You are a teacher who designs and runs fantastic art or design projects from Year 7 with great outcomes…
Yet in Year 11, most students still can’t do it themselves!.. Sounds familiar? Then read on…
Usually, art teachers refer our website to design, technology or well-being teachers, as the method we implement can be utilised by other departments as well. If we have already met with an art teacher in your school, let us know here and we will send you material regarding your subject.
Feedback after 2 years of use
“This year, I had a chance to compare results between two groups of students: one with the guides and one without. There was a stark difference. The ones with the guides were more driven to investigate on their own, confidently approached tasks, produced individualised work and developed their own aesthetic. Students were engaged and even excited to do the homework! In summary, they had the skills needed to produce good work. All of this created a positive air around the subject. In contrast, the other group required a lot more attention, developed competitive tendencies (as their work became versions of the same idea) with some students switching off. Significantly, since using the guides, retention has increased.”
Stacey Coralde – Head of Art
Northpine Christian College
Feedback after 1 year of use
“It took a little to get used to, but after using the guides for a year, I see it really helps students to observe. It provides a positive air around the art subjects, which is wonderful to see.”
Stacey Coralde – Head of Art
Northpine Christian College
“As an experienced teacher, at first, I was not sure how to integrate this into my program. I started with the build-up activities and followed the initial advice from the training: keep drafts small & rough, and get students working fast! I used music to stop the students when the recommended activity time elapsed. Working fast is really successful, keeps them motivated and brings out their creativity (and they’ve learnt to listen to my voice). Now that they can work fast, it is possible for me to shift to a student-led approach, which the project framework in the guides scaffolds. I quite like it.”
Kate Langridge – Art teacher
The Hutchins School
“The books have been amazing and I am getting far more out of the students in terms of filling their visual diaries than I did before!
It is totally awesome!!”
Laura Morley – Head of Art
Lilydale Heights College
“Good Afternoon, just a quick email to say how much we are enjoying implementing the Visual Diary Guides with our Year 7 and 8 cohorts. Feedback has been soundly positive and the activities have been well received by staff and students.”
Kellie Muller – Visual Arts Specialist Leader
Mount Ridley College
“There is a lot happening in each book and the layout helps to create a sense of fast-paced thinking, then deeper thought, followed by connection of ideas, resolution then reflection. I really like the way that the language and focus changes with each year level, particularly with the emphasis on creativity being shifted from a personal expression standpoint to being presented as an advantageous trait in future careers. This addresses the issue of students frequently underappreciating the value of creativity and failing to realise the vast number of employment opportunities in creative industries. Top stuff!”
Michael Kowal – Head of Art and Technology
What is a Teacher Card?
In 2020, we are replacing Sample Implementation Plans with Teacher Cards. Contact us to get yours if you haven’t yet received one.
I have new teachers starting this term. How can I train them quickly?
Please contact us and we will provide them with free training. Each teacher is also entitled to a free copy of the student book. Every time a teacher changes, let us know. The best way to do this is to appoint an owner for the Visual Diary Guide and ask them to arrange the training for every coming year.
We cannot get the digital access to the guides working?
Please contact us and we will promptly arrange the necessary help.
How come my students did not get the digital copy?
The Visual Diary Guide is available in hard copy, digital copy or as a bundle with both included. Even though they are all the same price, the digital part of the bundle option needs to be specified at the time of booklisting. If you didn’t booklist the digital copy then your students will not have it.
If you have missed that opportunity, we may still be able to help. Please contact us.
What is the major issue?
Artificial Intelligence is automating many jobs
Remaining jobs require creativity skills to take a physical form
In the age of automation, many jobs will be replaced in the coming decades. By one estimate, 65% of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in completely new job types that don’t yet exist! (World Economic Forum).
This requires students to gain agency early on. The practical subjects in secondary schools are well placed to play the leading role for students to practice agency. It is also widely acknowledged that gaining agency can resolve other key issues such as lack of engagement and poor outcomes (An Harvard study).
