Friday, October 22, 2004

Looking back

It is not often you have a chance to look back into the past. Just recently I have been sorting through hundreds of photo slides I have taken of classroom environments since the early sixties! Up until now I have not had the technology to view them but , with modern digital cameras, I can now convert them to digital photos and store them on my computer.

I have always been an enthusiast for the creation of stimulating rooms environments that display with pride student's creativity in art, language and in their studies. I have to admit that the rooms environments I visit today, particularly in my own province of Taranaki, compare well . Not in every room I will admit but over all very impressive. Some individual school I visit are just fantastic!

In the early days the rooms that impressed were those who involved themselves with itinerant art advisers, who in those day actually took lessons ( this was before the idea of giving 'advice' became the norm). There may not have been many of these creative teachers in the those days but they made a real difference. They in turn looked back to the wonderful of work of early pioneers and in particular the work of Elwyn Richardson . Learning Media have recently reprinted his wonderful book, 'In The Early World'. I highly recommend it.

In the 70 a group of teachers ( including myself) introduced environmental education ideas in Taranaki and, as part of this, an emphasis was placed on the displaying of the creative arts, language and studies of the students. Most of these teachers have since retired but their influence lives on, even if it is not often acknowledged.

Recently one of the teachers, Bill Guild, decided to put together all the language , art and projects he had kept, or had photos of. With the aid of his digital camera and his Apple Mac, he has produced a wonderful book full of colored photos of student creativity ranging over more than 20 years of his teaching. It was originally produced for a school jubilee but modern technology has meant it can easily be reprinted as often as you like. Scores of his book, 'A World Of Difference', have been purchased by interested teachers.

Teachers everywhere ought to search out and visit creative teachers in their own area. There are creative teachers in all areas to gain inspiration from and it is time to realize that it to these creative teachers that we ought to be looking to for ideas rather than imposed curriculums!

It is a good idea for teachers to keep photos of the work their students do. We have the technology! Doing this enables teachers to observe how their ideas of quality improve with experience and they may be useful to gain new positions - teacher portfolios.

Good advice?


Anonymous said...

Good advice? Yes!

Anonymous said...

I have a copy of the Bill Guild book you printed - inspirational stuff! It is amazing what young students can achieve with a gifted teacher.