In My Visual Arts Classroom

Two VCE Visual Arts students sitting at desks working on their Visual Arts Folios.

Visual Communication Design is a place for students to explore and develop their creativity, critical thinking and reflectiveness.

This year has once again been turbulent for many of us. It has prompted a revisit to sudden changes in our lives. For me personally, I used the opportunity to extend my professional practice, with the intention of enhancing my students’ learning.

Each year I reflect on my teaching and ask myself ‘what does successful classroom pedagogy look like, and have I achieved this’? Most years the response differs slightly, however over the past two years, on reflection, there has been significant growth.

“The past two years have provided new challenges for every teacher; we have been forced into a whirlwind of online learning without warning, and from this a new phase of  teaching has emerged.”

The teaching model as we currently know it has shifted. Therefore, my teaching pedagogy has to do the same. In line with the times, I have re-invented my classroom. Whilst, my classroom has always been far from the ‘traditional’ setting, I constantly challenge myself to explore new and creative teaching tools, now, my classroom is a blend of face-to-face and digital teaching strategies.

St Catherine’s School’s Senior Years Learning Model (SYLM) is exemplary in its framework for providing flexible learning models for all students to take control of their learning.

In the Visual Arts Faculty, the Masterclasses and Independent Learning Tutorials within the SYLM are utilised as ‘stepping stones’ to further students’ learning and provide deeper knowledge of the topics explored.

When a student enters my learning space they have a multitude of options to cater to their individual learning needs. Students receive face-to-face teaching instruction, along with practical demonstrations in conjunction with scaffolded learning through structured steps on the mystcatherines portal. Each unit of work has a combination of written, visual and video prompts to guide and assist students through their own creative process. The aim is to ensure every student excels in my classroom.

Whether you are a visual or sequential learner, I have witnessed success both in student engagement as well as academic achievement through our SYLM framework.

Visual Communication Design is a place for students to explore and develop their creativity, critical thinking and reflectiveness. Students who are independent and willing to step outside their comfort zones thrive within this subject area.

My classroom will foster a love of 21st Century teaching styles and nurture in students the skills to navigate their own learning, preparing them for the world and challenges ahead.

Whilst COVID has disrupted the world as we knew it, it has also challenged us to reflect and reassess. I am proud that my students, St Catherine’s School, and myself will be better for it.

Ms Alison Cassidy

Visual Communication Design Teacher

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