STAR-POST (Art) January 2020 FINAL_STAR Post Art Jan 2020 - Page 44

M a ki n g Mar ks -- L e v e r a g i n g on Te chn o lo gy to De v e lop Thi n ki n g a nd Teo Chor Howe Own ershi p of L e a r n i n g Senior Teacher (Art) National Junior College T he term “assessment” tends to be associated with marks, grades and summative evaluation of students’ learning of the subject content. This article aims to provide snapshots of how our school designs assessment through the form of art writing (Study of Visual Arts) in order to be more formative, and to help develop thinking habits and build ownership in our students’ learning, by leveraging on the use of technology. We believe that in art, thinking and making is integrated, informed both by the practical and theoretical knowledge of art. This iterative process is influenced by the contexts and experiences that the artist (in this case, our students) has encountered. This belief stemmed from the theoretical underpinnings and philosophy of John Dewey’s Art as Experience. In short, we believe that learning art goes beyond making artworks as end-objects. Instead it embodies the whole experience and process of thinking, making, critiquing, writing, speaking, contextualising and communicating. Grounded in this belief, we made two observations about our students: they needed to develop critical thinking and critiquing skills, and when they presented their opinions through 44 writing, they wrote as if they were speaking or texting. In our Junior and Senior High Art curriculum, we incorporate art writing into our studio practice and design writing tasks in authentic contexts, aligned to our subject matter and subject goals. We enhance this by leveraging on the use of technology and web-based platforms (Google classroom). This is because we feel that in the contemporary real world context, art writers/ critics/ historians use digital technology to write and that digital platforms offer quick efficient organisation of points/opinions/ ideas. The latter would allow us to focus on developing some key thinking and writing skills (such as describing, analysing, interpreting, forging links, organising, etc) first, which traditional pen and paper might not be able to offer as efficiently. More importantly, the digital platform allowed us to quickly assess their writings with qualitative comments and allowed for efficient sharing with the classes. The students could then access their own and their peers’ writings with our comments in a timely manner. This encouraged collaborative learning and students could reflect and improve, and in the process, build self-ownership in learning. Of course in doing so, we have made some assumptions based on our understanding of students and the ways they process learning and information (Singapore Teaching Practice - STP). We assumed that our students are digital natives and so they are familiar with ICT modes of communication. We too assumed that they are able to express their ideas and opinions proficiently through the use of ICT and they are competent in the use of gadgets and ICT- related apps or software. Let me use one example to illustrate. In 2019 Semester 2, for my JH3 class (equivalent to Secondary 3) of 26 students were given an independent open project with focus on digital art. They were required to decide on their artistic intention, the target audience and the context in which they will operate in. They were to submit a project brief, experiment with different digital processes and finalise what was the best form to present their intentions digitally. Singapore Teaching Practice 45