Bob Bailey

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19th July 2018
by Michael Robert Bailey
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Immanuel Kant – the Conflict of the Facilities (1798)

This is a philosophy conference paper by Professor Stephen Palmquist. Describing conflict as a necessary concept where its purpose is to create peace by working with it and in opposition. The paper sees the University as a site of “peaceful conflict” that is ideally placed to “encourage our governments to adopt policies of engagement that promote balance and mutual respect between different nations.” Hostilities and war should be resolved peacefully by a laid out a framework of principles (dependant on if both parties want to work with them); many are not adhered to.

Does God exist? AmI free? Will I somehow continue to exist after my body dies? We can never fully become what we believe God want us to be. These seem to me to be quite controversial statements for an address at Conference in Tehran in 2015 especially as from a philosopher. Considering that the writings of Kant had a major influence in the foundations of the United Nations. Written 5 years after the regicide of Louis XVI and his wife it was a fine time to question authority’s hold over it’s 18th Century State run Universities. Prussian teaching consisted of 4 faculties: Law, Medicine, Theology (all training the professionals) and Philosophy (to educate and examine the other faculties in their reasoning). So Philosophy engaged in creative conflict with the other 3 ‘higher’ faculties. As the 3 higher faculties trained and had influence on the populace their teachings were regulated by the State, answer to it, and therefore cannot be concerned with ‘Reason’; not so with Philosophy thereby providing checks and balances from within. The freedom of thought that philosophy enjoys comes could belie its irrelevancy – Philosophy is a Judge without any practical Jurisdiction. The State has no authority over it because it has no practical interest in mere Reason itself is there still a conflict?

Theology versus Philosophy… surely God can’t be questioned; the word of God can only be interpreted.

Palmquist’s introduction of terrorism into the pot suggests that Philosophers are not living up to Kant’s findings; that they are responsible for balancing the natural framework that Society lives within (and under) but are not loud enough. They are today’s peace keepers that should be promoting the re-balance between authorities representing different cultures.

Philosophy? Let’s call it Faculty of The Arts where everything that the other Faculties do can be debated, questioned, stolen, manipulated all to its own benefit. Is this too basic an assumption? It does, though, encourage independent thought before action.

This was not an easy read for me. I understand the principals but have a feeling of being left shortchanged or empty-handed by it. It does, in context with Whitehead and Aoun give me an understanding of how far we have travelled in terms of reasoning, communication, imagination and critical theory – so it’s been useful but not easy !

19th July 2018
by Michael Robert Bailey
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Alfred N. Whitehead – Universities and their Function (1929)

The larger the university gets the more imagination it needs to continue to develop, continue with it’s ‘processing’ of students, continue to attract students due to the health of it’s ability to teach, to open one’s eyes to the unseen.

Students can learn by reading a book, watching a TED Talk presentation, watching YouTube, talking to friends/associates all without the input from a University. So what can a University provide? Staff experienced in a particular subject, peer learning (the more a student can see what others are producing from the same brief can be a major advantage from working alone), workshop facilities, seeing other departments and possibility of sharing these to create something blended and new.

I was intrigued by the paragraph where Whitehead talks about ‘freshness’; “knowledge does not keep any better than fish” is one analogy that I will remember; I teach very young students skills and impart my knowledge and experience from the past 25 years; this experience has changed in the recent past and my Profession has changed dramatically in the last 10 years… am I keeping up to date with my knowledge? Am I teaching students old stuff which will be of no use or relevance to them when they graduate? I can freshen up by researching modern techniques use din my professional practice AND I can freshen up my approach to how I talk about and relate to my old techniques.

Interesting to think about progression of knowledge needing ‘scholarship, discovery and invention’;  scholars, discovers and inventors.

Also interesting to think of Universities harbouring very efficient pedants and dullards. There’s no rule book on how to teach successfully (or is there? Can I read it please?) as we are all so very different in our characters and the way we communicate our subjects. But the amount of generic ‘stuff’ is confusing and negates a clear understanding in my humble opinion.

His critical dig at Businesses and governments where their rules and policies can not be levelled at Universities simply to produce good usable stock of workforce. The flag waving summary made me feel a little queasy but he trod quite a precarious path of having to appease the Businessmen awaiting to snap up the graduates and the students who want to be snapped up but also need the time at University to flourish, their brains to expand, their critical thinking developed, their naivety to be challenged and their imaginations to be expanded. This should never have been allowed to happen during their most formative years at primary and secondary schools – getting a grade is one thing; learning is another.

 

19th July 2018
by Michael Robert Bailey
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First Presentation – 6 minute presentation on who are you, who are your students

Presentation 6 minutes

an abridged version of the full powerpoint (due to small file size on a blog)

 

 

Presentation text:

Hello fellow students and Lecturers….

May I welcome to you to the premiere of:

  • 1# curtain

“The Bob Bailey Show”   Ta-da….

  • 2# bob bailey show

The year was 1966; Harold Wilson was Prime Minster and during the World Cup Last Round match of that year…

  • 3# applause and curtain open

just before ½ time – the Midwife called out from Mum and Dad’s East Ham, East London bedroom “Are you gonna come up and see the birth of your baby, Mr Bailey?”

So my Dad waited for ½ time and then scarpered up the stairs to witness the successful birth of me; a blood covered bonny baby weighing 64lbs (no, wait; that included the Midwife’s Medical case)…

  • 4# baby on scales

My Dad asked if the baby and Mother were doing well and as soon as he was told both were – he ran down the stairs to see England beat France   2 goals to Nil    going all the way to lift the World Cup (for the very last time EVER)

  • 5# england fans

I was a bit of a loaner and not an altoghter well little chap. I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes 9 years later. School life was okay, my Mum and Dad cared and supported me with the subtle love of the working Class.

  • 6# kids in the street

I wouldn’t play games with my older brother; I was never sports minded (a result, I believe, of my Dad’s rather short lasting interest in the my birth) and, somehow, I found going to the Theatre with my Mum a great thrill. She would take me to the Christmas shows at The London Palladium and, as a rare treat, would see a Musical (once every 5 years or so). I was fascinated by the magical world that I saw in front of me, all happening in real time but transporting from one world to another, with colours and costumes that I’d never witnessed before… I was “Hooked” (to use a Disney expression)

  • 7# Palladium

I made my own little theatre from chipboard and dowel, bicycle lamps and coloured sweet wrappers as lighting gels.

