In Praise of the European Spirit

Europe is going through one of the recurrent identity crises which have punctuated its long history. Some journalists and pundits contemptuously reject the very idea of a ‘European Civilisation’ and in a strange exercise of self-hatred, take full personal responsibility when the ghosts of slavery and colonisation are evoked. Yet, no other continent is prepared to face its worst demons and question its cultural and intellectual legacy in a period defined by confusion and uncertainty. This ability to question our ...

How do you do it?

Personally, I find section 9.2 one of the hardest parts of the course to teach. It relates to voltaic cells. I can never remember is it left minus right or vice versa, which side is positive, which is negative? In order to help teach this I put together a useful set of ideas / principles that I now use to help my teaching. It does involve some learning / memorization of facts but once these points are learnt, everything else ...

Seven Questions about Starting to Teach the Course

In recent category 1 visual arts workshops I have been asked some great questions about our subject; for example, what to teach, how to balance the things we teach, how much time we should have to teach in, how to connect to other subjects, etc. Here are the questions with my answers. If you would like to attend an IB authorized teacher training professional development workshop, go here. There are 36 visual arts workshops between now and December. 1. “Do I teach about techniques ...

Time to be lazy

This is the time of the academic year when IB teachers have a mix of being both happy and sad. Or maybe these are the wrong terms to use – we are nervous and feeling a little lazy – but teachers know this is an important phase for us to go through. Nervous. I feel nervous at this time because the exams are VERY close and of course, I am hoping (a terrible word I think!) that the exam allows the ...

World Theatre in the Shadows

The last few weeks I have been researching theatre traditions and theatre companies that use SHADOWS in their performances. For this blog I thought it would be good to share them with you so that you can see the amazing range of ways that light and darkness can be used with objects, bodies and film in performance. You can use these as starting points for devising, ways into world theatre traditions or as ideas for performance and production. I hope ...

Cyclone Idai

Cyclone Idai struck Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe in March 2019 affecting up to 2.6 million people. In Mozambique, some 1.85 million people have been affected and in Malawi around 900,000. Around 130,000 people have been displaced in Mozambique, and around 90,0000 in Malawi. The final toll of the cyclone will not be known for many months, perhaps ever. This was the worst cyclone to affect the area since February 2000 when the region was affected by three cyclone in just ...

Some wise advice about commentary?

At least from my point of view, what Robert Scholes had to say about close reading contains some good reminders. I think we all recognize the New Critical roots of the these IB assessments, both oral and written. And though I suspect not too many of us deliver ‘the’ reading of texts, the temptation does exist and we can actualize that in various ways. I especially like his reminder about ‘codification.’** Scholes speaks of the kind of textual study ...

Hegel on Freedom

Hegel’s conception of freedom is central to his Introduction to the Philosophy of History and his Phenomenology of Spirit (1807) in which it is described as one of its most immediately perceived properties. Yet, it is only through philosophy as speculative knowledge that freedom can fulfil itself. For Hegel, universal history is the slow progress of its understanding and advent through three stages: the earliest one is to be found in Antiquity and is epitomised by the autocratic power of ...

Simple Organic Lab Work

I love organic chemistry but am well aware that this view of things is not held by all teachers and students! However, I feel I teach the subject well, but when it comes to lab work I do not do so well and this is something I need to work on. Today’s blog post aims to help me (and you) overcome this fear by giving you an idea for a simple lab to carry out (once you have the necessary reagents ...

Process Portfolio (PP) Questions

8 PP questions from new teachers Here are some Process Portfolio questions I have been asked in recent visual arts workshops. I’m posting them here on the visual arts blog because I suspect that some teachers may also be wondering about some of the issues raised. I have a doubt and want to know if the single art teacher for Visual Arts must be perfect in all the skills mentioned in the art-making forms table. I am not technology savvy ...