Pippa Joiner is the Project Coordinator for the DesignLab project at the Victoria & Albert Museum.
Here she discusses how she is recruiting schools from the Charity’s beneficial area to participate in the project and sign up to sessions - and the challenges she is facing.
Eleventh Blog entry – March / April 2013
There has been lots of activity at the V&A that has engaged both teachers and students so far this year!
There have been three CPD events since my last blog. These started with a ‘design inspiration tour’ where teachers learnt how the V&A collections have inspired designers working with the schools programme and how they are used as resources within workshops. Feedback included comments such as ‘It’s lovely to see that contemporary designers are showing students how to draw on inspiration from the collection’ and ‘I liked the huge amount of ideas and inspiration for a range of subjects’.In the jewellery CPD event teachers made wire sculptures of objects in the V&A and then made jewellery based on the shadows these create. This gave teachers lots of ideas to take into the classroom as the following comment from one teacher shows: 'It challenged me to think outside of the box about designing within DT'.The fashion CPD event looked at the relationship between armour and fashion. Teachers took creative inspiration for designs from the Medieval and Renaissance galleries and worked directly on mannequins to produce a range of fantastic designs.
The CPD events have been very successful, yet there are also some challenges. A high number of teachers book places, yet there is also a high drop out rate. So far, out of the six CPD events offered this year, 59% of teachers who booked did not attend. A significant factor in this ‘no show’ rate could relate to the events being offered free of charge. I have developed the strategy of booking a number of extra places beyond capacity to allow for the drop-out rate, which has worked well so far.This year we are developing our research into the outcomes of the project through conducting focus groups with teachers and students. The teacher sessions will be co-delivered by a member of the V&A’s Visitor Research team. We will be conducting two student sessions at schools during the spring term. The first visit will be on the 22nd April and we will spend 15 minutes gaining feedback from students and hearing their thoughts on the programme. A teacher focus group will also be held on 19th April. We have invited teachers who have engaged with the project in different ways. This includes those who have taken part in multiple events (in workshops, CPD and outreach) to those who have only attended one event over the course of the project. They have all been offered a copy of the recent V&A publication ‘Handmade in Britain’ as an incentive to attend. There has been a good response with 11 places booked so far.
We are currently preparing a discussion guide for the focus group and would like to hear about any creative approaches you have taken to encourage discussion. We have been in touch with Streetwise Opera after their kind response to the last blog entry and gained some useful ideas from them. We look forward to sharing our findings from the Focus Group with you in the next blog post.I have also been looking ahead to the next phase of the project and how to target those boroughs which are least engaged. I have been analysing the take-up of schools across all beneficiary boroughs to see where we have been successful and where we could improve. Whilst all have increased their involvement with the project I am particularly pleased to note that the number of schools in Brent (one of the most deprived of the beneficiary boroughs) has increased by 33% since the start of the project. Looking ahead, I plan to concentrate on engaging schools in Harrow, as currently only 20% of schools in this borough have taken advantage of the project so far. This is significantly less than the other boroughs which have engagement levels of between 36 - 80%. I will be offering schools in Harrow a tailored CPD session as an additional incentive. I will report back on my progress soon.
The CPD events sound inspiring.
Regarding no-show issue: If you haven't tried it before, it's worth asking for payment of a fee up-front, maybe just £20 or so, then cancelling/returning it for those who show up.
Regarding the creative approaches to focus group discussions:
Idea 1: ask the teachers themselves what methods come to their minds (in advance of session)
Idea 2: mind-map style, huge piece of paper, or digital equivalent, everyone writes or draws the thoughts/experiences/classroom challenges/visual associations etc that come to their minds in the given context - they express themselves, then ideas bounce off each other, connections are made visually on the mind-map, discussion ensues, and you end up with more than the sum of the parts. The shared visual record can be photographed and circulated as an on-going reminder and stimulus.
Idea 3: invite teachers to audio-record, photograph or video-record their experiences of outcomes between the CPD event and the focus group session, e.g. students creating jewellery inspired by shadows. Maybe a prize for the one that gets the biggest round of applause from the group.
Idea 4 - with students: invite them to share their creative ideas that stemmed from the CPD, on a blog page or through social media. Maybe prizes for students who take ideas to the next level.
Lorraine von Gehlen, UK Director, Epic Arts
19 April 2013
The Bach Choir will be holding a Choral Leaders' Workshop/Masterclass on Saturday April 27th 2013 10am - 4pm at The Warehouse 13 Theed St London SE1 8ST.
The course is for teachers in Key Stage 2 and 3 leading singing activities and choirs. Whether new to leading singing groups or an experienced Music Specialist, the day will support your work and help us to enthuse children to sing! David Hill has a unique approach, founded on a wealth of experience. Thus a range of techniques will be used to achieve the goal of helping children to find their voice.
Using a practical approach, the day will build confidence in the participants' ability to: - - - Grasp and hold the attention of children
- Warm up children's voices
- Improve body awareness and breathing techniques
- Focus on tonal quality - blending in unison and part singing
- Understand and extend the vocal range of all children
- Explore melodic line - exploring sound shapes and varying dynamics
- Improve diction and clarity of words
Practical workshops with a group of singers from The Bach Choir will give participants the opportunity to practise their own skills and observe others.
Morning Sessions - METHOD
Session 1 - David Hill 'How to teach Children to sing'
Methods and techniques
Coffee and Refreshments
Session 2 - David Hill 'Conducting techniques and Choir leadership'
Lunch - not provided but many local cafes and restaurants.
Afternoon Sessions - PUTTING METHOD INTO PRACTICE
Observation - David Hill and the singers from The Bach Choir
Practical Workshops - Participants conducting and working with Members of The Bach Choir.
Plenary and tea
This will be our first venture into CPD. Places on the course are free for teachers at our seven participating schools but there will be a charge for teachers from other schools.
I will report again after the event.
Christopher Lean, The Bach Choir
18th April 2013