Placement finished – reflection & evaluation

Overall, I really enjoyed the 4 week placement in Cowbridge Comprehensive and I felt like it’s been beneficial as it has confirmed my decision of wanted to become a secondary school teacher. I found it really helpful in terms of my decision to become a teacher or not because whilst I was there, there was some PGCE students at the school so they gave me some honest advice about the course and whether or not to become a teacher straight away or not. In terms of experiencing teaching itself, I found it a brilliant opportunity to gain classroom experience. It was initially hard to see the classroom from a teacher’s perspective however I started to notice more within the lesson and how it was being taught. The highlight of the few weeks being there was when we were able to get into the classroom and work with students on there work; particularly within the art department when we go to advised and help with the students GCSE art work.

In regards to the planning and delivering of lessons, it was great to have the opportunity to teach to a class of students and I became more confident within the classroom which previously was quite a daunting experience. With the product design lesson, we didn’t have a huge amount of support in regards to planning and creating the lesson so we learned a lot about the topic and because we had a lot of time to plan it, we had spent a lot of time on the material – it was real shame when we weren’t able to teach the lesson. When in came to planning the textiles lesson, we were given more support from the teacher and from previously planning the product design lesson, we were in a much better position to plan the lesson. It would have been really useful if we had more guidance on how to structure the lessons however it was a good opportunity to learn how to teach the lessons.

As much as I enjoyed my experience at the school I also found it incredibly frustrating at times. I felt that the design and technology department did not make the most of us being there and for most of the time I felt more in the way of the teachers. For the first week, we had the pupil trail organised and then we were able to create a lesson plan for the product design lesson; from then on, it seemed to be the same routine every day with nothing planned so we had to be proactive ourselves and push to be in lessons. As a whole in the DT department, I felt that we weren’t able to make use of our skillset and we didn’t even observe any product design lessons (which is more to my skillset) only textiles. I would have enjoyed it more if we were able to observe more product design lessons and get more involved in helping with students work. When we spoke to the art & design department, the head of art was so enthusiastic about us being there and said that she would have really made the most of us being there, letting us be apart of the lessons; it would have been great if we could have had this kind of opportunity in the design and technology department.

Originally, I was unsure about whether I wanted to become an art & design or design & technology teacher. I am leading more towards becoming a DT teacher however, the art & design department within the school was so full of enthusiasm from the students and the teachers which is something that the DT department lacks. However, I think that could be more down to the teachers rather than the topic.


Week 4 – final week

Monday 5th February

In today’s lecture we went over the assessment criteria, discussed¬† our placements and then began creating posters which we will present next week. The posters needed to be 2x A1 posters and contain content that we had collected over the time at the school. Last week we had the opportunity to look at the PGCE students presentations so we had see the level of content they had on their posters. Our posters did not need to be as detailed but it was still good to have seen them to use as a guide. It was difficult to go into as much detail since most of the content that needs to go on the poster will be collected in the last week.

Myself and Lydia also had the conversation about what we were going to do on our last week. We have both been very frustrated about the lack of teaching we have been able to do and would have loved to have been more involved within the department over the 4 weeks. We spoke about both of us bringing our work in and showing it to the students so that we could offer any advice and inspiration to current students thinking about a career in art & design. Matt is always very busy at the school so I sent him an email in hope we might be able to arrange to speak to some of his classes.

Tuesday 6th February

Today was the day of teaching our textiles lesson. We spent the morning ensuring that all the materials had been printed and then we taught the lesson in the afternoon. I felt that overall the lesson lacked enthusiasm and was quite slow paced. The students seemed to show a level of understanding with the topic which is good as they were able to complete the games quickly and then answer questions at the end of the lesson. We definitely underestimated their capabilities and did not plan enough content for the lesson – luckily Katie had some material that we could use for the last 15 minutes. We adapted our lesson so that it would be more playful and they would be engaged with it – which I feel that the students were – however I think we made it too focused on the games and should have included more content. Moving forward into the second lesson now, we will definitely have this in mind and ensure that there is enough content to teach. I feel that it may be better to create more work and then if we don’t get through it all it can be something that the students can continue with themselves.