  • 8#   model theatre

It had a fly tower and a revolving stage and I would play for hours and hours putting on shows for no-one.   I obviously wouldn’t grow up to be a Producer or an Actor!

In my last year at comprehensive secondary school my previous Art Teacher asked if I wanted to take the Art ‘O’Level exam; he gave me the key to the studio and I spent my lunch hours painting and drawing on my own with no tuition. I was very surprised that it was one of 8 exams that I passed.

And I ended up with 5 job interviews;

4 Banks and

  • 9# logos

An Engineering Company

On being offered all of the jobs I needed to choose so I phoned each one up…

Midland took too long to answer the phone so I crossed that one off,

Nat West couldn’t tell me which branch I would be sent to so that one was off the list

The Bank of England said I would be burning old scrapped £1 notes which formed the heating system for the entire building so I crossed that one off,

Matthew Hall Engineering Company said I would be sent off to the North Sea to stay on an Oil Rig for over 6 months

  • 10# oil rig

I get sea sick and I’m afraid of heights so I thought “that ain’t gonna work”

So that left Lloyds Bank, where I was posted in Marylebone High Street rubbing shoulders with rock stars and Judges, Fashion Designers and Old dears with Purple rinsed hair… I lasted there for 3 years then went to another bank but resigned after 2 ½ years when I was told that Diabetics would not be included into the non-contributory Pension Scheme. Onto another bank…

  • 11#   suited man with briefcase

During that time I had been designing Amateur Theatre Company shows and had enrolled in an evening class at The City Lit to learn more about Theatre Design. It was at there that a fellow student said “Why don’t you do this for a living; you’ll need to study at BA level but I think you can do it”…

  • 12#  sketch of crow

So I prepared a very simple portfolio: I had no life drawing so I copied a book I bought, added some photos and sketches of my Am. Dram. designs and also made a model box and Set Design and drew costume designs for Arthur Miller’s All My Sons

  • 13#   model tree

At the interview I was told that my model trees were rather ‘mickey mouse’ (to which I replied that I had heard that Central Saint Martin’s taught all Students how to design the best trees in the world), but that my designs showed promise and my life drawing was fantastic…

  • 14#   oh no

On receiving my acceptance letter from CSM I had to tell my parents who were horrified. “What do you wanna study THAT for? You’ll be working wioth all those poofs !! Oh dear; how little did he know that THAT was one of the many reasons why I DID want to study it !

  • 15#   julian and sandy

So, I started my 3 year BA course at a fantastic College, in a fantastic central location, with fantastic fellow students and met some amazing Theatre Professionals. I graduated in 1993 and went straight into assisting many top-notch Theatre Designers for 2 years. I applied to the Arts Council for a Theatre Design Bursary and was amazed when they said I was to work at The Bristol Old Vic for a year.

  • 16#   translations

Yup; I popped several cherries and had a brilliant time there, returning to London to set forth as a Freelance Theatre Designer.

  • 17#   dick whittington

So 22 years of Theatre Design experience I have designed operas

  • 18#   don giovanni
  • 19#   tosca
  • 20#   macbeth
  • 21#   fedora

dance pieces for the Royal Ballet:

  • 22#   all nighter
  • 23#   all nighter costumes
  • 24#   Blood and rosemary  

Classic drama:

  • 25#   An Inspector calls
  • 26#   Strangers on a train
  • 27#   The Importance of Being Ernest
  • 28#   An enemy of the people

and new plays:

  • 29#   The empire
  • 30#   Bottle universe
  • 31#   Love Me Tonight
  • 32#   The Lieutenant of Inishmore
  • 33#   Moster Raving Looney
  • 34#   Reigen

and musicals:

  • 35#   Anything Goes
  • 36#   Cabaret
  • 37#   Never Forget
  • 38#   Rent

and devised works including DV8 Physical Theatre Company, working in most Theatres in England, and some in Scotland, Austria, Germany, Holland and Denamrk.

  • 39#   Edward Gant’s Amazing Feats of Loneliness
  • 40#   The Brothers Karamazov
  • 41#   DV8

I’ve also designed a TV show and was chief model maker for The Les Miserable Film.

  • 42# Les Miserable
  • 43#   assorted model making

meanwhile my health has deteriorated, the stress levels have increased, my hypo awareness isn’t great and the state of the Theatre Industry has become poorer, with less work being produced as Theatres Co-produce with other theatres which reduces the work for Directors, Designers, Writers and Actors alike.

  • 44# medicine, brexit, trump, etc

In 2015 I was asked by Nichola Fitchett, the then Pathway Leader of Theatre and Screen Design at CCW Foundation Course, if I was interested in helping out teaching her students. I agreed, remembering that my old CSM mates always said they learnt more from me than our Lecturers… I thought otherwise but believed I might need help with reducing how much dependance on freelance Theatre Designing I had.

  • 45#   lightbulb

So 3 years later and I’m still teaching at Foundation. I’m also involved with the INsights Programme and Widening Participation; teaching on Saturdays and during half term young newbies the skills and delights of Designing for the Stage and Screen. I have taught students for 3 weeks on the Summer School programme and have sarted helping out with Academic Support at Wimbledon College’s Theatre and Screen Design Departments.

  • 46#   CCW, Insights, WP, Academic support, study abroad

The current 67 students I teach at Foundation are, of course, a very mixed group.

  • 47#   flags

From different nations

  • 48#   theatre words

with different understandings

  • 49#   round and rectangular faces

very different outlooks

  • 50#   distinction merit

very different standards

  • 51#   money
  • 52#   fully booked
  • 53#   genius
  • 54#   fame

and very different ambitions

Our students may go on to study BA’s in a number of subjects such as Theatre Design, Costume Design, Production Design for Screen, Prop Making, Costume Making, Performance Artists and Designers, Hair Make-up and Prosthetics Designers, Scenic Artists, Puppeteers and Puppet and Mask making, Wig Makers etc. etc. etc.

