Friday, 11 December 2009

First Semester - Level 2 Jewellery & Metalwork

Project 1 - Vessel

I uploaded this professional photo of my dish seeing as the previous ones were just taken with my camera and aren't great. :)

Project 2 - Wire

Sorry I did not put up anything about this project before, I have just been too busy. This neckpiece just took forever to make and I now know I need tonnes and tonnes of patience for jewellery making! I am actually glad it is finished... I can finally relax...

Interchangable Neckpiece (brooch and 2 "branches") based on Chinese Painting (specifically Guo Xi's painting Old Trees, Level Distance - organic trees contrasted with a geometric structure).

Friday, 4 December 2009

Assignment 4 – “Learning Disabilities and Response to Instruction”

Following my topic on dyslexia, I have chosen to look at detection of learning disabilities in a broad spectrum. Starting simply, I referred to “Teaching Children with Speech and Language Difficulties” (Martin, D., 2000). This book is for trainee teachers who have not experienced working with children who have some form of learning disability. When talking about speech and language problems, Martin uses very basic examples to show the reader how complexities affect children and get in the way of learning effectively. If new teachers understand the importance of detecting whether or not a child has a learning disability, they will be more alert and more helpful in regard to their class as a whole. If a child is not recognised as having a potential disability early, or not helped with it, they can struggle throughout their school life. In a section called “The Role of the Teacher” in Margaret Crombie’s book “Dimensions of Dyslexia: Volume 1”, it is suggested that children with issues give up on tasks if they are struggling:

As reading is likely to bring about [negative] feelings, the pupil will try at all costs to avoid reading.” (Crombie, 1996)

Martin goes into detail on the different ways in which disabilities can be comprehended depending on which profession someone is in. The two methods that I find most relevant are the “educational approach” which is about vigilance and the “psycholinguistic approach” which is about the intervention process. Observing children is a good way to start looking for disabilities, which can affect children in different ways. By paying close attention, a child’s concealed disabilities may become more obvious as time goes on.
At the back of the book Martin has added two checklists. The first is aimed at an entire class and has a list of possible issues that a child may have, categorised in three main areas. These areas are: “listening behavior”, “expressive language” and “social behavior”. This checklist is meant to be used over a period of time so that the teacher has time to get to know pupils and monitor their progress. The teacher may put a child’s name against a certain issue if they are causing concern and then go on to finding means of assisting those that appear to be having problems with learning. The second checklist consists of two parts, covering different age groups. They are only samples of the AFASIC (Association for all Speech Impaired Children) checklists. It covers different areas such as ‘”language content”’ and “communication”. The difference from the previous checklist is that this is an individual checklist. If the teacher fills this one out for every student then there will be more information than the class checklist. Both of these are unofficial tests but can be used to back up concerns which would then lead on to the children completing official tests. The section on intervention does mention how problems can differ, so it considers children’s skills and what their strengths and weaknesses are when it comes to learning. However, this is the area Gerber believes is ineffective or perhaps, not as effective as it could be.

Teachers are Still the Test: Limitations of Response to Instruction Strategies for Identifying Children with Learning Disabilities” (Gerber, 2005) is a journal that examines the aspects of Response to Instruction and Intervention that make it inadequate in schools. These points include its expense and teachers acting towards pupils differently based on their teaching, as well as the children’s behavior and approach to learning. He refers back to his previous arguments, some written more than 20 years ago, that are still relevant now. The main ones are teachers and students acting different towards each other and how externally behavioral problems are seen, yet most of the time inner problems are not. It is easy to see someone has behavioral problems without Response to Instruction trials and these trials will not necessarily work well in spotting unseen issues.

Gerber created two graphs which show how two students can accomplish different results even with help from a teacher. He formed a further graph, by joining the two previous ones together, which could represent any size of class. It shows that some children are fast learners while others are not; those are the ones that need more time. Each child is different. The graphs were fabricated to give a general idea of how children differ. I can see why Gerber has done so, as it would be too complicated to base this on reality. His graphs generally represent the expected outcomes, with more highs and lows depending on the child, the teacher, and what is being learned or attained. He also produced a table of approximations on how much Response to Instruction will cost per year, depending on how many children are allocated to one teacher. This table is a rough calculation on expenses sourced from the little information found. Looking at the calculated amount, it is unlikely every school would use Response to Instruction as a way of initial detection of learning disabilities. More staff would drain schools funds and additional time needed for trials would be less time learning from the class curriculum.

Response to Instruction is not possible on a large scale; we cannot tell how it will work or how successful it can be. Schools will have to be improved to suit Response to Instruction needs and teachers will need more training to increase on their knowledge and skills. Disabilities can be acknowledged out with Response to Instruction through closely observing pupils, especially their work. It will not make a learning disability any clearer to those without Response to Instruction. If this journal is taken into account, I think schools and teachers will find a cheaper solution than using Response to Instruction. Something that is more efficient in identifying a wide range of learning problems, not just the obvious ones. They may want to see more detailed reports on Response to Instruction because it has been very confined so far. If not, and people still think going through with Response to Instruction is the way forward; they will dismiss Gerber’s arguments.

