Teaching and Learning

Teaching for Understanding

My idea for an online course would be to present aspects of various printmaking processes visually in a series of video tutorials where students could use them as learning aids to refer back to when either working in studio or at home. Typically printmaking courses are run in studios with small to medium groups and one or two demonstrators, who would go through each stage of a printing process and learning through doing, and at the end give out a series of notes on processes. While this works to a point, when it comes to etching which is a sequence of processes and separate stages for example:

Preparing the plate

Applying grounds and drawing

1st etch to establish outlines

Applying aquatint (a layer of rosin used to form tones in next stage)

Stopping out lighter areas with varnish and etching to build tones

Cleaning off plate

Preparing paper and printing

Even using prepared examples, there is a lot of information and technical processes to take in, which most people will forget parts of, and similarly with notes or a step by step guide.

Using video aids would refresh process and deepen students understanding of sequence and processes as well as providing a reference which they could stop and rewind to any problematic parts.

Perkin’s article spoke about students having problems synthesising knowledge to form arguments and also while being aware of present events being unable to project back into history to analyse events and their implications on the future. Perkin’s also wrote of developing understanding in order to be able to make predictions of various outcomes.

With regard to etching course, it should be structured in a framework that guides students through each step and how technical process works and then feeds into next stage, but using video tutorial as back up and reference.

I found Perkin’s framework of connectability useful for thinking about designing curriculum about how curriculum should connect to practical applications as it reminded me of printmaking courses where several pages of “how to” notes are given out but lacked the connections of how the processes interact and leave students confused and unable to visualise how they work, when what is needed is to create an environment where students can engage with the processes and be allowed to make mistakes in order to learn from for example : learning about timing a plate in acid, by physically seeing aquatint break down, students learn to recognise signs and when to take it out.