  • 55#   phantom
  • 56#   queen of hearts
  • 57#   grand budapest hotel
  • 58#   harry potter head
  • 59#   rsc costume maker
  • 60#   performance design
  • 61#   muppets
  • 62#   hagred wig

Out of 67 Students we have about 15 who have mental health conditions that effect their concentration and attendance. Students suffer from stress, ADHD, Depression, Anxiety attacks, Diabetes, Dyslexia and Dismorphia. Some of these have not been declared but with the amount of Therapy and empathy that I have I hope I can help the students with their self-cofidence, their Design and making skills and help steer them to reach towards their ambitions.

  • 63#   happiness

Well, Ladies and Gents, my time is up and the plug will be pulled; It’s been a pleasure sharing my life with you in….   The Bob Bailey Show.

  • 64#   close curtains
  • 65#   that’s all folks and applause

 

 


 

The Powerpoint presentation lasted over the allocated 6 minutes.

I hadn’t had time to practice it in the room (it worked fine at home and lasted a few seconds over 6 minutes) and had a prepared text that accompanied the powerpoint.

So it went over the 6 minutes but I wasn’t allowed to continue to the end (it would have taken another 1 ½ minutes)…

The feedback from the group was really positive. It was “witty”, “gave a great insight as to who you are”, “was presented in a fun, entertaining way”

But it didn’t fulfil the brief as it went on too long, it did not talk about my students. The last 1 ½ minutes of the presentation was all about the students!

How very frustrated I feel; the time it took to do the powerpoint presentation (I have never made one before), writing the script and then having the nerve to stand infront of people to present it…

 

You live and learn !!

18th July 2018
by Michael Robert Bailey
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Joseph E. Aoun: “A Learning Model for the Future”

Aoun starts by quoting some people who work in Technology Industries that Technological jobs are in the ascendence and that the Human mind is being rendered an ‘economic relic’; is it’s a slippery slope to mass unemployment, perhaps yes, but these new technologies also create a wealth of jobs by replacing the jobs that they have themselves made redundant. These new technologies, through automation and  also create new work which benefit the less skilled. So the highly skilled will always be employ in work due to their increasing productivity… but Aoun goes on to say that we don’t yet know everything about our world or on our planet intact there are still many new things that we can discover, to write, create, solve – but will will have the tools to enable us?

There is a long history of education evolving to modify it’s output to take the working environment into consideration. So not merely happy with pumping out students into the workplace it has, on many an occasion, realised that it can help provide a workforce to enhance new technologies or ways of working. Can technology replace our creativity?

Education can not create genius’ but might assist vague talents into focused individuals (a rough semantic). Perhaps there are more geniuses as the population maintains its rapid incline over centuries but it is education that has enabled those, privileged enough to receive it or willing enough to use it, to climb further than they would.

J.P.Gifford’s ‘Convergent and Divergent thinking’ were terms I had not heard (actually I hadn’t heard of J.P.Gifford either). Convergent thinking relates to finding the single correct answer whilst Divergent thinking relates to a collection and shifting of ideas. Convergent could be seen as binary (associated with technology, machines and calculators) whilst Divergent can be seen as multitudinous (associated with creativity, play, risk, curiosity and sensitivity).

Schools teach using a rote system which is seen as Convergent; I teach facts: you answer the questions using these facts – where original thoughts are secondary to the answer. Higher Education uses an Independent learning philosophy where the student will be given basic instructions and will need to invest time and effort to research and develop a response where original thought should be considered the ultimate goal.

Victorian Education was elite; private arts for the rich, some reading and writing and maths for the poor (if they were lucky). So anyone with a bit of knowledge, can read, write and add up can work – it may have been in menial jobs that required little thought process but at least they fed the increasing spaces in the binary workplace. Nothing much has changed here except the need for more workforce to fill the ever increasing binary workplace.

 

Aoun writes about “New Literacies”; a power giver, a enabler of communication both technologically and human.

  • Technological literacy has been slow to adopt educational sectors. Coding may be more straightforward but the engineering and aligning  f both will need to be taken up more fully by Higher Educational institutions. Do curent lecturers know enough about both; I doubt it unless one has studied both recently. Coding has become just as, if not more, important than mathematics (calculators and smart phones have reduced the need to remember how to add, divide etc. etc.).
  • Data literacy covers the understanding and utilisation of data. Considering how many things are now ‘smart’ and ‘data storing’ there is a plethora of information that we can draw upon to enlighten us or interpret into something meaningful and useful – extrapolate for accurate predictions  medical, business, economic growth, need for new technologies).
  • Human literacy maybe considered the most important as it should allow us to communicate, engage, enlighten us through creativity. We do not live in a bubble so understanding how other humans react, use, understand, love, hold etc. etc. can help us to develop ideas using techniques such as brainstorming, negotiation and collaboration.Diversity, he suggests, is important to engage in considering that technology is treating society as one conglomeration then understanding the range of consumers, the range of cultures that make up this conglomeration will become more important especially if data analysis begins to treat us as equals; we are anything but equal. Human literacy can remind us of inequality, ethical and socio-political issues and help us make the right choices.

Cognitive Capacities:

To master a technologies world students, according to Aoun, need to master 4 cognitive capacities:

  • Critical Thinking – to analyse ideas and apply these productively (machines can do this but can’t imagine the next step or to combine unrelated data). Emotive, creative, instinctual skills are what separates a human’s critical thinking from well designed software for an app or data reservoir (though Humans aren’t infallible at misreading data (New Orleans Levee failures of 2005, Shuttle Columbia 2003).
  • Systems Thinking – Computers can be programmed to calculate much information from data is receives to relay answers that are quite specific to the question. They can not, though, think further as to how the data might be useful to many sectors as Humans can. ‘System thinkers’ can “tackle the problems that challenge us most” according to Aoun. So solitary data is not seen from an isolationist viewpoint but can become more beneficial by relating it to less apparent related data. It is a a web of factors that interact to create patterns and change over time. See Waters Foundation   https://www.watersfoundation.org/
  • Entrepreneurship – We need to distinguish ourselves (more so in this digital age). As our habits and needs evolve we lose jobs (machines taking over) but, through entrepreneurship, we make new ones. These can be socio, political, creative, scientific. All can bring emotional or monetary profits. Aoun quotes Desh Deshpande “There are three types of people in  heworld. There are some who are oblivious to everything, some who see a problem and complain, the rest see a problem and get excited to fix it”. Does this mean that an impoverished mind can not find a way out of this? It all seems rather bleak! Failure can be an enlightening factor and entrepreneurs understand that not all failures are unproductive and it’s less financially and emotionally risky to fail and learn at University than in the world ‘outside’. I try to tell my students that there is no such thing as a mistake as we can learn and develop our work using these odd travels as a springboard to something even more rewarding / inventive / extraordinary. I know that the students struggle with this concept but I will persevere.
  • Cultural Agility – Experience, cultural difference awareness, empathy, understanding and collaboration are all attributes that can, if used wisely, help us to develop in a kinder, smarter, resourceful way. Although the world seems smaller through the WWW it needs individuals or Companies to translate cultural differences (including class, creed and gender), immigration factors, natural resource wastage etc. Context is important and few machines can relate a context to a situation.

