Flockynockynihilipilification is a word that my partner taught me when we first met about 36 years ago. English graduates have their uses, although this is quite probably the first and I suspect the only time I will actually write the word down – let alone attempt to explain its meaning ! It actually means, the act of making somthing seem worthless or without value and having read the statistics for this blog I am beginning to wonder. On my best day ever, I had 32 hits on the blog and on the worst NONE ! I have only been doing this since the beginning of the month but I’m already having serious doubts !
As a former teacher, I have regularly spent the later half of June writing Course Reviews, which entail analysing the results. This may sound like counting your chickens before they’re hatched but with creative subjects its possible to do this, as the teachers mark the coursework and the exam work. It is internally moderated and we have a visit from an external moderator, who tweaks the marks, but largely speaking the marks are usually pretty sound. I digress, during the writing of the reviews we agonise over the results and justify them. Sadly the public sector is in such a dire state, with massive funding cuts, that the colleges are forced to enrol students who are clearly not up to the rigours of academia and this is simply to satisfy the demands of the electorate.
The problem is nationwide with colleagues around the country being faced with the same issues. When writing course reviews, self doubt creeps in and teachers are considered entirely accountable for the results, no matter how many hurdles are placed in front of them ! Reflection is essential aspect of teaching and in order to write successful schemes of work that stretch and challenge your students you must first determine the strengths and weaknesses of both your students and yourself as a teacher.
By the end of May most art teachers are on their knees. Coursework was considerered to be a good option for students who underperformed in exams (for whatever reason) and in art the exam is only worth 40% of the marks – consequently the coursework, which is worth the remaining 60% of the marks, has to be of a very high callibre. Each year, when the results are published, we are informed by the media how easy it is to achieve high grades in A Levels – well I have a challenge for the journalists – put your money where your mouth is and sign up for an A Level Fine Art, Graphic Communication, Textiles or Photography and see for yourselves just how much work is required to gain a pass, let alone to gain the very best grades ! I would certainly not want to be a student again nor a teacher particularly with all this accountability that is forced upon us. I realise that other professions face similar issues and levels of recrimination but how many others face such self doubt ?
Back to those statistics about my blog – I really don’t care how many people read the blog but it’s always nice to be appreciated – teachers have thick skins but a few more “likes” and a few more “followers” might be nice !
PS Humble apologies to those who thought all my blogs were going to be about art and design – the next one will be !