ERASMUS Report: Thinking Teaching visits Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design

In March 2018 Vikki Hill, Changing Mindsets Project Associate and Associate Lecturer: Thinking Teaching visited Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design under the EU Erasmus Staff Training Mobility programme.

All image credits: Vikki Hill unless otherwise stated. 

Image Courtesy of ABK Stuttgart

The three buildings that make up Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design (also known as ABK Stuttgart) are situated in the leafy Killesburg Park area of Stuttgart and neighbor an impressive UNESCO World Heritage Site – The Weissenhof Estate, built as part of an ambitious 1927 Modernist Housing exhibition overseen by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe with contributions from Le Corbusier and Jeanneret, amongst others.

 

Against the backdrop of these Modernist structures, I began my 2-day Erasmus Staff Training Mobility in a university, city, state and country with a very strong cultural history, sense of identity and incredibly good traditional cuisine (Swabian). The state of Baden-Württemberg borders both France and Switzerland and is amongst one of the wealthiest regions in Europe. The demographic of the student population at the Academy (900 students) is very different to UAL’s and I was interested in learning about their approaches to art education and attainment.

 

My fantastic hosts, Rector Prof. Dr. Barbara Bader and Junior Professor Annette Hermann, spent time with me giving me an insight into the schooling and higher education systems in Germany as well as sharing their own research. Annette is the newly appointed professor for teaching and learning and is responsible for FLAG.

 

Image Courtesy of the Flag project, ABK Stuttgart

FLAG is an innovative learning and teaching laboratory for art education. It is situated at the intersection of the art teacher training program at the Academy of Fine Arts Stuttgart, and its associated partners in the educational domain. The aim of the project is to intensify the integration of academic and in-school training by way of research-oriented and research-based teaching and learning opportunities for students, teachers, and professors alike. By implication, this cross-institutional and intergenerational endeavour aspires to closely link (art) educational theory and practice. 

As part of her PhD, Annette has been developing an action research project with students and teachers to explore the role of an art teacher with a particular focus on motivation and interest. What was particularly interesting to me, in context of attainment, was our discussion about the many levels of inclusion and exclusion experienced by the student population that studies Fine Art Teacher Education. One of the most startling statistics is that 60% of fathers 40% of mothers of students studying to be fine art teachers have at least a Masters degree. This is well above the national average, statistically. Annette had also researched the inheritance rate – 22.2% of all students had a family member who was a teacher.

                                               

In my interview with Silke Heimlicher, Head of Academic Affairs, we discussed positive discrimination in context of gender and disability in the workplace and although changes have begun to take place, the gender pay gap still exists in Germany.

Although the work on sexual discrimination is landed, there is no data collection or analysis in context of race. Partly due to there being a very low number of students identifying as non-white German at ABK-Stuttgart, and also from a cultural perspective where ethnic monitoring is seen as highly problematic, there is currently no institutional lens to view the experiences of students from BME backgrounds.

Silke explained that although monetary obstacles in accessing higher education are reduced (there are no university fees in the current German system), the barriers to progression exist culturally.

Students from lower socio-economic backgrounds, and those whose parents did not attend university, are more likely to be expected to enter an apprenticeship. Mindset, rather than performance, is a deciding factor in parental support in continuing education.

 

Sonja Fendal, Head of International Student Experience and her colleague, Samantha Schramm, discussed the difficulties that some Erasmus exchange students from the UK face in terms of language acquisition. This was particularly interesting as, in context of my attainment work, I often hear staff refer to ‘international students’ as a homogenous group, and it was refreshing to consider that we are all ‘international’ and that language and cultural differences are an inherent part of our global experience.

 

My time in Stuttgart would not have been complete without a visit to the Staatsgalerie to see the permanent collection alongside the Master of Messkirch exhibition. This was an incredibly informative show that detailed the work of an artist from Swabia who adhered to Roman Catholic practices that countered the Reformation that encompassed the whole of Württemberg.