 

He goes on to discuss how we might teach; summarising by using jargons such as “cognitive capacities, pedagogical toolbox, thematic study, project based learning, real-world connections. To expose the underlying fabric of learning like turning a sweater inside out. The students need to know what is being studied, practised and acquired. To make process and learning goals clear to the students. So in my field of Theatre Set Design: a programme could map out how an assignment builds a students’ systems thinking skills whilst exposing students to relevant concepts of space, scale, engineering and health and safety regulations.  I could advise students of entrepreneurship by discussing networking, new technology, changing environments, changing attitudes of modern audiences. By combining several fields students would then be considered to leave the Convergent (learn by rote) to the more rewarding Divergent way of thinking.

I find that the article feels like we need to start resisting. Have we not already? However; with the size of UAL I feel uncomfortable that student numbers rise, the fees are not utilised well enough to teach or advise students as the classes are too big, we have less time to teach the students and the students are treated as customers and now worry about huge financial debts on leaving their course. How does Entrepreneurship fit within this, how can risk taking feel exciting? Maybe in a safe environment at College is enough for them to experience a bit of everything that Aoun suggests; my only hope is that we’ll have enough time in the day to supervise it, the vocabulary to explain everything, the contexts to aide.

‘Practice makes perfect’ ? Yes… up to a point (though I don’t agree that perfection exists). Get the students to get some work experience? No: I don’t believe in this as it undermines the current workforce, it’s seen as cheap (or free) labour and it is not entirely a useful practice as 2 or 4 weeks in a new working environment is hardly beneficial (except in learning communication skills and whether one is self-confident enough to survive for 4 weeks). it also stops graduates from getting permanent jobs as the employers realise they can get a steady stream of ‘work experiences’ with no outlay to the employer. So, to quote Aoun, we need to think of other ways to enable students to understand how “their acquisition of the new literacies and development of the cognitive capacities will serve them in their life goals – not simply as scores on a transcript.”

Aoun’s definition of Divergent Thinking as “playfulness, curiosity, and willingness to take risks.” are things I have always done in my own professional practice and therefore have always endeavoured to install this in my students. Binary technology can not, quite yet, replicate these ‘skills’; let’s strive to ensure that the students can stay one step ahead of Technological advances in these spheres.

There is nothing so useful to the young as experience; I aim to give my students as much as possible in the little time I have with them.

14th July 2018
by Michael Robert Bailey
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Elective Unit choice

To be quite honest; I hadn’t got a clue which Elective Unit I might have been interested in out of these…

  • Untitled-2.jpg     Academic Leadership – This was the furthest from what I wanted to learn (or to become) so I ran away from this Unit like a Usain Bolt.
  • Untitled-4.jpg     Curriculum Design – I was intrigued by this unit as I saw it as a way to understand how a curriculum could be formed or developed to ensure all students could be engaged. My concern was that I wasn’t in a position to question the status quo or to instigate or amend any of my practices’ curriculums (though this now sounds rather naive of me now).
  • images copy.jpg      Introduction to Practice as Research – After 25 years as a Theatre Designer I take a rather narrow minded view on research for the sake of research. Christopher Frayling’s academic paper on the differences on Art as a Practice or Research as Practice (and vice-versa) confirmed my beliefs that I far enjoy doing than thinking about doing. Academia is too far from my comfort zone.
  • Untitled-5.jpg    Learning for Sustainability – My own profession has a terrible track record in sustainability and I, as a Designer couldn’t research and develop my knowledge and awareness without hypocrisy.
  • Untitled-7.jpg       Supervising Research Degrees – This is way beyond what I cover in my teaching practice.
  • Untitled-3.jpg       Technology Enhanced Learning – I reasoned that I would probably get quite lot out of this unit but do not teach in a digital medium or use it to teach (I use Photoshop but that’s about my limit in my own professional practice) so I fear I would be out of my depth as soon as I started.
  • Untitled-6.jpg       Inclusive Teaching and Learning – which left this unit. I hoped that it would open my eyes as to how to engage, connect and enable students from all backgrounds and cultures which is what I sorely needed in my teaching practice on Foundation Course.

So I was to ‘critically explore current debates in the literature, policy and practice relating to inclusive curriculum design and assessment, teaching and supporting learning, and the wider institutional perspectives of an increasingly diverse population of students. I would engage with aspects of equality and diversity such as class, disability, internationalisation, and race and ethnicity, and consider theoretical models of diversity and social justice in higher education with a special focus on the integrated theme of pedagogies for social justice in Art, Design and Communication.’

The reading has been interesting and, at time, very dry (arid). Covering Gender, Faith and Race I felt, at times, that ‘Preaching / converted’ was ringing in my ears. Challenging reading material and some inspirational references are what helped me stay with it but there were times when I felt I would walk away. It has challenged some prejudices and has made me more reflective as to how my ‘easy colloquiums’ and presumptive short handed speed could confuse and alienate my students.

I bought a copy of the essential Inclusive Practices, Inclusive pedagogies; Learning from Widening Participation Research in Art and Design Higher Education by Bhagat and O’Neill published by Croydon: CHEAD (2011) and read some of it (I tend to find a lot of the academic references frustratingly stunting the rhythm of my reading), Books by Janette Ryan ‘Cross-Cultural Teaching and Learning for Home and International Students‘, and Welikala and Watkins thin tome ‘Improving Intercultural Learning Experiences in Higher Education’. All worthwhile but I felt distanced and rather ignorant and a bit ‘dense’ for not fully understanding the style in which most of these books are written. Listening to someone explain their view point or giving a lecture or powerpoint presentation has proved a lot less challenging for me (perhaps I’m partially dyslexic?) and this feeling has also helped me reflect on the fact that if I find myself feeling this way then there must be students who feel the same way. The idea is to not exclude the more academic and confident students at the expenses of the rest (which is usually expressed in the reverse).

