Strategies for Teaching Large Groups of Art Exam Students

By The Arty Teacher - August 22, 2018

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.

Personal Tutorials Art

Still hungry to try new ideas?  These books offer strategies that you will use for the rest of your teaching career.


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The Arty Teacher

Sarah Crowther is The Arty Teacher. She is a high school art teacher in the North West of England. She strives to share her enthusiasm for art by providing art teachers around the globe with high-quality resources and by sharing her expertise through this blog.

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2 responses to “Strategies for Teaching Large Groups of Art Exam Students”

  1. This is such an interesting read. I actually print out a target setting sheet and stick it inside the front cover of their sketch book. I prefer this over post it notes simply because post it notes are often lost, and the tracking target sheet allows for both myself and the student to follow the progress week by week. I also add a small box next to the target so pupils can jot down ideas or queries they may have for me and I may be busy and not get round to see that pupil- the reminder will then get the pupil to ask me at some point.
    It is quite challenging to ensure everyone is making progress in their personal work as they are all doing something different so tracking for me has been very helpful. Thank you for sharing this.

    • The Arty Teacher says:

      Target setting sheets sound like a great way to monitor student progress. It certainly is a challenge to make sure everyone is making progress. Thanks for leaving this comment.

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