Implementation of “A Voyage Through Asian Culture” (SOI-LV-423)

I chose to use learning scenario “A Voyage Through Asian Culture” by Giacomel Mirela in my visual arts lessons.  It was adapted to the secondary school stage, covering the topic of different cultures. The things and themes chosen were creatively represented in a drawing in terms of Asian culture.

If this topic was chosen for lessons with younger pupils, then possibly more attention would be devoted to the presentation of the topic. Different visual materials would be definitely used both from Teaching With Europeana and others. To interpret it gradually and variously, there would be more lessons spent on the investigation of the topic and creative work. Before the creative work, different techiques would be offered to learn (papier-mâché, collage, graphic art, watercolour technique, drawing ink techniques a.o.).

The choice of topic within the framework of Teaching With EuropeanaSubject: Culture and art I (visual art).Pupils: Form 12, 17  – 19 years old, 10 pupils in the group.The length of the lesson is 40 minutes by 2 double lessons. The topic was covered and realised within 5 lessons (40 minutes each).Pupils have got good and excellent basic knowledge both in creative work and the history of art.Visual art is a compulsory subject in Forms 1 – 9, but in Forms 10 – 12 it is an optional subject. Several pupils have graduated from Art school.Together with Form 12 we have looked at different topics from Teaching With Europeana which correspond to the syllabus of the lesson “Culture and art I (visual art). Its aim was to let pupils show their initiative, agree on the topic which is relevant to them as well as to share their view and understanding about the offered topics.The topic about Asian culture has been chosen to improve pupils’ knowledge and world view about the diversity of cultures and their different expressions.No specific technique or cultural aspects were specified to develop the individuality of the students. Together we observe a lot of different cultural and artistic examples, including those proposed in the lesson plan.  Regardless of the age or expression of the author of the samples, the students saw valuable ideas in them and portrayed their own vision of Asian culture in their work. Art has no age limits.

The choice of the topic, the process and the ending

During the introduction to the topic together we explored basic elements and techniques of Asian culture which were used and are different from European.  Asian culture is very old but still topical and modern in present days. We got acquainted with Teaching With Europeana material “A Voyage Through Asian Culture”. Pupils showed their interest and basic knowledge about the topic so we quite quickly decided on the content of the creative work, its technique and format.

The task: To think of an original background and plot composition for the work which represents Asian culture.

Format: A4.

Reminder: Non-traditional techniques may be used as a colourant for the the background of the work, for instance, potassium permanganate, teas (black/hibiscus a.o.), coffee and coffee grounds. The work may be done in different techniques: watercolour technique which will show airiness, glueing – for multilayered work, capillary pen – for accuracy of the work and representation of texture, coloured pencils – for showing different shades of a colour a.o.

Taking into consideration traditions of Asian cultures, the process of the work is not less important than its result, because it is the process of self-exploration and understanding of ethical and aesthetic values.  During the lessons  we listened to Asian music – meditative and quiet.

The students already know a variety of art techniques, and focusing on this task encouraged them to use their fantasy and creativity. It was an opportunity for them to demonstrate their view about Asian culture and art.  The works were various and original.

Images: Work in progress.

During the work process the attention was paid to different means of artistic expressions, different terms were repeated, and possibilities and experience were discussed.

According to personal interests, students represented different subjects, which demonstrated the richness of the culture. Because of slightly non-traditional materials, their choice and selection was students’ homework.

In the end of the work, pupils presented their works. The ending turned out to be a beautiful exhibition and a thoughtful discussion based on a wide variety of knowledge. There was a deep cross-curricular connection between such subjects as history, culture history, literature, music.

The process of the work and feedback

The work process for pupils was interesting and creative because the topic was chosen together. Around 90% of pupils chose this topic out of all offered topics, which highlights its topicality nowadays.

The process was qualitative and well-thought because pupils have previous knowledge in history of arts, wide world view, good skills and rich imagination working practically.

Moreover, the subject of creative workswere based on students’ own interests, because in this way their personal skills of visual art genres, techniques and approaches are consolidated. The topic of Asian culture is very various and it allows everyone to choose something relevant.

During the process of the lesson individual methods were used because each work was individual and unique. Self-directed learning, which was based on the availability of materials and connectedness of own skills, was added with the teacher’s and classmates’ reccomendations and comments.

At this age, I usually do not give my students equal instructions because I want to emphasize and develop their individuality. The topic is common, but they choose their own solutions of subject and technique. Everyone felt the feedback because I as a teacher also learn from students who are talanted and erudite. These resources are a big benefit. However, in my case I need to improve my English knowledge to use them. I have also noticed other materials which I would like to apply in my lessons with other classes.

Teaching With Europeana resources

EL Marquez’s ‘Chun Li’ was interesting and insightful. The objects that caught the eye were the lotus flower, the heron or crane, the representation of the sun, the choice of colours and the writing. We discussed this and looked at other examples in nature and art.  The students also chose some of these aspects in their creative work. Some of the Europeana resources we used:

Blog post ‘Life of a geisha’

Blog post ‘The Chinese Garden’

Gallery ‘Trees in visual art’

Blog post ‘China for bookworms’

Blog post ‘A souvenir from China’

Thank you very much for these resources which are innovative and historic in the same time, they are various and topical. It is definitely possible to use these materials in the learning process of visual arts. Depending on the lesson topic and age of students, the materials can be used partly or fully. Other teachers’ experience is also useful. I think that teachers of different subjects can find ideas and justifications, and experience here, for instance, for realising cross-curricular connection and illustrating the topic.

Did you find this story of implementation interesting? Why don’t you read about the related learning scenario? A Voyage Through Asian Culture created by Giacomel Mirela

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Public Domain Mark 1.0: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana and has been provided by the Rijksmuseum.

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