13th July 2018
by Michael Robert Bailey
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Self Initiated Project – brief presentation / group discussion

After my first presentation (a powerpoint presentation of 65 slides with sound) failed the 6 minute brief miserably by being too long and not ‘sticking to the brief by not mentioning who your students are – I decided to not stick to the brief yet again by presenting my Self Initiated Project in ½ the time that I was supposed to. So reading out 2 A4 sheets of notes and research only lasted 5 minutes.

There was no padding (as in a few peer presentations), there was, I had perceived, a well thought-through suggestion/proposal. Answering the set questions and adding in suggestions of where I would be looking for research. I got a lot out of the input from 3 other group members (3 others had joined us too late for me to glean any reaction of my proposal). I’m not very comfortable playing by the rules. I like to know where my parameters are but then prefer to push these as far ‘out’ as I possibly can – obviously without causing any stresses or breakages. A “10 minute presentation followed by 10 minutes of group discussion” becomes, I had hoped, a 5 minute presentation followed by 15 minutes of group discussions… but there is no flexibility to allow this (even though I try to get my students to “think outside the box”, to “push boundaries”, to “look beyond the set brief to ensure you can engage fully”, “think independently”, “if you can’t be really good, be really bad” (the last of these is taken from Rod Judkins’ “The Art of Creative Thinking”, 2015, Sceptre Books); another minus point against my name.

I wanted to find out if Students wanted to use Digital tools to enhance their skills and if Digital media would gradually take over from practical skills altogether. Part of the reasoning of this is my own professional practice is somewhat dated compared to younger Designers working in Theatre Design where model making and manual technical drawings are seen as old fashioned, time consuming, expensive and, due to new software, redundant. So why would I continue to teach these skills?

The Tutor in the PgCert session suggested that I could take the opposite approach and look at the necessary manual skills that Students would be able to use if they chose, but couldn’t use them if they weren’t taught them (I’m paraphrasing like a madman here)… rather than be concerned that I, as a lecturer, am fearful of not living up to the Students expectations (my own perception; not theirs) by not having the ‘necessary’ digital skills in my head or at my fingertips then I am letting them down, I am a failing lecturer. So; what’s wrong with manual skills? how many students want to learn them? How many students have enough independent thought to work out what they need to learn, how they want to learn it, have the patience to learn it, enthused enough to want to learn it?

This has turned my SIP from front facing to now mirror and question my own self doubts about what I teach and why I teach it.

10th July 2018
by Michael Robert Bailey
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Summaries of Elective Discussion Group 22.06.18

A Question and Answer session involving Jheoni Airborne, Alex Burgess and myself set around the readings and questions that we had selected 2 weeks previously was only 2 thirds successful / developed due to Jheoni “oversleeping” therefore unable to join in to the conversations and findings of Alex and myself. Laura Davidson joined Alex and my discussion group but due to the last minute matching Laura listened intently asking a few things that rather clarified our questions rather than leading to further discussions.

 

Alex Burgess’ reading:

“From Blended Learning to hybrid Pedagogy” pushpullfork.com, internet Blog by Kris Shaffer, 18th November 2016.

https://pushpullfork.com/from-blended-learning-to-hybrid-pedagogy/

This blog entry related to the traditional forms of learning that might not relate to current practice or current behaviours. Choosing a technology based on its benefits to members of the dominant class or simply whatever class the developers belong to must exclude other people. “If we don’t constantly re-evaluate our educational purposes and our technological choices, we’ll end up wine-wineskin mismatched – tools and technologies lines up with someone else’s educational goals rather than our own”. It goes on to say that Digital media, unlike pencils and pen usage, requires a new strand of bullshit detection and that new computing skills become part of the curriculum and new methodology of Critical thinking become necessary. Hybrid and blended learning are also mentioned alongside quotes from Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed. It’s a long read and I got a bit lost but it gradually made sense through the questions that Alex had asked:

 

Q1:   As a left-hander using the technology of the fountain pen, Kris Shaffer experimented with the strategy of mirror writing, like Da Vinci. It made his writing neater, prettier, more even. What kinds of resistances have you had in using digital technology and what strategies have you developed to overcome them?

A1:  My Resistances:; learning it all, keeping up with the latest software. Not all students can or want to use it. The costs of software and upgrades / updates (for students). Teachers getting left behind in such a fast moving digital world. These points I raised weren’t truly answering the question as I found out when we discussed Alex’s questions. It was about the use of software that wasn’t truly useful to us… Perhaps ‘Moodle’ could be one type where the programme feels like it is aimed at helping and consolidating information but it is not truly user friendly or utilised by most students. Sound clips and video instructions can be uploaded but are rarely done by all Departmental lecturers. I had no examples of any strategies to overcome them apart from suggesting that I could be sent on more software courses to overcome my fear of getting left behind by constantly evolving digital technology…

Q2:  Shaffer talks about the difference of Blended learning (referring to the ‘place’ learning takes place – physical/virtual) and a Hybrid pedagogy (re-thinks our conception of place to be a more theoretical space, such as a conversation) and their relationship within a physical space. Do you consider the concept of ‘Space’ to be an important factor to students learning?

A2:  Can every student study at home? No (there is not enough space at CSM to have all 3 years of all departments in the building at the same time. Has every student learnt or possess the self discipline of independent learning? No. International students may benefit from study alone but we ask for engagement; how do we ‘keep an eye on’ our students progress if they interact digitally or outside the physical educational environment? Art and Design can, surely, be taught in a blended way but is this leaning towards Peer learning rather than Academic? In a modern, ever changing digital world; isolationism will become the ‘norm’. Does creativity cease its power in isolationism?

Q3:  In Shaffer’s example of digital storytelling/DS106 he explains why and how he used the Syllabus Sprint method to create the students briefs with active student engagement. Do you think the ideas of the students writing their own projects/briefs is an effective method of teaching, or is this already happening, and we have subconsciously developed “art/design and communication” subjects to perform in this fashion anyway?

