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ReflectionsMy best pedagogical experience

My best pedagogical experience

So far, I experienced different ranges of quality teaching experiences as a PME student teacher. Some felt very low in terms of classroom management and fighting with post-traumatic stress, and some felt extremely high, reaching the rockstar teacher level where everything and more worked like a dream. These highs will always keep me going as they align with my motivation to be a teacher and will wipe away everything that went bad, at least for that week.

Just for the record, I want to preserve in this article my rockstar teaching moment, which happens to be in disciplines that not only I teach for the first time but also that I rarely tried as an artist. Not only preparation is key, but also intuition and how to convert potential moments into learning moments. I think being confident in a lesson plan offers you the base to pick up on those spontaneous moments and transform them into a learning experience that you might not find in the books or research; it is unique, organic, and becomes a method that you discover through practice.

I started a new theme. A world of faces with a focus on portraiture. I did live drawing and studied anatomy before for a bit, but I have never drawn a portrait or self-portrait. Because I was nervous, I dug into research on head proportions, exercised it, and learned the vocabulary. My lesson plan included: checking homework (self-portrait on an A4), peer review and evaluation of homework, a visual presentation on portraits, a demonstration on head proportions with students drawing and writing annotations at the same time, and a and a pair activity. Everything went great, and I facilitated the presentation on portraits with questions that brought their prior knowledge into play. A game of artwork identification was followed by cognitive-level comparison questions in between three portraiture styles, ending with a showcase of Portaits from students their own age. I find it important to display artist work and also samples of student work for confidence-building. Very good discussion engagement, with active participation from almost everybody.

 

In class, while checking the homework, I see a range of skills, from beginners to professionals. Five or six students were really skilled, which made me shake a bit, but I saw a big opportunity for peer teaching. Opening with a short discussion on the benefits of practicing, I wanted the class to understand that everybody has the same ability; the only difference is having an interest and the amount of time one is putting into that interest. And then I asked the class if they wanted to see what their colleagues tips and  tricks were. I find it important to ask questions, even if you know the answer is what you intended, but you empower the students by showing that their opinion matters. Everybody wanted a showcase, and three students offered to share their tips on the whiteboard. All three of them had their own style of starting with head proportions. I asked the others what the common elements were, and everybody was able to tell me about the main shape, about the vertical and horizontal lines, etc. These mini-demos reinforced my own, confirming the main diagram. I stopped with the head proportions, asking the students to finish the hair by looking at each other, demonstrating that with one element, all the portraits become distinctive.

 

I was impressed by the level of engagement. Overall, it was a quiet, motivated class, taking notes and sketching. It made me wonder how this was achieved. In terms of classroom management, they were kept busy at all times through a diverse range of activities. The theme motivated them, but also the fact that even the less skilled ones could see that it was not about the skill, but following a diagram could improve their own depictions so fast. Bringing in the student teacher boosted the overall confidence, and finishing with the pair activity brought a big smile to their faces.

 

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