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Teaching Clay Modelling is Not Easy*1

CASELET, ORGANIZATIONAL BEHAVIOR
ET Cases - FLAME, 4 Pages
AUTHOR(S) : Manoj Kumar- Professor, Gauri Gandhi- Assistant Professor - FLAME University, Pune

Case Preview

Teaching Clay Modelling is Not Easy

 

In late May 2015, Geetika Dhawan (Geetika) joined as an Assistant Professor in the ‘Fine Arts’ Department of National University of Liberal Education (NULE), a renowned institution for higher learning, located in the National Capital Region of India. As her first teaching assignment at NULE, she was assigned a course on ‘Introduction to Sculpture’, a compulsory foundation course for the first year students of NULE’s undergraduate program. Her course was to start from July 2015 and she was excitedly looking forward to it.

On July 28th 2015, when Geetika entered her sculpture studio to take the first session, a class of 25 students was anxiously waiting for her. After briefly introducing herself and the course, she placed a small clay ball in front of each student expecting that the students would automatically start using it to make something of their choice. On the contrary, students started behaving madly. Before she could say anything, the students were throwing clay at each other, splashing it on the walls, roof, floor and all over the studio. It left her shocked but she didn’t try to calm them, probably realizing that it would not help. What she could see was, perhaps, the archetypal human connection with clay..............

National University of Liberal Education

NULE is an autonomous, self-funded, private university for higher education and research, located in India. Its doors were first opened to the public in 2014. The mission of the university is to (a) create and disseminate knowledge through its multiple academic programmes; and (b) design and offer such curriculum through its academic programs as would ensure holistic development of its students. NULE offers undergraduate and multiple postgraduate academic programs to its students. However, NULE takes special pride in its three year undergraduate program...........

Course and Students

The course ‘Introduction to Sculpture’ has no prerequisite and is offered as a basic course to the first year undergraduate students. It is aimed at initiating participants into the world of ‘Art’. It introduces students to the art of ‘Sculpture’ as 3-D forms, with the emphasis on basic design elements like line, space, volume, texture and proportion. It focuses mainly on the practical aspects with theory supporting the practical lessons. The students enrolled for this course are expected to be in an exploration mode wherein they must constantly try new things..........

Geetika’s Background

Geetika was inclined towards Fine Arts from childhood. In a discussion with a colleague, she recalls, “My native place is Pune. I come from a joint industrial family. My father was a misfit in the family because he enjoyed painting more than eating in a five-star hotel and talking about business. Every Sunday, he would take us for an art exhibition, or a concert, a museum, or to watch a play in an open air theatre of National School of Drama at Pune. It automatically got us hooked to art. My decision to pursue Fine Arts was no surprise.”.............

First Class Got Over

The students’ fun with the clay went on for the remaining 35 minutes of class. Geetika watched them silently from the sides, without interfering with their fun and anxiously waited for the class to get over. However, internally she was pondering whether it would be easy for her to teach sculpture to these students. She wanted them to take art seriously and connect with it.............

Exhibits

Exhibit I: Structure of NULE’s Undergraduate Program

Teaching Note Preview

Teaching Clay Modelling is Not Easy

 

Synopsis

This case captures the experiences of Geetika Dhawan (Geetika), an Assistant Professor in the ‘Fine Arts’ Department of National University of Liberal Education (NULE). The case initially narrates unpleasant events that happened during the opening session of course titled, ‘Introductory Course on Sculpture’ being conducted by Geetika. Later part of the case provides rich information about the case setting and the protagonist. Looking at the events of her opening class, Geetika wondered whether it would be easy for her to teach sculpture making to her students.

Prerequisite Conceptual Understanding/Before the Classroom Discussion

• Booth E, “Seeking definition: What is a teaching artist?”, Teaching Artist Journal, 1(1), 5-12, 2003
• Gurung R. A., et al., Exploring Signature Pedagogies: Approaches to Teaching Disciplinary Habits of Mind, Stylus Publishing, LLC. [Chapter 6], 2009
• Nilson L. B., Teaching at its best: A research-based resource for college instructors, John Wiley & Sons. [Chapters 2 and 4], 2010
• Shulman L. S., “Signature Pedagogies in the Professions”, Daedalus, 134(3), 52-59, 2005

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Abstract

This case captures the experiences of Geetika Dhawan (Geetika), an Assistant Professor in the ‘Fine Arts’ Department of National University of Liberal Education (NULE). The case initially narrates unpleasant events that happened during the opening session of course titled, ‘Introductory Course on Sculpture’ being conducted by Geetika. Later part of the case provides rich information about the case setting and the protagonist. Looking at the events of her opening class, Geetika wondered whether it would be easy for her to teach sculpture making to her students.


Pedagogical Objectives

  • To identify the dos and don’ts of first/opening/start-up class
  • To understand the significance of learning objectives
  • To identify appropriate learning objectives to be pursued in teaching ‘Visual Arts’ courses
  • To analyze Bloom’s framework for conceiving and designing ‘learning objectives’ of courses
  • To debate on the most suitable pedagogies for effective teaching of varied academic disciplines especially of the ‘Visual Arts’ courses
  • To understand the concept and role of discipline-specific signature pedagogies to make teaching-learning process effective

Case Positioning and Setting
This case can most aptly be used in Faculty Development Programs (FDPs) aimed at honing the teaching skills of Visual Arts teachers. With some improvisation on the part of teacher trainer, this case can also be used for honing teaching skills of teachers of other academic disciplines as well.


1 While the case is based on a real experience of the protagonist in a real situation, her name and some peripheral facts have been adequately disguised keeping in view the privacy needs of the protagonist.
* FLAME INTERNATIONAL CASE CONFERENCE 2016

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- Teaching Note (**ONLY for Academicians)


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