A3:  Do students come to talk or to listen – why so binary? Why not both. I do believe that students should help write the brief but we need to throw out exam grades as everything becomes too subjective. What is the value of a dissertation when one can be purchased? Why mark the end result of a perfectly designed and constructed fashion garment when it may have been made by an employee?

 

 

 

Jheni Arboine’s reading:

http://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/384/3/frayling_research_in_art_and_design_1993.pdf

Christopher Frayling, Royal College of Art Research Papers Volume 1 Number 1 1993/4 – Research in Art and Design

A fascinating read about the definitions and changing attitudes to research. The OED shows that ‘research’ (small r) “an act of searching, closely or carefully, for or after a specified thing or person’ and ‘Research’ (big R) as “work directed towards the innovation, introduction, and improvements of products and processes” – research being used of Art, Research being used of Design. Using Picasso’s painting Les Demoiselles d’Avignon Christopher Frayling quotes Picasso as saying ‘When I paint, my object is to show what I have found and not what I am looking for’. By using his visual memories of a visit to the red-light district of Barcelona, Iberian sculptures in the Louvre, Cezanne’s Mont-Saint-Victoire he suggested that these references should not be confused with research (only art historians would think otherwise). He saw himself as a maker not a researcher. Referencing Hollywood films Frayling criticises the exaggeration and stereotyping of artists or engineers, George Stubbs researching on animal anatomy, John Constable’s  researches into cloud formation suggests research outside their realm, outside their own knowledge; Leonardo’s research can not be seriously referenced as research material as it has been greatly superseded by modern findings, modern technology, modern tools. So artists have worked just as often in the cognitive idiom as the expressive, that some art counts as research – anyone’s definition, that some art doesn’t. He quotes John Constable’s Royal Institution lecture of 1836 “…Painting is a science, and should be pursued as an inquiry into the laws of nature. Why, then, may not landscape be considered as a branch of natural philosophy, of which pictures are but experiments?” (Constable, John. (1836) Lecture Notes, May 26 & June 16, Artists on Art, op.cit, pp.270-273). Frayling goes on to write about the concept of design as research, applied research (resulting knowledge is used for a particular application) and action research (generates and validates new knowledge or understanding) and fundamental research. Research is often seen as existing outside studio design. Times have changed since teaching design using manuals and theoretical usage; it’s now an amalgam of the same manuals (albeit updated) but also pulling in strands from physics, mechanics, biology, anthropology and mathematics. The different strands of research into art and design (historical, aesthetic, theoretical perspectives), Research through art and design (materials, development work, practical experiments), Research for art and design. Higher and Honorary Doctorates are given to people with a distinguished body of work (both published and exhibited) but not for research degrees where the art is said to ‘speak for itself’. “How can I tell that I think till I see what I say?” (E.M. Forster’s Aunt talking to E.M. Forster) can become ‘How can I tell what I think till I see what I make and do?’ then becomes ‘How can I tell what I am till I see what I make and do?’

Jheni’s questions are:

Q1:  What do you understand by the meaning(s) of Research in this paper?

A1:  ‘Doing’ to broaden our view, ‘doing’ to confirm (or justifying) the view but is specific to a particular application. My summary above shows my understanding of the differences between actual and perceived research, the traditional values and methods of teaching compared to the discovery approaches of todays age.

Q2:  What ethical issues could be raised or considered?

A2:  Gender and race: how much research is available that is not white, male, christian? But I feel that research can lead to all things and should not, in context, be considered right or wrong. Grayling picks up on gender inequality in the paper by pointing out, in parenthesis; ‘always ‘his’, incidentally’ and ‘still it is usually ‘his” so it is clear that even he regards referencing rather abridged or restrictive – surely this makes research (whether large or small ‘R’) a limited experience in a historian setting, less so (but only marginally) in our modern age.

Q3:  How do issues of inclusive pedagogy apply to practice as research?

A3:  For practice it may be where to look, lecturers would/could steer student to places of research but only if the lecturer knows enough or has enough references that might cover a subject in all or any places or media. Reminding to advise students about the inclusivity factor in Research would be useful so that they do not ignore this or become very frustrated by the lack of historical references. Though I am not sure if I truly understand the question: Jheoni isn’t present to discuss this.

 

 

 

My own Elective sharing task was to ask Alex and Jheoni to watch a YouTube video  “Pay It No Mind”

It is a documentary about Marsha P. Johnson, a black, gay, transvestite, born in 1944, who moved to New York after being absued at an early age. She sat for a filmed interview on June 26th 1996 with subsequent additions by some of her friends. A brighter than bright extraordinary character who was a subculture in a subculture around Lower Manhattan in the 1970-80’s, an actor and activist (since 1969), a charismatic but impoverished guy in drag (“I never ever done Drag seriously. I never do it seriously. ’cause I don’t have the money to do serious Drag”) who felt more comfortable living as a woman than a man. She was one of the first to physically resist the Police who stormed Stonewall Inn (Christopher Street, The Village, NY) that fateful night June 28th 1969. A subject of a screen print by Andy Warhol in 1975 she would think more about helping others then herself. Her gay activism made her a more ‘interesting’ and enlightening figure in New York. Hustling on Broadway could make her $125 an hour, arrested for prostitution many times, castigated from Gay Pride marches in 1978 for being a transvestite – like being excluded from your own party ! Her Mother said that her son was lower than a dog for being homosexual. “I walk on the marches each year as we still don’t have all our rights” throughout the Aids Pandemic first noticed in 1982, creating an outreach for the homeless transgender community. Her body was found floating in the Hudson River in 1992, 4 days after the filmed interview. The police were not prepared to investigate another black gay person’s death.

A moving, nostalgic, inspirational documentary; often uplifting with humour and joie de vivre, caring and positive, generous and kind… 55 minutes representing an amazingly strong and selfless individual.

 

And so my questions seemed quite banal having to relate a life lead to pedagogy…

 

Q1:  Would you open up this presentation in your teaching practice?

A1: Alex replied that he struggled for the first 10 minutes or so watching the footage as he thought it was of little interest to him on so many different levels. However; the charisma of Marsha made him persevere and watched the entire 55 minutes right through.

Q2:  How would you open up this subject in your practice?