What I gained from the Erasmus Staff Mobility

The Erasmus Staff Mobility offered a much-needed period of reflection on my own work as Changing Mindsets Project Associate and the opportunity to share best practice and learn from the academics I met. The networking has encouraged a collaboration between myself and Annette Hermann to explore attainment, progression and intersectionality across our institutions. I also connected with teaching staff and was able to introduce them, by email, to academics at UAL to share their practice and approaches.

I was previously unaware of the cultural specifics around language and terminology such as the word ‘race’ that in Germany is only used for animals, not humans. This is influenced by Germany’s 20th Century history and it was important for me to consider the impact of this in how I design and plan my workshop presentation for the upcoming ELIA conference in Rotterdam. It was through my conversations and interviews at ABK-Stuttgart that I explored the impact of presenting work about race and attainment in a North-Western European context.

My understanding of the education system in Germany and the routes into university was a particular point of interest. Barbara Bader explained the progression to become an art teacher and the government accreditation that is received.

Finally, to be an outsider, to be reliant on others for translation, opens up a space to build empathy towards UAL staff and students whose first language is not English. I am happy to discuss the application process or anything further about the exchange. I would like to thank Prof. Susan Orr, Dean of Teaching and Learning and Bertha Archer, Erasmus Finance Administrator, for their support from UAL, and also to Rector Prof. Dr. Barbara Bader and Junior Professor Annette Hermann for their kind welcome and hospitality in Stuttgart.

Vikki Hill                                                                                                                                                      v.hill@arts.ac.uk                                                                                                                                    Project Associate: Changing Mindsets
  http://mindsets.port.ac.uk/                                            Associate Lecturer Thinking Teaching

A new round of Erasmus+ Staff Mobility Applications for UAL staff (Technical, Administrative and Academic) have opened for travel between July 2018 and February 2019.

The deadline for applications is 1st May.  UAL staff can find more information on the Erasmus staff mobility page on Canvas and apply for the scheme by registering online.

Pedagogy Bites #2: Critical Pedagogy to Critical Consciousness

The Changing Mindsets Project has been taking place at UAL throughout this academic year (2017-18).

In these bite size videos Vikki Hill is in conversation with Dr Gurnam Singh, discussing key learning and teaching concepts in relation to academic achievement.

Pedagogy Bites #2 discusses the role of critical pedagogy in social justice – the transformation of oppressive structures – and why this is of relevance to universities for addressing differential outcomes for students.

*Please use subtitles as sound levels are quiet*

Vikki Hill is UAL Project Associate for Changing Mindsets and UAL Associate Lecturer, Thinking Teaching: An Introduction to Teaching in Higher Education

Dr Gurnam Singh is Principal Lecturer in Social Work at Coventry University and Visiting Fellow in Race and Education at UAL

 

Pedagogy Bites #1: The Development of Critical Pedagogy

The Changing Mindsets Project has been taking place at UAL throughout this academic year (2017-18).

In these bite size videos Vikki Hill is in conversation with Dr Gurnam Singh, discussing key learning and teaching concepts in relation to academic achievement.

Pedagogy Bites #1 discusses how critical pedagogy has developed through the perspective of political and philosophical educational theory.   Dr Singh explains why this is of relevance to universities for addressing differential outcomes for students.

*Please use subtitles as sound levels are quiet*

Vikki Hill is UAL Project Associate for Changing Mindsets and UAL Associate Lecturer, Thinking Teaching: An Introduction to Teaching in Higher Education

Dr Gurnam Singh is Principal Lecturer in Social Work at Coventry University and Visiting Fellow in Race and Education at UAL

Call for zine submissions: Decolonising the Arts Curriculum

Call for zine submissions

“Decolonising the Arts Curriculum: Perspectives on Higher Education”

Deadline: 5pm Fri 09 March

This zine is a Student Union and Teaching & Learning Exchange co-production, and is part of the ongoing work to address the attainment gaps that persist at UAL and the call to widen the curriculum.

It is aimed at both students and staff, and intends to offer a collection of perspectives, ideas and thoughts on decolonising the curriculum, especially from a creative arts and design perspective.

It is not intended to be a definitive education tool, but rather a zine that will engage those who are currently not engaging with these topics, raise awareness and open up conversations that will allow people to take things further in their courses and collaborate within and outside the university setting.

