Friday Gem #43 – teacher/student collaborative experimentation

Teaching and learning Gem #43 –  teacher and student collaborative experimentation – promoting student instinct, braveness and wider philosophical questions

Phoebe in the Art Department shares an activity in which students and teacher are all involved in a process of collaboration, making and responding. The activity makes teacher and student part of the same process, a democratising process and one which explores a fundamental philosophical question: what is the role of the artist, teacher and pupil. Who is the artist?

How it works:

  • Phoebe instigated a process of making and responding with the instruction ‘Respond to this piece. You have 5 minutes. When you are finished, give your response and a new canvas to the next person with these instructions’. 
  • Phoebe provided the rules and parameters to stimulate production, yet each individual had the autonomy to intervene, influence and change the ‘chain of making’.
  • Phoebe’s own responses started and finished the process.

Neurodiversity considerations for this activity from Isabelle and Catherine

  • Encourage students to trust their gut instinct – a good explanation is key as you might get nervousness from students who might want to be perfectionists.

Benefits – Phoebe explains that:

  • The students found that the time limit forced them to work without thinking too much about it, allowing them to trust their instincts and be braver than if they had time to plan.
  • This was really beneficial at the start of year 12 where experimentation is vital for their development as artists.
  • It was also rewarding for them to see how their work could inspire each other.
  • Through group collaboration, we are exploring the role of the artist, the role of the teacher and the role of the pupil, raising the question: Who is the artist?
  • I want to repeat this activity in the coming weeks and see how much their work as grown and compare them with their initial responses.