Art teaching in the UK

GCSE Art display, John Colet School

GCSE Art display circa 2ooo, in my multi-purpose art room, Wendover, Bucks.

I could devote a whole website to teaching but I will try to keep things simple. My mission was to encourage young people to be confident in their abilities and to work well with others. Drawing from observation and using their imagination were two consistent threads in my Art Curriculum. I had the good fortune to work with excellent Art staff in both my long term posts. We shared ideas and skills while developing projects together.

Year 7 and all the youngsters turn up and have to make new friends. They learned how to draw a human head and get the eyes in the right place. Then they practised mixing paint colours using the traditional colour wheel. Meanwhile I got the chance to talk to each child and find out a bit about them. Afterwards they painted their self portraits and designed vibrant and individual backgrounds…

Year 7 Self Portraits

Year 7 Self Portraits

The following project was originally devised by my colleague Jane Woodhams at Tring. It evolves in this way….We drew arounds our hands to make a cardboard template. We placed the template on rolled out clay and cut out the hand shape. We folded the fingers up slightly. We then added an imaginative decorations. The hands were left to dry, then biscuit fired, then glazed with underglaze colours, dipped in transparent glaze and then fired again. Genius!

Year 7 Ceramic hands

Year 7 Ceramic hands

Another project where very little drawing is required… collage!

Year 8 Rainbow Fish

Year 8 Rainbow Fish

Introduction to the work of other artists and artistic movements. Picasso and Cubism; these heads were based on sculptures I saw in the Royal Academy exhibition “Picasso -Painter / Sculptor”.

Year 9 Picasso 3D Heads

Year 9 Picasso 3D Heads

Developing a sense of self and adding fun to portraiture…

GCSE Character Self-Portraits

GCSE Character Self-Portraits

Art from other times and other cultures. The inspiration for this was a trip my parents made to Australia. They brought back a fascinating catalogue of Aboriginal art. To my knowledge the project that my colleagues and I devised was quite ground-breaking in the Hertfordshire / London art scene! The Hayward Gallery showed ” Aratjara, The Art of the First Australians” around the same time, in 1993.

Aboriginal Collaborative Drawing - pastel

Aboriginal Collaborative Drawing – pastel

GCSE Aboriginal Project - Batik

GCSE Aboriginal Project – Batik

GCSE Aboriginal Project - Ceramics

GCSE Aboriginal Project – Earthenware bowls with clay slip decoration

By the age of 16 many of the students are able to direct their own work while absorbing the influences of other cultures and artists…

GCSE coursework

GCSE student’s coursework

Encouraging self-expression in students who may choose Art as a future career. The work is underpinned by a solid understanding of proportion, perspective and techniques.

A-Level student

A-Level student’s coursework, Tring School.

In Art, as in life, one never stops learning. During my time as an Art teacher I learned as much as I taught! So, I would like to say a huge thank you to all the students, colleagues and parents who made this challenging part of my life so enjoyable.

Meet the Author

Susan

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