We are accepting submissions in the format of:

  • Written pieces (min. 50 words – max. 500 words)
  • Photographs
  • Pictures of other artefacts or artwork
  • Poetry, creative writing, journalism, media, drama, performance art, fashion
  • Film, sound new media links and reviews
    (and any subject areas that are not listed here as the list is not exhaustive)

Contributions can relate to the following questions:

  • Why/How to decolonise art and design?
  • Why/How to decolonise university life?
  • Why/How to decolonise academia?
  • Why/How to decolonise curricula?
  • Why/How to decolonise pedagogy?

Submissions are invited from Students and Staff.

Submit online here: bit.ly/submissions18 

Deadline: 5pm Fri 09 March

Academic Enhancement Model – Project Update

The College AEM Leads with Prof Susan Orr

The College AEM Leads with Prof Susan Orr

The University has launched the Academic Enhancement Model (AEM) this year and we are pleased to introduce the four senior academic leads at each college:

The aim of AEM is to improve student experience and student attainment at UAL measured against four key metrics:

  • NSS
  • Overall attainment against sector benchmarks
  • The attainment differentials between Home BAME and Home White students
  • The attainment differentials between International and Home students

AEM joins up attainment activity across the university to give courses focused support to reach our target of closing the attainment gap by 2022.

We’re looking forward to working with Course teams across UAL in the coming year and to sharing good practice, initiatives and projects focused on closing the attainment gaps and improving the student experience at UAL.

Please do get in touch with your college lead if you’d like more information.

Addressing Inclusive Attainment – FE Case Study

Andy Valencia, Foundation Diploma in Art and Design, Camberwell College of Arts. Photographer: Alys Tomlinson

Gaps in attainment persist for specific student groups in higher education, and historically similar gaps have also persisted at further education level. UAL’s Foundation courses have, however, made significant progress in recent years in narrowing their gaps through a range of interventions and shifts in practice.

UAL’s Head of Further Education, Angela Drisdale-Gordon, describes several of these in a new case study on the university’s Addressing Inclusive Attainment webpage. The case study includes a series of prompts for HE staff to reflect on and develop their practices, and take action to address the undergraduate attainment gaps.

Read or download the case study.

Changing Mindsets – Staff Workshop Update

The session was very helpful, the idea of a fixed and a growth mindset is a simple idea but very effective.”

Andrew Slatter
Senior Lecturer, Contextual and Theoretical Studies
Coordinator Year 1

Graphic Design Communication Programme, LCC

The first Changing Mindsets staff workshops have been run across the three colleges – CSM, Camberwell and LCC. Academics have had the opportunity to interrogate Growth Mindset Theory – the belief that ability can be developed through effort and by embracing challenge – and apply this to their own pedagogic practice.
    

At LCC’s recent event, the Graphic Media Design Team discussed Carol Dweck’s research, that growth mindsets can have a profound impact on motivation, resilience and a sense of belonging. They applied the theory to challenge, learning, effort and failure and related this to the Creative Attributes Framework to design a learning and teaching activity for their course.

Ted Talk: The power of believing that you can improve | Carol Dweck

The team were asked to identify areas of their own practice that they had improved at over time and to consider their own personal learning styles. They designed growth mindset tool kits that innovatively utilised digital approaches to learning and proposed spaces for reading, discussion and curriculum design.

We were delighted to welcome Tracey Waller, Course Leader, BA Graphic Design at Camberwell, who delivered a fascinating presentation on the assessment methodology she is piloting. She demonstrated how, with a growth mindset, moments of risk and failure can become a space for learning, opportunity and collaboration for students and staff whilst improving attainment.

We’re looking forward to the next workshops and will be adding dates to the events pages for you to check. Keep reading the Changing Mindsets blog for more information.

References:

Blackwell, L. S., Trzesniewski, K. H., & Dweck, C. S. (2007). Implicit theories of intelligence predict achievement across an adolescent transition: A longitudinal study and an intervention. Child Development, 78, 246 –263.

