This blog post looks at strategies for teaching large groups of art exam students where they are all following an individual path. How do you make sure every student makes progress in every lesson? If you are not careful you will have some students who are very demanding of your time and if left to their own devices would monopolize you, and some students who sit quietly and appear to be working but are making little progress.
One method is Target Setting. Get each student to write a target on a post-it-note, or piece of paper. Writing something down definitely focusses the student’s mind. You can whizz round and briefly see what students have written and use the plenary time to check what progress they have made. I have other ways you can Use Post-It Notes in the Art Room here.
Tick-lists and short deadlines are also effective. Create a list of tasks students should have completed. I know this is difficult where students are following an individual path. However, items on the list can be broad, e.g. Four drawings in different media, three pieces of development work, four composition ideas etc. Taking in students sketchbooks frequently (short deadlines) to make sure they are on track and have completed tasks makes it manageable for students and helpful for you to catch anyone who is getting behind.
Another method is Targeting Students. Make a note of which students you are going to target in your planner or register. Make it clear to all students that you are targeting these students first and that you will be targeting other students next lesson. You will need to make sure all students have the materials and tools they need before you see your targeted students. Be realistic with how many you can see. Next lesson target the next group and work your way through the class. The pros are that you give quality time to each student. The cons are that it may take a few lessons to see everyone.
I always plan Personal Tutorials, and this is my favoured method combined with targeting students. It eats into your break and lunchtimes but only takes 10 minutes per student. I write a list of times when I am available and make students sign up. You can spread out all their work and make a list of tasks they need to complete next. This is especially useful in the run-up to an exam and as you work your way through the class your lessons get easier and easier – well worth it.
Below are two Personal Tutorial resources which help run time-efficient and targeted tutorials with your students. The top one is a generic form for all situations, the bottom one is for GCSE tutorials.
Still hungry to try new ideas? These books offer strategies that you will use for the rest of your teaching career.