A2:  Alex probably wouldn’t due to his role in LCF. However he suggested that he might consider showing a snippet of the documentary at the start or just before the start of one of his sessions as a ‘taster’. It might be a warm-up video to get the students to quieten down at the start of the session and might lead to a Q&A briefly at the send of the session (depending on timings of the lecture that he is supposed to give during the session). This video could be part of a series giving far more impact to the subjects chosen; to invigorate discussions and debate within the group and to broaden the Student’s references to the outside world… this would certainly work for my own teaching practice in Theatre and Screen Design department.

Q3:  Is this subject ‘worthy’ to be discussed in your class or too passé?

A3:  Not an easy answer; not enough time to discuss this apart from ‘yes; it is worthy and relevant to the students but the film, as it stands, is too long.

 

No feedback received from Jheni. Laura couldn’t give much feedback as she hadn’t seen the video but agreed with Alex’s input that the format needed to be short and impactful and would work better if the students weren’t forced to see it but somehow ‘came across it’ playing as they entered the room and ran till the start of the session. Laura’s input was greater and more productive, though, than Jheoni’s and spoke about how the film of Marsha’s would be a great buffer at the start of the session recalling Alex who likened it to the techniques that Lindsay will use at the start of some of our sessions – as students settle down to get their attention and provide a discussion point and background to a day of working in the studio. She thought about how it could be used as a teaching aid, for students to discuss, develop critical thinking skills and get inspired by – but without too much pressure.

 

I wholeheartedly agree with these findings. I thought that the subject matter would have been found to be too specific or not relevant to other lecturers’ practice or subject matter so I was pleasantly surprised and it has made me think more about what subjects I might proffer my students as ‘little gestures of information, research, life coaching, history, references, artists that doesn’t refer to the subject that I teach.

9th July 2018
by Michael Robert Bailey
0 comments

running out of patience

It’s took me 3 hours to work out how to add more categories to my blog. No wonder I don’t have much time to read the stuff I’m supposed to read… If blogging was truly necessary to my teaching practice I might be less frustrated with it; yes, maybe I could do with more patience or perhaps consider that blogging might be necessary for my teaching practice in the near future (?)… but when I’m frustrated by my lack of understanding of some of the literature that I am reading on the PgCert (arid rather than dry); I’m finding the need to learn how to write and format a blog and workflow a bit of a drag on my brain cells and my time.

 

I’ve just spoken with Lindsay and now I feel an absolute fool as I didn’t refer it to the Moodle page! Doh  !! but my frustrations at these not being more simple and self intuitive linger.  Lindsay’s sample Portfolio for Workflow certainly saved much time than having to configure a blank page but this does not include loading PDF’s instead of Docx files to ensure that the viewer won’t have to download separate documents to read…

A suggestion would be to set up a full blog AND workflow learning session (there was a fast and simple ‘mass’ workshop before PgCert sessions started but this could be a much longer session and also covers workflow – if workflow will remain the required / suitable Portfolio viewing media. I will probably never blog again (I do not have a Facebook page or use any other social media) and I hardly think that workflow will be in my repertoire after I’ve done my year on PgCert.  The hours I’ve had to spend to self-learn these will be time I could have used more productively as I’m getting old and value my time more so.

 

Rant over.

 

 

no; it’s not…

Now I can”t align several images on my blog; I’ve tried for 4 hours to align 8 images to a grid but to no avail… so one post looks a little odd with, what looks like Spanish moss !

30th May 2018
by Michael Robert Bailey
1 Comment

Inclusive Teaching and Learning in Higher Education – Race – Task 1: Shades Of Noir

  • When were you first aware of whiteness and how does whiteness affect you on a daily basis (if at all)?

I am somewhat embarrassed to say that I have only considered whiteness since starting the PgCert. This sounds rather shameful but, I suspect, not shocking. I went to a Secondary school in a predominately black (now Asian) area of East London so I never thought colour of skin was ‘questionable’ or specific. Yes I gave it little thought whilst I worked in Finance when I left school as I had black colleagues, we socialised etc. When I went to CSM to study my BA I noticed the lack of diversity in the College but the term ‘whiteness’ or diversity was never broached. It was middle class, whiteness; 24 of us. The College’s Diversity policy has changed but I suspect that the College’s attitude to money took precedent over diversity when I was a student in the early 90’s. I am frustrated by the ratio of overseas students in relation to BAME students. Does whiteness affect me now? Yes – I give more teaching time (albeit in minutes) to non-white students due to trying to help the attainment figures to improve… I often think this foolish to think how little difference I might make; I think it stems from guilt. I look at the ratio of BAME students and think ‘What can I do to enrol or entice non-white students to start on an Arts Education without any direct contact to schools’? I do help out on the UAL Insights and WP programmes which have helped open possibilities for BAME students and to see some students enrol at BA level energises me to do more.

  • What actions do you take to practice anti-racism?

Racism at the Foundation Centre? Does my whiteness blind me to micro aggressions or deafens me to imperceptible mutterings? I treat everyone as I would like to be treated; with respect and understanding, with empathy and kindness. The Prevent Duties have led to presentations in the Class that would not have, previously, appeared to have a relevance; we are now sharing our concerns, sharing our ideals and our students lead the way.

  • How do you manage the trauma of seeing evidence of hate practices and crimes (environmental/personal lives/educational setting/media)?

I get very upset. I ask myself how can humans be so cruel to each other. But I feel powerless and too insignificant to help change. I have never witnessed any race crimes in person but have witnessed gender hate crimes. My empathy steps in to help victims but rarely have I gone to the source for fear of violence. I have fought with words rather than fist. The trauma fades due to ‘life’ taking over… yes; I’m aware that this is self-protection which doesn’t help the victim or the repeat of the crimes.

  • Have you recognised or identified ingrained beliefs that stem from whiteness in yourself (environment and/or personal lives or educational setting) and what does this mean to you?

I had many black friends at my Secondary School. We were streamed like a secondary school. My friends were CSE, I was in O’Level class. I was aware of how many more black students there were in the 2 CSE classes compared to the 2 predominantly white cohort O’Level classes. I was naive and didn’t question this but assumed that the students parents showed little interest in them. They were mostly interest in Sports education rather than academic subjects. I ignorantly put this down to genetics not thinking for one moment that I was being taught by white, middle class teachers who had not thought of the difference in our backgrounds, how role models were mostly, if not all, white in History, Sciences, Arts, Language, Religious and Maths classes. Now working in Theatre industry I have seen a gradual change in perception of colour (and gender and sexuality). It does not represent the national ratio but at least, at present, it is moving in the right direction. Several productions I have designed have been written for Black Actors but so few are ‘available’ and therefore black actors are in high demand that white actors have been cast instead – so the work is there but there are simply not enough BAME actors.

