Encouraging Reflexive Practice: Alternative Ways of Embedding Personal & Professional Development Inside the University

By Claire Nichols and David Garner.

Published by The Arts Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Personal and Professional Development (PPD) is a recognised pedagogic approach for developing the student learning experience. By deploying PPD across the curriculum, the University aims to encourage independent and critically reflective student-practitioners. A variety of PPD solutions are currently operating at the University of the Arts, including reflective statements and diaristic modes such as logbooks and video interfaces. However, these methods are private and monologic (Bakhtin, 1982). In this paper, David Garner and Claire Nichols will introduce an alternative communal and dialogic approach to PPD identified in a small-scale study, The Picture Group, aimed at encouraging visual literacy (Elkins et al., 2005). The study uses informal and group approaches to learning in order to develop a ‘community of practitioners’ (Lave & Wenger, 1991) involving students, Visiting Practitioners and tutors. Visual and cultural resources outside of the institution are presented to the group as an impetus for discussions involving live response and reflection. Both individual and group responses then circulate and inform the conversation. The authors argue that this informal teaching method successfully embeds a key PPD principle of reflexivity. The value of this approach for personal and professional development is that individuals are able to reflect on their practice and refine their critical voice in a dynamic comparative dialogue with their peers.

Keywords: Art and Education, Teaching the Arts

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp.99-108. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.433MB).

Claire Nichols

Visiting Practitioner, Part-Time Programmes, London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London, London, UK

Claire Nichols is an artist, an independent curator and a Visiting Practitioner on The Picture Group Pedagogic Research Fund project at the London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London. She earned her BFA from the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, Oxford University, and is currently undertaking an MFA at Goldsmiths College, University of London.

David Garner

Programme Tutor, Part-Time Programmes, London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London, London, UK

David Garner is a professional photographer and Programme Tutor at the London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London. He is currently leading The Picture Group, a Pedagogic Research Fund project for the college’s Creative Learning in Practice Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. David has a degree in Related Arts & English awarded by Southampton University (WSIHE).

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