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How teaching art can make a difference to school children

The global pandemic has meant that we have all faced challenges this academic year. Parents, students, teachers, including our Post Graduate Art and Design teachers from the Centre for Teacher Education had to be extremely creative, resilient and highly flexible, as teaching has constantly switched from face-to-face to online delivery.

Twenty Secondary Art and Design Trainees who have worked in local schools around our local community are showcasing their work with pupils from placement schools in an online exhibition.

Hear from some of our trainees to find out why they are going into teaching and how they are determined to create the very best learning experiences for their pupils from local schools and some examples of the art work created by pupils in our local community.

Cleanthia Aristodemou

Cleanthia is one of our trainee teachers, teaching Years 7-9 at Coundon Court School.

She said:

"Art education allows students to think and see multi-dimensionally.

"Soaring through the sky to reach your dreams. This is what I'm here for. To inspire, to challenge, to motivate. Art education allows students to think and see multidimensionally to prepare the next generation to have an open mind, and see the world's potential. To empower them, to think as individuals and act as global citizens to enable them to create, experiment, philosophise and learn. This is what occurs within a unique classroom. The arts classroom."

Whilst teaching Year 7 pupils, students explored Renaissance drawing alongside contemporary artist Alex Konahin. Developing their drawing techniques with reference to these, they integrated embossing techniques, creating detailed drawings based upon insects. Demonstrating connections between historic and contemporary approaches to drawing.

For Year 8 pupils, with reference to the work of artist Joel Penkman, students explored a range of relief printing techniques, hand tinting their prints afterwards to accentuate colour. This experimental process was to help encourage risk taking in Art and Design.

At Year 9, the aim was to develop pupil's skills in the use of mixed media. With reference to the work of Elly Smallwood, pupils painted eyes using watercolour before adding stitching techniques to create texture and additional mark making.

Phoebe Boulton

Phoebe is another trainee, teaching Year 7 pupils at Hanley Castle High School and Year 10 at Nunnery Wood High School.

Phoebe said:

"Art allows students to engage visually with the world around them, learn about other people, places and cultures and explore ideas from a diverse range of viewpoints.

"The reason I think teaching art and design in secondary
schools is so important is it allows students to visually
engage with the world around them through the subject's students
can express themselves, take risks, generate ideas and explore their
own interests whilst gaining practical creative skills. It's also an invaluable way in which to learn about other people, places and cultures, and to explore and
analyse ideas from a diverse range of viewpoints.
Phoebe has helped develop student's skills in graphic design, understanding light and shadow in photography and environmental art - exploring geometry, pattern and shape by directly working with the environment.

Katie Greenaway

Katie has been teaching Year 7 and 8 pupils from Crestwood School and Year 9 pupils at Leasowes High - developing skills in working with alternative materials and creating awareness of environmental issues, character design modelling and observation drawing.

With reference to the work of video artist Bill Viola, pupils experimented with scrap materials, constructing jellyfish sculptures before photographing them under poured water in ultra violet light. Pupils also designed and modelled their own three-dimensional character, with reference to the sculptural work of Leslie Levings and comic books. Pupils also worked from direct observation of still life objects, exploring the formal elements of drawing, focussing upon shape, form and tone.

"Art is about self-discovery, building character and personal growth.

"I will strive to ensure that the children I teach will feel valued, respected, accepted and, most importantly, have self belief. And in doing so, I will endeavour to provide them with not only the technical art skills in historical and contextual knowledge required by the curriculum, but also the tools to successfully navigate the world. It's my personal belief that education should extend far beyond the child memorising key information required to pass exams. It is about self discovery, building character and personal growth, and I think that the art classroom is the perfect place to do so."

You can view the full online Art and Design showcase exhibition here.

View the full online Art and Design showcase exhibition here.