Wednesday 7th February

We spent the morning in the school prepping for Thursday’s 2nd lesson. We took on board what we had learned from the first lesson and applied this into the Thursday’s lesson plan. For the second lesson we want them to create revision sheets on CAD/CA/Cutting tools and manufacturing systems, so Lydia created a really helpful revision tips sheet for them to keep with them to help with understanding the topic and how to revise it. We decided that we needed a way to assess the pupils to see if what we have taught has worked and they’d understood it so we created an exam for them to do. It’s not particularly difficult but it includes questions on what we have covered so it will be a good judge as to whether or not the students have understood. We will also show a video in the lesson that will introduce manufacturing systems which is a topic they have not learned yet.

Today, we’d also had the opportunity to go into a year 13 product design lesson. This was a small class mixed with product design and textile students. There wasn’t enough students to take Textiles as an A-level so they were advised to take Product Design A-level instead where they would have to sit the product design exam but could do all there practical work in textiles. I would describe the class as very mixed ability and the teacher described that a lot of them lacked enthusiasm with some of the work not quite being at higher education level. It was still interesting to go round and chat to the students and speak about their work as well as their prospects into further education.

Lesson resources: exam and revision questions/tips

Year 11 Textiles observation:

This particular class we were in, I had been into last week. In the previous lesson they’d created patterns for their designed garment and for this lesson they were using their patterns to cut their fabric. We helped the students with the positioning of their fabric so they were able to cut it accurately. Not being a textile designer myself, I learned a lot about the lesson more than I could probably have taught the students. I didn’t know about patterns and cutting fabric myself so I enjoyed learning from the students and seeing their designs come to life. Some of the students garment designs were really exciting and it was great to see the support from their teacher to be really innovative with their garment designs. Creating clothing is something I see as university level so it was good to see the level of creation at GCSE.

We had tried to speak to Matt these past couple of days about speaking to some students about our work however he was very busy and hadn’t responded to our email so we decided we needed to take action on the matter ourselves. We went over to the art department and spoken to the one of the teachers about coming in on the last day and doing some observations. She was so enthusiastic about us being there and offered for us to come into a few of her lessons tomorrow; one of which is her year 12 class where she said we could spend 15 minutes at the beginning of the lesson talking about our work. I was so glad that we’d came and spoken to her as I felt that she would really use our skillset within the department and we could get stuck into helping students do their work.

Thursday 8th February

With today being our last day, we wanted to make the most of it. We made sure that we had all the material ready for the textile lesson we were teaching and then we went over and worked in the art department. It was Year 11 GCSE art who had just been given their exam questions, had picked there themes and were now at the stage where they were beginning to experiment with idea. One thing I have continued to speak about within my blog about the art department is the amount of enthusiasm and experimentation coming from the students which I think is commendable on the department and teachers. They are clearly very passionate about the subject and that reflects in how the students work. I helped a student with her work who was currently creating very standard observational students on utensils. I helped her with some ideas in ways in which she could make her drawings a bit more exciting so we worked on positioning the utensils in a more obscure composition so that it will give her a different angle to draw from. It was great that I was able to offer some real help with a students work and I only wish that I was given more of this opportunity throughout the placement.

Textiles lesson 4:

In the previous lesson we had taught them about CAD/CAM so in this lesson we are extending on that knowledge and discussing manufacturing systems. We got them to create posters on CAD/CAM and cutting tools in two groups for 3. They seemed to take quite a while with this task, I think it was more with the lack of enthusiasm in the task rather them then not knowing what they needed to do. I felt that with the nature of the task we should have given them slightly more time but we were conscious of the fact that we had to deliver a presentation on manufacturing systems and allow them time to create a poster on this topic. For this lesson we also had planned for them to sit an exam however the teacher wanted to us to have an opportunity to show our work so we didn’t have time for the students to do the exam. I think the students enjoyed looking through our work and I felt that for them to look through university level work was slightly more important as it gave us a chance to talk to them about further education. For Lydia particularly who studies textiles, she was able to speak to the students about textiles past GCSE level and the students seemed really engaged in speaking to us about what we do.