Dweck, C. (2017). Mindset: changing the way you think to fulfil your potential. Hachette UK.

Dweck, C. S., & Leggett, E. L. (2000). A social-cognitive approach to motivation and personality.

Paunesku, D., Walton, G. M., Romero, C., Smith, E. N., Yeager, D. S., & Dweck, C. S. (2015). Mind-set interventions are a scalable treatment for academic underachievement. Psychological science26(6), 784-793.

Tabernero, C., & Wood, R. E. (1999). Implicit theories versus the social construal of ability in self-regulation and performance on a complex task. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.

Yeager, D. S., Walton, G. M., Brady, S. T., Akcinar, E. N., Paunesku, D., Keane, L., & Gomez, E. M. (2016). Teaching a lay theory before college narrows achievement gaps at scale. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences113(24), E3341-E3348.

Yeager, D. S., Romero, C., Paunesku, D., Hulleman, C. S., Schneider, B., Hinojosa, C., … & Trott, J. (2016). Using design thinking to improve psychological interventions: The case of the growth mindset during the transition to high school. Journal of educational psychology108(3), 374.

Inclusive Attainment at UAL – Progress update

In August 2016 UAL initiated Learning for All, our programme for addressing attainment inequalities that exist for certain student groups. These inequalities have been persistent and will remain unless we actively address them. As part of Learning for All, the Teaching and Learning Exchange is supporting staff to review and develop their practices to be more inclusive.

Lucy Panesar joined the Exchange at the start of 2017 as an Educational Developer (Diversity and Inclusion) and leads on the development of new Inclusive Attainment resources to support UAL staff with understanding and addressing attainment inequalities in their areas of practice.

The new Inclusive Attainment online resource contains key reference materials for understanding attainment inequalities (including a four-step process to address attainment), an evolving bank of case studies on interventions already made by UAL staff to address attainment, key contacts and staff development opportunities.  It’s growing and evolving so do check back to see what’s new.

An Inclusive Attainment workshop, following the same four-step process, has been delivered by Lucy and Terry Finnigan (LCF Head of Attainment) to over 300 staff (so far) with very positive feedback. This will run again three times during the 2017/18 academic year, offering staff the opportunity to learn more about the causes of differential attainment, and the chance to collectively develop strategies to address this. Book your place now.

Changing Mindsets launches at UAL

The two year, HEFCE funded Changing Mindsets project launches at UAL in mid-September 2017, focusing on interventions to close the attainment differentials of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) and working class students.

The project is led by academics at the University of Portsmouth and will be run as a series of student and staff workshops at Canterbury Christ Church University, University of Brighton and the University of Winchester, as well as UAL. Professor Susan Orr, UAL Dean of Learning, Teaching and Enhancement is the UAL project lead.

Changing Mindsets will involve around 5,200 university students and 800 university staff. At UAL, 715 students and 100 staff at Camberwell, CSM and LCC will be participating in the first year of the study.  The first workshops for invited staff will take place from mid-September onwards.

Changing Mindsets aims to address the awarding gap and improve attainment for all students by building growth mindsets in both students and staff. A growth mindset is the belief that ability develops through effort and by embracing challenge.

Based on Dweck’s implicit theories of intelligence, and learning from UAL’s Breaking Bias staff development module, the workshops will address the barriers to learning created by stereotype threat (Osborne, 2007) and implicit bias (Staats, 2014).  A growth mindset has been shown to challenge the self-limiting identities and other issues that stereotypes and biases can create in peer interactions, staff expectations and teaching and assessment approaches.

Want to know more?

You can find out more about the project on the Portsmouth University Changing Mindsets blog and follow @MindsetsProject on Twitter.

And, of course, bookmark this page to keep up to date with progress at UAL.

Contact Vikki Hill, Changing Mindsets Project Associate at UAL, v.hill@arts.ac.uk

Further Reading

Staats, C., (2014) State of the Science: Implicit Bias Review Kirwan Institute, The.

Osborne, J., (2007) Linking Stereotype Threat and Anxiety An International Journal of Experimental Educational Psychology, Volume 27, 2007 – Issue 1, pp 135-154