Mixing technique driven learning with exploration | Portsmouth High School

Mixing technique driven learning with exploration

During the Year 6 visit to The Making of Harry Potter at Warner Bros Studios, I was struck by the creative openings offered to the girls. My recent Updates have focussed on the academic and sporting sides of life at Dovercourt, but we must not forget the wide ranging opportunities for enquiry.

The Year 6 girls had a behind-the-scenes workshop which focussed upon costume, make-up and the design process that goes into character development. They were given examples of the complex methods that go into building a character and how a costume can create a feeling or set a genre for the actors involved. A mood board was then used for them to begin to design their own characters and costumes. As always our girls asked intelligent questions and showed unparalleled enthusiasm towards the task, resulting in compliments from staff at the venue.

This workshop is tied into the tour of the studios and the chances for creativity are almost endless. It is not necessarily

just the activity itself that promotes enquiry, but the way in which the opportunity is seized afterwards. Mrs Newcombe is developing the girls’ mood boards and expanding the designs in art to producehigh level projects based on their understanding following the visit. This is just one example of where one opening can be used to enhance the whole curriculum. Throughout the school teachers are using experiences and topical events in conjunction with their pre-planned lessons.

Creativity can be stifled by a lack of the necessary skill to express it. I have often heard the argument that teaching grammar or mathematical methods can damage the flow. But is it not the case that a deficiency in these areas means that it is more difficult to be creative? It is certainly the case that a firm grasp of mathematical fundamentals is needed to begin to explore abstraction in algebra. That’s why we mix technique driven learning with exploration and often it is difficult to spot the difference between the two.