I think that with the last lesson we didn’t have enough content to teach, it has been the opposite with this lesson where we planned for too much and wasn’t able to teach it all. I felt like we rushed the students with their research and I don’t think that they actually learned anything in this particular lesson – other than about us and what we do at university. It was a shame we weren’t able to do the exam as I think this would have been a real judge for us as to whether or not they’ve understood our lessons. We spoke to Katie (textiles teacher) and she said that she’d be happy to give them the exam in the next lesson so that we would have the results for then.

If I were to have taught the lessons again, I think I would have split up the content more. I think we tried to teach too much in the 2 lessons we had and instead it would have been much better to split up the topics and to have created more activities on one topic. So we tried to teach CAD/CAM, cutting tools and manufacturing systems in the 2 lessons but instead I think we should have stuck with just CAD/CAM and cutting tools and given a lesson for each. We could have created more activities and maybe given a practical task for the students to do to keep them more engaged in the topic.

Year 12 A-level Art & Design:

This was the same lesson that we observed last week however this time we were able to have 15 minutes at the start of the lesson to speak to the students about our experience at university and show them our portfolio of works. These students are nearing the point where they are choosing what they’d liked to do after they leave school so I think that at this age it would have been useful to speak to us. They enjoyed looking through our portfolios and there was a few students who were interested in continuing with art & design so we spoke about the level of work we do on our course and what is expecting of you in university. I liked talking to the students about our work and future education prospects and I felt that from everything we did throughout our time at time, it was at this point that we were able to have the opportunity to make a real difference and offer some really useful advice. I’m happy the art department were able to give us this opportunity and I would have loved it if we were able to have done more things like this.



Week 3

Monday 29th January

I met up with Lydia this morning to discuss what I had done last week and to fill her in on what needed to be done. At the end of the day on Thursday, I had spoken to one of the teachers Katie who has given us work to create a lesson for her year 10 textiles class. I gave this to Lydia so that we could get a kick start on it before going back into school tomorrow. I informed more of what needed to be done for the product design lesson which she said she would do tonight ready for the first lesson tomorrow.


In the morning, we sat in on presentations done by PGCE students. There was a small group of them who’s specialism’s ranged from Design & Technology, Computer & ICT and Art & Design. Their presentations were about their primary school placement and how they’d used that to learn from as they went into their secondary school placement. It was great to sit into some PGCE students presentations to see what it is they are doing within their placements as this will be a situation I will be in within a couple years time when I do my PGCE course. They all spoke about the different challenges they faced, with them going to a variety of primary schools, ranging from very small and merged classes to a large and affluent primary school with a lot of equipment. As it came to different schools with different levels of economic background, each student teacher was faced with different challenges however a theme throughout was a challenge of behaviour management. It was good to hear how they all overcame this and it was interesting to compare it my experience within the school where I am only observing rather than teaching.

After the presentations, we then had a discussion as a class about our experiences within the school. We all seemed to be having really different experiences which is great to hear and I enjoyed listening to what other people have been getting up to in different schools. A couple of the students seemed to have been given more responsibility with their schools, with one of them having actually taught a lot of classes and not observed many at all. We spoke about the positive and negative experiences we are having within our schools and with a few of the others explaining how much they are doing, it’s shown me that I definitely need to be more proactive within the school to be in more lessons and get a better experience. At the moment, we have a lot of work to be getting on with so I am learning a lot about lesson planning and the content taught within design & technology which I think is really helpful, but I’m not getting a huge amount of experience within classrooms – other than in the pupil trail and the year 11 lesson I observed.

