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Posts Tagged ‘art

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I love videos that showcase the talents of people who combine seemingly opposite fields of work. This one was about an artist who uses fractals to create massive but temporary pieces on beaches.

The video is worth the watch not least for the amazing patterns he created in tidal zones. That these art works only last as long as low tide might lead one to question if the effort is worth it.

The closest and least glamorous work I can compare this scientific art (or artistic science) to is teaching. If you think it about, teaching is also multidisciplinary and transient. But teachers keep at it anyway without any credit or appreciation.

What does this fleeting form of art have to do with teaching?

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The artist, David Zinn, creates street art that washes away with the rain. A simple way to answer my question is to reply that teaching is also an art.

I am not one for singular and simple answers. For example, why bother if the art is ephermal? That question reveals a mindset that focuses on the product and not the process. Teaching is not just about getting students to show products of learning; it is also about processes of learning.

Another way teaching is like Zinn’s disappearing art is how superficial learning disappears after the test. There is an initialism for that, GIGO, which is short for garbage in, garbage out. This is what happens if we teach only to the test.

I get to conduct workshops on game-based learning every now and then. I firmly believe in a pure application this approach and am against its bastardisation via gamification [1] [2].

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All that said, I have not consumed a resource quite like the video above. It focused on the art of video gaming. It gave me a new appreciation of the beauty of this learning environment.

Yes, I am still harping on how pedagogy is both a science and an art. Why? The videos I watched yesterday and today reminded me of that.

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Pedagogy is the science of teaching because it can be theorised, experimented, and repeated. It is also the art of teaching because it needs to be practised, refined, and reflected upon.

Pedagogy is not a balance of the art and science, but its embodied blending.

Or the science of art?

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That was my thought when I watched the mesmerising kinetic art of David Roy.

Though less glamorous and obvious, the same could be said about pedagogy. Is it the science of the art of teaching or the art of the science of teaching? I say that pedagogy is both.

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Art without science might be entertaining, but it breeds ignorance of how the world works.

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Science without art might provide explanations, but it removes what makes us human.

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One thought that crossed my mind as I watched this video was how much science undergirds and enables the art. The same could be said about pedagogy.

I define pedagogy as the science and art of teaching. The science refers to the theoretical principles, experimentation, and research of what might be quantified about teaching. The art is the practice getting better with critical and reflective practice. Do one without the other, or favour one over the other, and we are unlikely to teach effectively.

Returning to the Seven Terraces in Georgetown, Penang, was like revisiting a friend’s home. A very rich friend’s very large home.

Like my first visit 2.5 years ago, I never got to meet this friend, but I met many of his staff. They were warm, professional, and polite. In both stays, my family and I got extensions at no extra cost thanks to late flights and accommodating front desk folk.

There were also some not-so-subtle changes to the decor. One was this art piece that featured an elephant-giraffe.

This was not there in November 2015. I took this photo of my wife and son in the same spot then.

Like any good art, the piece sparked thought. For me, it was how easy it is to take sides — either extreme with clear views or somewhere in between with a jumbled ones.

While some might point out that only the extremes offer defined views, I prefer to focus on changing one’s perspective by walking back and forth. Doing that takes effort.

The effort was minimal in the case of the art piece. It might not be so easy when trying to see something from someone else’s vantage point. But making the effort is important in both cases.

Some might say that the YouTube video below is a good example of combining science and art.

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I agree. I would also add that such a combination creates perspective. This could mean helping us see what we could not before or seeing something unexpected as a result of the combination.

What we see projected as a shadow is another subtle message — there is one entity with severals sides, each of which is only apparent when we make the effort to change the perspective.

I spent my last day in London in the Old Truman Brewery area. I did not plan on being there.

I had visited Poppies for its fish and chips the evening before. On my way back, I spotted a billboard advertising the exhibition.

The next day I visited The Art of the Brick, took some photos, and enjoyed some street food.

It was a wonderful way to leave London thanks to serendipity.


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