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Currently teachers across New South Wales are once again navigating home-based or remote learning. The notion of home-based or remote learning can be daunting but it also presents an array of opportunities to engage in further research tailored to a student’s interests and stimulus.

“Home-based learning has provided the opportunity to engage in far greater research for individual students in my Senior classes. At this stage in their learning, I know what interests each of the students I teach: What materials they like to work with, what aspects of the visual world that stimulates them and makes them want to make art …  [I try to] pass on material that is linked to what interests a particular student.” Mr Gary Faulkner, Head of Visual Arts

The Scots College Head of Visual Arts, Mr Gary Faulkner discovered many advantages that remote learning can provide. He has successfully adapted a subject that is normally heavily influenced by practical elements:

“I know exactly where to find material [online] … it is so easy to flick an email with the attached URL to a student … [They are] sitting at home without much ‘art stimulus’, they … are alone in their own world of thoughts and not distracted by their peers. [Through the benefits of technology] I now have a beautiful way of sharing world renowned artists who discuss what and how they make art and impart knowledge for those that are just beginning to learn about making art. Being able to have small moments like this makes for valuable education.”

Mr Faulkner reiterates the importance of keeping an open mind during this educational transition, suggesting the most important factor “… is not a classroom.” Adapting the classroom structure to an online environment, and encouraging engaging and honest communication, can assist in delivering successful remote learning:

“The boys are very understanding and know the challenges that teachers face. Be flexible and understanding. [An individual] boy’s mental health is far more important. Be honest with the boys, and surprisingly, they will be honest with you! Check that the work is being done and call them out if it is not. Make sure you stay happy and give the boys more responsibility, you will be surprised how well they can cope. Give them plenty of credit for how they are learning. Most of all, keep a good sense of humour!”

Each teacher and student adapts to this learning environment in their own way. By keeping the students’ wellbeing and interests in mind, there are plenty of opportunities to inspire self-initiative in teaching practice – even virtually.

Artwork credit: Portrait – recently created by a student in Mr Gary Faulkner’s Year 11 Visual Arts.

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