Tuesday 30th January

Today, it was supposed to be all 3 of us in however, Lydia and Aviva were sent home as they did not have written proof they had DBS even though it had been cleared. This was frustrating as we were hoping to continue with more work today. I continued with starting to prepare for the textiles lesson and made sure everything was prepared for lesson 5 where I was going to be giving our product design lesson plan to Matt Wrigley to teach to his year 10’s. For the lesson I have the presentation, a print-out for the brief and a hand-out for the manufacturing systems. Unfortunately when it came to doing the lesson, we weren’t able to do it. Matt is away on a school trip today lessons 1-4 and tomorrow lessons 1-4 so understandably we need to adapt around his timetable and since he needs to be in the year 10 lesson to teach what we have done, we are limited on the amount of lessons we can teach in. Because of missing today’s lesson, it means that we won’t be able to teach the product design lesson. This is really frustrating since we had spent a lot of time on the lesson but we are not in school enough days of the week to be able to plan around all of the year 10 product design lessons.

Wednesday 31st January

Since we are unable to do the product design lesson anymore, I explained this to Lydia and Aviva so we started to discuss potential ideas of what to do instead. We are definitely going to be teaching a textiles lesson so we knew that we would be able to hit that criteria; so as well as this we thought it would be a good idea to do a presentation about our work to group of students that are thinking about student art & design are university. We will speak with Matt about the level of students he would like us to give it to but I think a presentation about the types of work we are creating at university, would be really beneficial to the students as it may help them with their ideas of what they want to do next after leaving school. Each of us could talk about our course, how we got there, the work we are creating and ideas of what we want to do next. This could also be a chance to offer advice if anyone is confused about what they want to do after leaving school. It’s a really scary time especially when you’re not sure what you want to do next and I know when I was in their situation I had no idea what I wanted to do after leaving school/college and I really benefitted from speaking to older people who had gone through what I was going through.

We were beginning to try and plan the textiles lesson but we’re getting quite confused as to how to teach it. The criteria Katie told us to teach was “CAD/CAM equipment for cutting templates accurately and continuously” and “cutting tools: round or band knives, automated die cutters for products of constant shapes, computer controlled cutting machines and laser cutters”. We had a conversation with Katie to help us with potential ideas of how to teach it. She was so helpful! She explained that in the lesson previous to when we’ll be teaching, they will be learning about manufacturing systems (which conveniently we’d learned about for the product design lesson) which leads itself really nicely into CAD/CAM as there are a lot of links. It’s a class of 12 year 10’s who are very much mixed ability with a few of them who are very much creative learners, so though their creative work is brilliant and their really enthusiastic about it, she said that she struggles to get them to focus on the theory. So this will definitely be a challenge for us to create a lesson that is engaging and that they want to learn the theory that is taught. She also explained how they love doing tasks rather than being talked about so it would be a good idea to create games within the lesson as this way they’ll be more interested in learning about the theory.

Katie has given us two lessons to teach this class and she was so understanding in making sure that we would have a strong body of work at the end of the two lessons; as well as this she ensured we knew what we needed to do and wasn’t struggling. This was really helpful as we all feel confident that we’re heading in the right direction. The plan for the two lessons is that within the first one we will focus on the teaching the theory. So at the start we will play a video as a starter to get the class engaged and then ask them questions afterwards. We will then move onto a 10/15 minute slide show where we will talk about CAD/CAM and the different equipment, getting them to fill in a table on each as we go along. After this, we will divide them group into groups of 4 and separate the class so that they can each rotate around playing games. There will be 3 types of games: the one with will be a series of flashcards where they will answer the questions on cutting tools; the second will be a series of design processes where they will need to put in the right order and the third will be a CAD/CAM Q&A game board where they will need to match the question with the right answer. At the end of the lesson, we will then have a plenary; a quick fire question/answer just to make sure they’ve understood the lesson. The second lesson, we will split the class into 3 groups again and get them to create a revision sheet each. Katie explained that she has given the class a space on the wall where they can create revision material to go back to when it comes to sitting their exam. We will give each group a topic and an iPad – provide them with potential resources to – and allow them to research about it and create a revision board. This would be a continuation of what they’d learned in the previous lesson and since it will be a creative task, it should get all the students involved. We should emphasise that they must design their boards and take pride in what they are doing. If they each spend time on creating this board together it will get them talking about the topic and hopefully help them remember it better. For us as well, this will help up with knowing if the students have understood the work and allow us to have the students create work that will definitely impact them with their exam.