As production gets easier with automation, it is easy to see that creative skills will take the centre stage. If one is printing a house in 3D, not much is needed in the way of a Brick Layer. The design of the house takes the centre stage. Hence, those who can think creatively will be the ones contributing to society more than others. Much like the industrial revolution required literacy skills to use newly emerging machines, the revolution currently underway requires creativity skills to use newly emerging technologies. An increasing chorus of business leaders such as Mark Cuban is already predicting that “In 10 years, a liberal arts degree in philosophy will be worth more than a traditional programming degree.” (CNBC)
There is no better place to stimulate creativity skills other than in the creative subjects within secondary schools. There we even have an established tool to help us: the Visual Diary.
In Australia, there has been a push to facilitate multi-modal thinking in secondary school students which require schools to offer all creative subjects at the same time in junior secondary. The impact of this on many junior Art departments has been significant.
From speaking directly to over a thousand art teachers and heads of departments from across Australia, we have uncovered the following:
- Many schools have drastically reduced the contact hours of traditional creative art subjects such as Visual Arts in Year 7 & 8. This is usually being done to make room for other subjects. The aim appears to be to fulfil ACARA’s requirements of offering a certain spread of subjects in the junior years and a move towards giving students choice from a smorgasbord of sample electives (NSW seemed to have escaped the worst effects of this)
- The result was the inability to deliver the Art curriculum in any meaningful way. Many subjects are being offered just one term. When interruptions such as sporting events, public holidays and the like are taken into account, some teachers end up seeing their students for just 6 weeks in the year.
- In some cases, mandatory creative art subjects became fully elective in both Year 7 & Year 8, causing them to compete directly with design and technology subjects.
- This has resulted in teachers facing students with vastly mixed skill levels in subsequent years, all within the same class
- As art subjects now have to promote themselves to obtain students, teachers’ focus on their subject can be easily distracted.
- The fact that this is happening at a time when creativity skills are coming into demand seems to suggest there is some confusion in the education system. It is in fact high time to combat the traditional perception of “starving artist” which continues to dominate popular consciousness. Yet, ATAR’s formulation does little to address this issue in secondary schools. In reality, creative industries stand as one of the vibrant employment areas of our time with predictions of a great future.
When there is such pressure on contact hours, teaching creativity skills such as observational skills, critical thinking skills and research skills can get left behind and basic Visual Diary skills such as annotation, drawing and analysis can become difficult to develop.
Designing a method with an accompanying workbook, we have found a practical way to combat these issues to achieve favourable outcomes for students and teachers.
How do we tackle it?
We make it easy to develop core creativity skills
with the Art department as the spearhead
We focus on making it very easy for Art & Design teachers to improve core creativity skills.
Here are a few challenges we focus on:
- How can I ensure my students reach Year 11 with sufficient creativity and Visual Diary skills?
- How can I deliver my subject’s mission with so little time allocated to it in early years?
- What can I do when many of my students want to go from concept to product in one go?
- How can I allocate more time for design when “production” takes up most of the time? And while parents want to see tangible “results”?
- How can I raise the profile of my department with parents and within the school?
- How can I communicate to my students that there are good employment prospects for these skills?
- As STEM spreads, how can I position my department to become a building block for STEM?
What do you get?
An activity workbook for each student
which can travel with them from subject to subject
Each teacher spends less than 4% of their contact hours but each student can receive to 16 hours of content in one year, even if your subject is only available for one term. Activities for core creativity skills are designed to cover Visual Arts, Media Arts, Graphics/VCD, Woodwork, Metalwork, Textile and Food Tech subjects. There are also activities suitable for Dance, Drama and Well-Being classes.
Covering each age group, the activities can be run sequentially or randomly without close supervision or with the supervision of any subject teacher.
- The first part of the workbook is designed to build creativity and Visual Diary skills
- The second part of the workbook has a complete project framework which promotes Project-based Learning (PBL)
- Each section has a self-assessment activities at the end
- Once adopted, each teacher receives everything for free – support, teacher copies, sample projects, sample implementation plans, and more
Teaching creativity skills is non-trivial at the best of times
Hence, before we send you a sample, we offer a free 20-minute online meeting to explain the concept first. It is essentially a free PD given that you are introduced to a unique method.