  • Where in the Creative curriculum have you or would you consider topics surrounding whiteness or construction of race?

I could ask the students if they have had any discussions in their previous education as to race and whiteness or if studying in Higher Education is the only place that it has been mentioned. How do we deal with whiteness without patronising white students into guilty conscientious or is that simply the point? To re-dress the balance; to challenge the unchallenged? To make visible the visible?

  • Had you either experienced or witnessed the effect of micro aggressions and how did you manage it?

I was advised of 2 Lecturers working in Design Department at Foundation Centre who wanted to mix up the class so that the students could talk to each other, or talk to those that had not spoken together before. The students who were mixed up were, predominantly, Chinese who rarely spoke English in the class. The 8 Chinese students who all sat together were asked to sit with “someone else in the class” knowing that they were being asked to sit with someone who did not speak Mandarin. The brief was set but within 30 minutes the 8 students had returned to their original table and they worked together on the project. An act of impassive micro aggression on behalf of the Lecturers or is this more to do with communication skills and timidity than racism? I would like to engage with International students far more than I feel I am able at present. I need to find a way of ensuring that the students are comfortable and in a safe environment to allow this and to are able to feel included in the class.

  • Where does whiteness sit within a post-racial world?

It is NOT a post-racial world. We look to America and realise whiteness has stepped back onto the podium. We look to our own Parliament and realise that the UK puts Sexism before Racism. Whiteness in European Countries will  take several more generations to shift…

 

Having Shade of Noir as a reference point helps tutors, students, academics, businesses and bystanders to share approaches, start conversations, air unspoken truths and make the visible visible. By having a digital interface to refer students to (especially the live Tweet feed) will help acknowledge the changes that still need to be made. Allowing the students to share their heritage, their experiences and backgrounds and to use these to inform their own work regardless of the briefs that have been set could open up everyone’s understanding and development. By sharing we become stronger. By opening up my references and modifying my teaching practice I would hope to have an influence in levelling the playing field for everyone. There are many avenues to reference and research in this goal; Responsibility of whiteness, Experience of whiteness, White fragility, Transcending racial oppression, Pedagogies of social justice, White privilege, Creative cultural currency, Institutional racism, Colonisation, White ally-ship, Micro aggressions, Creative liberalism. I can no longer hide behind naivety or ignorance.

29th May 2018
by Michael Robert Bailey
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Inclusive Teaching and Learning in Higher Education – Race – Task 2: Hahn Tapper: A pedagogy of social justice education: social identity, theory and 
intersectionality.

Well, Hahn Tapper is not for the faint-hearted. The academic approach to forming sentences which, generally, quote theory after theory have left me quite confused. But I’ve struggled through and have tried to get the gist of Intersectionality and Social Identity Theory.

 

#1  Create experiences for the Students WITH them, not FOR them.

This is a concept that I understand but have seen little evidence of it. I note that the method I was taught throughout my entire history of Education was by the Rote Learning method. Teachers would tell me what I needed to learn (Banking System of depositing information into a Student’s Brain account). My homework was a disaster (where I was supposed to think independently but found it difficult to apply the lessons into other forms) but I passed all my exams. The teachers may not have known that they were in a position of power, merely teaching us. But it is suggested that Teachers and students’ could or should engage in habitual, critical reflection, a model that takes into account their identities – equal terms ?

I understand and acknowledge that the students have a history of experiences and we, as teachers, should listen to these and take the diversity of these experiences on board within the classroom. I’m unsure if “Teachers and Students identities would ever be tied to one another in an interlocked relationship” (Rozas 2007) but terms such as “Intergroup Work”, “Conflict transformation”, “Affirmative Contact” (“Contact Hypothesis”) and “Social Identity Theory” leave me cold, wiser, but cold.

We need to know out students if we are to teach ‘with’ them not ‘to’ them. How we, as teachers, can implement briefs in such a way that they are inclusive to all 65 students in one class is a huge challenge. Yes; sort them into groups (but keep them all inclusive), sit and study their backgrounds, sit and chat with them for a few hours individually for only then we can teach with, not to, them.

I am not against the theory or, indeed, the practice: but I am completely bamboozled by the pragmatics.

 

#2   Education is used to presume the Status Quo.

The Social Identity Theory (SIT) suggests we should “not [aim] to get power, but to reinvent power” (Hahn Tapper, A. J. cited in Evans, Evans, and Kennedy 1987, 226). We should be transforming the stars quo rather than perpetuating it. Education should be utilised to enhance freedom and choices rather than exert a restriction or boundary or hierarchy. I bring with me a set of beliefs, understandings and reasoning but they are on my own terms not shared by anyone else so why am I continuing to teach students ‘in my own image’, with my own baggage, my own limited experiences? Hahn Tapper (2013) suggests that by imposing my own set of “ideological based set of information on the students” I should be creating opportunities for students and guiding them to “teach one another about social identities and intergroup dynamics using critical thought”; to steer and re-address the status quo by a democratic process rather than a dictatorship.

Steering discussions within a group of students will be a new experience for me. I can throw in curved balls, Rubik’s cubes etc. but I would need to ensure that references are all inclusive. Since starting to teach I have assumed that the students have instincts, imagination, their own histories but lack the tools to express these. I find it interesting to consider changing the ‘status quo’, the existing order of things, present customs, practices, and power relations so that I am almost a student myself… perhaps this is way too simplistic an idea.

Social status is not equal, we do not live in a Utopian society but perhaps we help strive to create one by making our educational process one of equality in diversity and in status. We all have a lot to learn, no matter how young, how old, how experienced, how naive.

 

 

These thoughts and understandings from Hahn Tapper’s article have part inspired me, part confused, part unnerved me. My ignorance of my own ignorances leaves me with much to think about but I will always question what I read and what I am told – if it makes sense (to me) then I can adapt but if it is verging on hyperbole or Academic theory then I struggle a little to integrate the data into what little teaching experience I have. I can not use this as an excuse but truly need time, patience and a thesaurus to move forward in my teaching practice.

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