Textile lessons: Tuesday 6th and Tuesday 8th February, lesson 4

Thursday 1st February

Today we continued with the textiles lesson ensuring that we had everything in place for the classes we were teaching next week. We continued with creating the materials and ensured we had everything in place for the first lesson. We had a presentation, video and 3 games. We have planned the 2nd lesson however we have put off creating the material and written lesson plan for it as we want to see how well the first lesson goes so we can plan the appropriate lesson.

Textile lesson material:

At the beginning of the lesson we will show a video that gives an introduction into CAD/CAM. We will then show a presentation about CAD/CAM, the different tools involved and the different cutting tools. After the presentation, we will split the class up and do the 3 games we have created: noughts and crosses (they have play against each other in teams as a noughts and crosses game where they have the get the answer right to be able to put their counter on that question); flash cards (test their knowledge on cutting tools) and textile design industry game (they have to put in order of manufacturing a garment). They will also we given a cutting tool hand out with the information on the different tools that they need to know about them.

Today was getting very frustrating as other than the lesson we had to plan, there was nothing else for us to do. We had asked to observe some lessons however the teachers were very busy and we felt that we were getting in the way. We decided to go over to the art block and we were able to observe a year 12 a-level art class. It was really interesting to see the amount of work being produced and the standard was genuinely so high. They were using a vast variety of materials to make work – including bleach with ink which I’d ever seen being used before – which was great to see so much experimenting during school. Not many of the students wanted to progress with art & design, only a few did, but that being said it was inspiring to see so many students take art so seriously even though it isn’t something they are going to continue with. It was refreshing being in the art studio to see so much creativity and passion in the work; I feel that this is something that is sometimes lacking in the design and technology department as it is such an academic subject as well as being creative.

Students work:

Week 2 – Teaching Art & Design

Monday 22nd January:

Lecture cancelled

Tuesday 23rd – Wednesday 24th January:

Lesson plan

Unfortunately, due to Lydia and Aviva not having their DBS checks they will not be able to come into the school until they have them done which means that I will be on my own on placement until they are able to come back to the school. With them not being around, I have decided to just crack on with the lesson plan objective we were given last week. Luckily, as a group we had already done the bulk of the lesson so it’s just a case of expanding it. I spoke to a teacher in the school who had set up the pupil trail and discussed how last Thursday went. He gave some suggestions on how to run the lesson and reminded me to remember what I had learned in the pupil trail to help lead my lesson. With that in mind, I began thinking of more engaging tasks to do within the lesson instead of giving the past papers as a task. After a further conversation with Matt about being experimental with allowing what materials to use and to really think of a task to engage the students in applying their knowledge, I think of a design workshop that could work. In my degree, I did a subject that was about designing a chair with a client brief in mind; my idea for the task is to do a very simplified version of this. So in relation to manufacturing systems, the idea of the task would be to design a piece of flat pack furniture to be ready for batch production. The idea of this is to think about the kind of furniture that would be put into batch production and design something that is cheap to make and the customer can assemble themselves. Lydia suggested having the task in groups as it’s something that people could find slightly difficult which is a great idea as it means that they can work together with their ideas and designs. This would as part of the first lesson and then come the second lesson, they will come in with finish designs and have the chance to recap and then make a prototype. This would be testing whether or not their design is realistic for batch manufacturing.

