Journal Entry#7: Write a reflection of your fieldwork experience. Provide specific examples you think were successful and not so successful.
Having attended two classes of collage, I found that one was successful in reaching its goal of developing critical thinking on important topics and another was unsuccessful. One class had a mini tour at the beginning where issues of feminism and race were explored in art. In the studio, students worked with collage and demonstrated an understanding on the use of art to address social issues as many topics emerged on poverty, feminism, race and equality. On the other hand, the group that spent the whole time in the studio without a tour made images based on shallow topics. However, they demonstrated a better understanding of formal elements. Thus, I find that students need helpful examples on art as a tool to speak out and address moral and social problems before making their own. I also find that formal elements should be addressed when showing examples, so that both the understanding of portraying social issues as well as formal elements can be better understood and thus demonstrated in students’ artworks.
Another class on printmaking also explored social justice through a mini tour, and presented printmaking as an art that can be easily reproduced to spread awareness on social issues. This class was not very successful as students did not react to the ideas presented in the mini tour in their artworks. Rather, they were much more engaged in discovering the process of printmaking and their thoughts were focused on making sure their images would be properly mirrored when stamped, not the topic of the image itself. I think more time should be given to this activity where the process of printmaking is explained first and the students experiment with it. Then, the mini tour would be presented with the topic of social justice and the students will have already understood how one can make a stamp, and will be ready to explore topics in their work.
Journal Entry#6: Write a critical reflections on your research, your work and field experiences at the AGO.
Activities at the AGO offer different outcomes for the participants depending on the nature of the activity. At the Hands-On Centre dedicated to toddlers and their adult companions, usually one of the child’s parents, focuses on bonding time for the child and adult. The activities at the Hands-On Centre are optional as some toddlers are too young for them, or show more interest in playing with their parent. The Hands-On Centre teaches basic techniques that are fun for a young age, but does not force the visitors to partake in the activity. I find that this encourages children’s creativity in a comfortable environment with their parent(s), given the freedom to withdraw at any time allows the child to feel comfortable in a learning environment.
At the studio where Grade 8 students are making collage pieces, the activity provides an insight on critical thinking while making visual art on an individual level. Each student is engaged in making an individual artwork. I believe that this activity encourages students to think about visual elements in art such as composition and layering, as well as generating a topic to make art about. I find that Grade 8 students are more comfortable working on their pieces individually, but are open to advice and opinions from their classmates.
Journal Entry#5: Document your reflection of the pedagogical workshops you have had thus far. What do they mean for you? How have they changed your perceptions or broadened your perspectives of art education? Provide specific examples.
During my internship at the AGO I have attended two studio workshops for Grade 8 students on collage. The use of collage is used to explain foreground, middle ground and background as well as a method that helps in generating a topic. The project presented to students explains the concept of foreground, middle ground and background differently from the way I received it as a student during my childhood where it was explained using drawing/painting and perspective. This, naturally, led to insecurities among my classmates as they started to compare their drawings to others, evaluating them in terms of drawing skills, and thus forgetting the main purpose of the lesson. At the AGO, layers of acetate were used to have the students add background, middle ground and foreground to each layer, providing a clearer understanding. Through the use of collage, students use ‘ready made’ photos and images from magazines. I find that this eliminates competitiveness and insecurities involving drawing skills. Having students search for images that interest them at the start of the activity also reduces the confusion that has usually overwhelmed a class in my experience as a student where students spent a lot of time thinking of good ideas instead of creating. Having them collect images first automatically generates a topic for them, and fuels their creativity and interest.