2017) to see how it plays out in Higher Education. The key issue here is that are presence resist erasure, therefore the current lack of representation of BAME students and staff is temporary.

Where would the need for cooperation to take place? The result of National Student Surveys Government rule? Or by creating positively structured environments where to have the opportunity to re evaluate relations with one another. (Tapper).  The Inclusive Teaching and Learning Unit, and Shades of Noir are such that positively structured environments for understanding and changing mindsets.

Race -1

Shades of Noir (SoN)

(work in progress)

  • How could you apply the resources to your own teaching practice?
    “how do I apply the resources to my own teaching practice?”.
    Shades for me is a place of comfort to research, catch up on current affairs local and beyond that pushes the marginal line of inequality. SoN is a space for wider knowledge and understanding of topics  the first instance there is a wealth of resources that can be used towards planning lesson and projects to open discussion and awareness to thinking critically on. Reading articles in the Arts, Media and Education sections can support curriculum planning and widen my knowledge and help to keep me abreast of news and current affairs that can be shared with the students and directed to collegues.SoN keeps me updated and informed of events that I can participate in and share with my students and those that I encounter. It’s a news source so the archives are beneficial to referencing. I have been fortunate to have participated in some of the lectures to feed my knowledge and share in debates and discussions. Contributions can be made to where.I tend to use the Terms of reference zines to enhance and support any ideas I have on the themes for teaching. The range of articles is a place that teachers can broaden their knowledge and issues surrounding race, class, gender, faith disability, therefore to gain insight and understanding of their students that assist teaching towards equality and social justice.There is a wealth of activities and events that I can participate and well as my students. If there are things that I need to be more aware of in order to understand and support my students more I tend to use the Terms of reference.

For teaching and learning of my artefact I visited the education section of shades I like also going to the database to explore and see what I can find with regards to my interests and subject areas for my teaching practice.

Diigo Database


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

Most recently students have been researching the theme of marginalised voices through the prism of gender and race. This stemmed from my artefact. I found to have an artefact to base the lesson on a really important and powerful tool for student engagement and for my own lesson planning . It was a good foundation to scaffold learning and critical thinking and awareness.

Students in their groups had discussed mind mapped and shared ideas on who they considered to be marginalised groups. They then narrorowed down to focus on one marginalised group in particular. on uncover

The scaffolding began with students sharing with each other aspects of their identity through discussion based on a drawing tasks of their lips and 5 key words to describe themselves. They were paired with a partner that they would not normally sit with in the social context of friendship groups in the classroom that forced the students to discuss and find out more about their peers. I had direct the students to Shades of Noir for their research on marginalised voices and importantly as a place for them to learn and become involved events.





  •  Can you cite examples? 
You will share your thoughts within your groups and comment and share further resources you use in your own context.I had left students on at the end of the fist day with the word Intersectionality an explained clearly the history of the phrase coined by Kimberley Crenshaw in 1989. In my research for reaching my artefact to BA Theatre Design students I came across some interesting websites that can be a point of reference for students and colleagues.

Here is a really interesting video regarding featuring Dorinda Carter on  Equity and Equality that helped me to understand the article I had read on the same subject.

The consciousness gap in education – an equity imperative | Dorinda Carter Andrews | TEDxLansingED



Inclusive Teaching and Learning: Faith #3

Reflection on Kwame Anthony Appiah,  Reith lecture on Creed

Kwame Anthony Appiah cross all the boundaries and his own life identity and background answers directly to the concepts of Multiculturalism. He is British of mixed parentage, educated in Britain where he and in a same sex marriage. His address was engaging with identifiable humour that highlights the people’s perceptions and stereotypes, by his appearance, accent education and lifestyle.  His grounding within his family history and his in-depth knowledge that he shares I find interesting. The exploration of identity through narratives is thought-provoking. People engage in stories to learn about each other and themselves. Certain scriptures can be viewed as stories open to interpretation and referred to for a set of behaviours and religious traditions. Appiah describes the survival of the scriptures of not just being just a set of rules and instructions of how to live and open to interpretation. Interpretation can create avenues for manipulation in that can lead to discrimination and control. Importantly religion and the practice of faith within religious communities makes progressive changes to adapt and meet the demands of gender and equality. Therefore religion and its faith is a communal practice and way of life.

Meeting with BA Theatre Design

First year BA Theatre design students spent the morning at the Lyric theatre as a reconnaissance trip to explore stages set and backstage. This was for the students to be able to obtain information of the set they will be designing. This was my first meeting with the students. BA course leader has good working relationship with the Lyric Theatre and was able to arrange for designers he or she may have has been commissioned to design worked within the theatre to talk to the students. Students were introduced through the process of what happens backstage and theatre set as well as costume design concepts and how they are created inspired by. This is a good opportunity for students to engage and to be in a position of a designer on a research visit. Therefore they became aware of the process were guided around theatre stage set and behind-the-scenes.

I found this beneficial to the students so that they can see how the stage set functions and its scale are. Students have the technical drawings for the Lyric Theatre in which they will create their theatre design model sets. This teaching and learning session I found to be beneficial to the students as the learning outcome is for them to gain understanding of the space and scale of the theatre that they are designing the set for the drawing specifications to theatre. To obtain information theatre is organised backstage and when a production is in place. In future when students watch a performance will do so with a new knowledge of what goes on behind the scenes to affect what is played out in front of them an example of which they will know how the mechanisms of slide all the lighting Students received Interesting tips and guides when working to a large scale. It is also fortunate for them to see a brief rehearsal take place on stage. It was also good to see the physicality of the theatre stage to explore the space and to see the theatre stage set from the audience perspective.

Structure of the tour of the Lyric was broken down into three areas industry discussion and guidance looking at costume’s design as well as across changes in theatre backstage. Spending time doing the stage you and within the seating area to gain perspective a scale. I would have encouraged the students to photographs and perhaps take an image of the front of the set they can then use within Photoshop to digitally design their future theatre set. The students learned about mechanisms such as lifts, and interesting things goes on behind the scenes that can be used and considered when designing for theatre set. Provide a bit of insight to industry and starts the students to think as designers.