On Thursday I will have a discussion with Matt about the lesson and discuss any improvements.

On Wednesday, I had the chance to go into a year 11 textiles class where they were doing patterns ready for them to make a garment. The patterns were what they use to lay over the fabric so that they cut it correctly and can make the item of clothing. The class were making a range of clothing, from skirts to dresses and one person was making a pillow which was a lot different to the rest of the class. I had a chance to look at some of the class’s designs and what they were creating was really interesting and because of this not being my field of practice, I enjoyed learning about something slightly different. Helping in this class was a challenge because I was there to give the students support and help with their designs but I didn’t really know much about it myself. I enjoyed observing a class at GCSE level though as it’s interesting to see the level of practice they are taught before they become more specialist at higher education.

Thursday 25th January

Again Lydia and Aviva were unable to come in today, so I continued with what we were doing but on my own. During lunchtime, I went a sat with a few year 10 textile students who were working on their sketchbooks. They were really enthusiastic about their textile work and I enjoyed what they had to say about what they were doing. It was great to see a group of people so engaged in their creative work especially since they’re spending their lunchtimes on the work. I spoke to their textile teacher who expressed how they were a really creative group but struggled with the theory – it is this particular group of year 10s that we will be creating a lesson for and teaching them in a couple weeks time. She also expressed how they’re isn’t as much as a demand to study textiles which I think is a really shame. They’re having less people study it at GCSE and have stopped the A-level – students who are wanting to study textiles are taking product design instead but creating textile work. I think it’s brilliant that the school is still catering for those students who want to study textile rather than dismiss it altogether, however, I do think it’s a shame that people aren’t choosing to continue it past KS3. I also learned that the school are now getting students to choose their GCSE topics at the end of year 8 to better prepare them for their exams. I see this as a positive as it then relieves the pressure of them sitting their exams at the end of year 11 however, I feel that it also adds more pressure on students at a younger age. I remember when I was choosing my GCSE’s at the end of year 9, I felt a huge amount of pressure as I struggled to choose from topics I really enjoyed so I worry that by making children choose at such a young age, they may regret having not taken different topics which may effect them when it comes to choosing what to study at higher education.

At the end of the day, I had a chance to talk to Matt about when we were going to be teaching the product design lesson. I showed him what we had created so far which he said was fine and then he said it was spread out into 3 lessons – Tuesday 30th, Wednesday 31st and Thursday 8th. The idea of these lessons is that Matt will teach them to the class and we will be on hand to give help to the students with what their doing. The plan of each lesson was: first lesson, presentation = 30mins and task = 30 mins; lesson 2 will be spent doing the task and then lesson 3 will be finish off the task (30 mins) and then presentation of work and peer assessment for the last part of the lesson. He advised that we need to make a proper brief for the students to follow so that it’s more specific and they know exactly what to do. There should also be a success criteria which will be used to help mark the students work at the end of the task – the students will peer assess their work which means we can help show them whether or not they hit the brief or not. We will take photos throughout the lessons to show progression; we will also provide questions for them to answer at the start and end of the 3 lessons to show that they have learned what we have taught them.

Product design lesson:

Material: KS4 teaching criteria (what we were given to make the lesson); lesson plan; presentation (introduction in manufacturing systems and activities); task sheet (task to do over the 3 lessons); success criteria (what the students are going to learn/achieve) and manufacturing systems hand out (for the students to keep in their books for revision).


Week 1: Teaching Art & Design

Introduction into:¬†“Teaching Art & Design”

Monday 15th January

On Monday, at Cyncoed campus, we discussed the module in more detail and were given information regarding safeguarding. This is an important aspect of working within a school and since we haven’t been in a position of authority within a school before, it’s important to learn the correct procedure should we be in a position where we hear of the potential risk of safety of a child. Later in the day, we underwent practice lessons where in groups we each taught a lesson to the rest of the class. In my group, we decided to teach a continuous line drawing lesson which we felt wasn’t a difficult task to teach though we were face with the challenge of having to deal with ‘disruptive students’ as they were told to act like loud children. I found this task a bit difficult purely because it was to a group of people our age and who we knew so I couldn’t take it totally seriously. However, at the end of the day I was looking forward to going into the school. I decided that I wanted to spend my placement in a design and technology department because I have already spent time in a school observing the art and design department so I wanted to try something else to see the contrast between the two subjects. I definitely want to become a teacher but I haven’t decided which area I want to teach since I can do either so I want to use this time in school to compare each department.


