Another experience I had was a Frederick Bird School originally it was for once a week to come in and assist in the photography class. My duties were:
1. Maintain and charge the school cameras ready for each lesson;
2. Prepare teaching materials , eg Powerpoints, for lessons;
3. Initiate ideas for future activities for students;
4. Work with small groups of students to support them in using the cameras effectively and taking quality photographs;
5. Discuss student’s work highlighting it’s qualities and areas of improvement;
6. Support the school and students in preparing for an exhibition to highlight the school’s vibrant and diverse community;
7. Inspire students by speaking to them about studying for a degree at university.
I worked with Jenny Stonely to plan the lessons and during the lessons. The class had an age range between 7-11 years old, so the language had to be quite basic in order for children of all ages to understand it.
From the initial meet with the teacher I would be working for I had ideas on ways to make the class engaging and different lesson ideas. I knew children would respond to long exposures because the process would be fascinating with a small amount of difficulty (because you have to draw your picture backwards).
I also thought back to days when I learnt about composition and what would be enough simple enough for the children to understand it:
- Angle: Looking up at a person is giving them power and looking down lessens their importance.
- Shapes make a photo more interesting
- Lines: vertical, horizontal, diagonal and wavy.
- Rule of thirds? (Could this be easily explained?)
A typical lesson would be:
- Jenny and I would show a powerpoint containing the best of the previous week’s work and what we’re going to do that day (usually including examples of our own work)
- Cameras given out to pairs
- Children take the photos whilst Jenny, Nicky, the teaching assistant and I watched over, giving help and being unwilling models!
- Collect cameras back in.
- Nicky would finish the lesson asking how the children found it.
Over the weeks Jenny and I covered a variety of topics:
- Angling the camera, and what that means.
- Framing within a photograph
- Basic composition: lines, shapes and rule of thirds.
- Long exposures (or as some of the children said explosions)
- Underwater photography
- Themes like red/read, happy and jump.
- Framing your photograph, where the children made their own frames
I really enjoyed these lessons, it was made it so worth while when seeing one girl’s face when Jenny and I put her photo up on the board as one of the best from the week before, I know this improved her confidence, especially because she needed it.
Some of the photos the children took were (I have to use photos without the children’s faces for legal reasons):
Besides this once a week lesson Jenny and I were asked to come in for a special three days to work with year fives (9-10 year olds) to help them prepare for a display in the new build for the school. In the stairways for this new build they are going to have four word: achieve, believe, imagine and aspire. Next to these words will be quotes, the aim of the three days was to create photographs in response to these photos.
For this Jenny and I created a rough lesson plan:
Nicky was really impressed with this and actually it worked really well and we pretty much stuck to it.
We had to prepare a few more presentations for the three days but we could use some of the composition presentations we had used before. Some of the children in this class were a little more boisterous and noisy, at times it was a struggle to get them to listen but I quickly learnt ways of doing so.
Examples of work:
In both lessons we tried to teach them about rule of thirds and they managed to understand it and in some cases they started to quote it back to me. “If it is on the cross that makes a better photo!” This was something I learnt through this placement – how to simplify complex things, and how to talk to the students but in a non-patronising way.
At the end of the three days Jenny and I interviewed the children, here is snippets from each: (note I haven’t used any visuals to keep the children’s identities)
I really enjoyed the experience at Frederick Bird, I loved working with the children. I found it so much more easier to think of lessons and to make them engaging for the children. It has made me wonder if I want to be a primary school teacher, it is a possibility but I don’t think I could teach science or maths lessons and make them engaging enough. This makes me wonder if I could be a sort of guest teacher for primary schools to teach photography. I definitely think I could do that and enjoy it.
I asked Nicky for an interview:
What I learnt:
- How to talk to children, making complex things basic.
- Preparing lessons
- Helping children keep their attention and to listen during class.
Days: 7.5= 2.5 extra days + 5 friday afternoon