Cowbridge Comprehensive (secondary school)

Tuesday 16th – Wednesday 17th

The first day we were greeted by our mentor Matt who is a Design and Technology teacher. There is myself, Lydia (Textiles) and Aviva (Textiles) at this school. At the beginning of the day we had a tour of the design and technology department which I was really impressed by. The department consists of Food, Textiles and Resistant Materials with further subjects being taught at GCSE and A-level. The department has amazing facilities, a lot of what the university has, so it’s incredible seeing young designers exposed to that level of machinery. The school is really big with around 1500 students attending the school from 11-18 years old; the majority of the buildings are brand new having built new buildings a few years ago. It’s been really interesting so far coming back into a different school, it’s a completely new experience; especially when it’s been 4 years since leaving. I’m looking forward to spending the next 4 weeks here and learning a great deal about teaching and whether or not it’s the right career for me.

On the first day, Matt took us through the teaching module brief sent by the uni and explained what it was we were going to be doing. He gave us a sheet from the KS4 teaching syllabus and told us to begin planning for a lesson. The idea is that as a group we will create a lesson and give it to a teacher who will teach the class to a group of year 10 students. Throughout the day we began working on this and followed this task through to the Wednesday. We decided to pick through parts of the syllabus to teach, all under the heading of ‘manufacturing systems’. This is a very large part of the syllabus we were given with the criteria being: “the advantages/disadvantages of producing single one-off products”; advantages/disadvantages of producing products in limited quantity (batch production)” and “advantages/disadvantages of high volume, continuous production”. We’ve researched information on this and created a presentation on this information to deliver, we also created an activity based on the information. We used particular colours to help them remember the information and used a font that was clear to read. There is also a hand-out I created – for the students to keep for revision – that follows the same font and colour schemes so that it furthers the idea of students retaining the information. We have also been told to set a task based on the topic and the idea I have for this is to give them a pass paper question on the manufacturing systems. It isn’t the most fun task to do but since they are KS4 and prepping for the end of year exam, I feel that it would be useful to be given a previous exam question to test their knowledge so far and learn what a potential real-life question would be. With what has been done so far, I feel that would just about fill a lesson or maybe only be enough for half the lesson so I definitely think more content needs to be covered. We have been told that we have 2 lessons to teach this in so one could be for content and the other a practical applying their knowledge. I will now work to think of a practical task that can link to informing more about manufacturing systems.

Thursday 18th January

Pupil trail

Today we were each given a year 7’s timetable where we had to follow their lessons and observe each class they were in. This task was about going into completely different lessons, learning how each teacher controls and teaches the class and to also find out how different students respond to different teachers. I really enjoyed this day and going into different classes. Throughout the day I was with most of the same students and though they were mostly really well behaved, it was interesting to see how they reacted differently to different teachers/lessons. Each class followed a very similar routine with it being primarily teacher-less and a task was given each time new information was given. Considering they were year 7’s, a lot of the lessons filled a lot of content which they seemed to be responding well to. The art and English lessons had a lot of control over the class and all students seem full engaged in what they were doing; I did find that particularly with the art lesson, a lot of the fun was taken out of it and it was very technically bases; however students seemed to be engaged in what they were doing. The history lesson was an interesting one as though the lesson was well taught and students were responding well, it was a very disruptive group of children so there was lots of chatter and I noticed a few students weren’t keeping up with the pace of the class. It was interesting to see how the teacher dealt with it as though there was disruption throughout from students talking, she seemed to keep good control and maintain that they were completing tasks ahead. The last lesson was French which was my favourite throughout the day. I thought that the teacher was brilliant in ensuring that the children were engaged in the lesson and completing the tasks she lay out. It was difficult what they were learning and I learned afterwards from talking to the teacher at the end of the lesson that the syllabus they were now teaching year 7 is what they would have initially introduced in KS4. So though it was clearly a difficult syllabus they were being taught, everyone seemed to be keeping up with it and the teacher taught it in a really fun and engaging way. Walking around I noticed people at different abilities but the teacher ensured that they were getting extra attention/help which I thought was really great considering the class was big.

Overall, I learned that different teachers have their own unique style of teaching and that students can respond to the teachers differently. One thing that the teachers do have in common is that they are reluctant to give answers to students questions; so if the student asks a question they work for the student to answer the question themselves which I think is a really great skill to learn. Also another thing is that they didn’t just stand at the front of the class and feed information, they walked around and were really interactive with the students. I feel that this is particularly important and will definitely take this forward. I learned that it’s clearly very important to gain respect from the students but also to ensure that they maintain that respect. I felt that the pupil trail was really interesting and definitely beneficial in terms of help for planning our own lesson.

Lesson observation sheets: Pupil trail

Are You Sitting Comfortably?


Overall this has been an enjoyable but extremely stressful project. It has been a great opportunity to create something that I would never have created otherwise and to be able to learn how to use new equipment which I will definitely continue to use in my subject. Having said that, it’s also been a real challenge and I have felt very much out of my depth at a lot of points. I have never created any 3D of this scale so to have to create this chair without the help of my partner has been really difficult. It’s frustrating that I didn’t have the help of my partner in the 2 crucial weeks of making because he is an Artist Designer Maker so knows more about 3D work than I do so it would have been useful to have his help. I have relied on the help of tutors to be able to create the chair it is now and I have really learned a huge amount about 3D work that I never knew before.

Despite struggling throughout the making of this project, I have worked incredibly hard on this chair and I’m really happy with the outcome. I think you can see clearly where my inspiration has come from in the forms of my design and I have had a good response from the people around me in that they recognise the shapes it’s supposed to be. It was definitely great to hear that Fiaz liked the chair and would like to have it because it has made the project worth while. Having to create a chair for someone so important within the university has definitely added pressure to the project to create a good piece of work but it has clearly paid off. I’ve enjoyed having the opportunity to create an item for a client because I never done anything like that before so has been a good experience in that sense. I will be taking everything that I have learned within this project into my further projects in my subject; there are a lot of adaptable skills I can use within my practice as a graphic communicator.


Are You Sitting Comfortably?

Photographing the client

Along with the chair, I photographed my client with his chair. I had some great feedback from Fiaz for the chair. He really liked it, even the little prototype that I’d made and he would like to have both of them! It was brilliant feedback and made the hard work I’d put into creating the chair worth while. Both of the chairs are not ready in terms of finishing and need a lot more sanding until I’d be happy for someone to have them. Though I need to have a secondary material, I have taken the decision to not include one. Due to timescale and the fact that I am now doing this project on my own, there is no way I’d have enough time to finish the chairs and create a secondary object for them both. I want to focus on making sure both the chairs are at a point I happy for someone else to have.


I tried to get the write angle so that there was a right balance between the chair and the client. The chair is the main focus so I need to ensure that you could see it well. This was difficult between the chair was covered quite a bit but I did get a really good angle of the side of the chair.

For the poster, I wanted to illustrate the name of the chair to represent the hand craft element to the design. I also wanted to incorporate my skills as a graphic designer when designing the poster. I decided to call my chair ‘Teithiwr” which is Welsh for traveller; unfortunately by not having a secondary object I’m unable to show the incorporation of the different cultures idea so I thought that by calling it a Welsh name I could reinstate that element so that there is a slight link at least.