Remembering the basic aims of “
Teaching Children with Speech and Language Difficulties” (Martin, D., 2000), should help teachers to spot children with disabilities more easily. I believe it will, but not for everyone as teachers act differently towards different pupils. Martin does not mention this, and is expecting teachers to spend a lot of time observing the children; only motivated teachers will do this. Gerber writes:

we think about teachers only in terms of specific isolated behaviors - curricula, or strategies - we can sometimes disregard the variability inherent in real teachers and in institutions that create, distribute, and constrain them.” (Gerber, 2005)

Teachers need to be able to teach in their own way because if every teacher teaches and acts exactly the same, and that is not efficient, then nothing will come out of teaching and children will not learn. Children sometimes need extra assistance to help and encourage them to learn:

It is for the teacher to find strengths of the pupil and give praise and encouragement whenever possible. Through an increase in confidence, the pupil’s whole approach to school work may be altered.” (Crombie, 1996)

The Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell (2000) covers how improvements were made to increase the reading and learning of children who came from low income families. The television programmes “Sesame Street” and “Blue’s Clues” were made for this reason. A lot of research went into finding out how children remember things e.g. with repetition. The book mentions that structure and content are important, but we need to remember these aspects are suited for children that can learn easily; learning disabilities obstruct those who cannot. This issue is too complex to write on because each disability affects a child differently. Martin does explain some types of disabilities whereas Gerber writes about disabilities in general, without being specific. He does this because it links back to the fact that everyone is different. By not writing about specific disabilities this way neither extreme nor mild disabilities are left out.

On the design aspect of identification of disabilities, things could be improved. Perhaps Response to Instruction is useful, seeing as Gerber does not dismiss it completely. However, it is not useful at the moment due to its expense. The expenditure could be up to 2.2 billion dollars nationwide over a year (Gerber, 2005). There needs to be a cheaper, more effective and rapid solution. Martin’s writing does not cover improvements, it simply advises teachers to be more observant. Gerber, however, does say improvements are needed:

a set of concepts much broader than Response to Instruction will be necessary, concepts more focused on the determinants of capacity of teachers within real schools to respond effectively to students’ responses to instruction.” (Gerber, 2005)

If I were to continue with this topic, I would probably like to see Response to Instruction in action as it is hard for me to fully understand the processes. And see if just simple observation is the best way to spot learning disabilities. Talk to teachers and ask them how they have spotted disabilities in the past and what they do to get help for those children.


Gerber, M., (2005),
Teachers are still the test: limitations of response to instruction strategies for identifying children with learning disabilities. Journal of Learning Disabilities. 38 (6) 516-524.

Gladwell, M., (2000),
The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference. Great Britain: Little, Brown and Company.

Martin, D., (2000),
Teaching children with speech and learning difficulties. London: David Fulton Publishers Ltd.

Reid, G., ed., (1996),
Dimensions of dyslexia - Volume 1. Glasgow: Bell & Bain Ltd.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Vessel Project

I've been meaning to put this up for a while but never had a chance to upload the photos!

Inspired by the movement of water and the subtle waves created by ripples. I translated this into the metal to make a solid form with a fluid quality.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Jewellery & art and general interesting/inspiring websites

Jewellery/Art sites:

1. Dazzle Exhibitions

2. Whos Who In Gold and Silver

3. Association for Contemporary Jewellery

4. Genna Delaney I could put more jewellers up here, but I particularly liked her work.

5. Deviant Art (I would post my profile but I haven't updated it for almost a year and its mostly just got my old photomanipulation pictures I used to do. I check this site everyday to see what artwork people are favouriting and to see what artwork the people I follow/watch are producing).

General interesting/inspiring websites:

1. TED - Technology, Entertainment, Design

2. BBC


4. Youtube e.g. Christina Aguilera's Fighter music video directed by Floria Sigismondi

5. The Guardian


Monday, 9 November 2009

oohh pretty...

Just stumbled across this... its very distracting... :)

Researching Dyslexia, teaching and testing.

For Design Studies I was asked to look up books and journals on my issue that came to light on assignments 2 (brainstorm & mindmap in a previous blog entry).

My issue was based on personal experience where no one noticed that I had dyslexia in school. I decided to research at the beginning, starting off with general books on dyslexia and learning difficulties. My journals are on the point of view of the teacher to see how they can spot difficulties. No teachers managed to pick up on my perhaps not-so-obvious dyslexia (looking back now, it was obvious... I just thought I was normal... I shouldn't have had to struggle as much as I did though).

If I was going to improve the education system these are the texts I would first look at before going into schools observing and asking questions (even though I'm not one for asking questions! Again my school life is to blame).

Here are the texts I found:

Gerber, M., (2005), Teachers are still the test: limitations of response to instruction strategies for identifying children with learning disabilities. Journal of Learning Disabilities. 38 (6) 516-524.

As it says in the title, this journal concentrates on RTI (response to instruction) as a way of earlier identification of learning disabilities. However its limits include expenses, teachers responding to students differently based on behavior and the fact strategy training and results are rarely reported (e.g. each session cannot be done in the same way, have the same results everytime and unnoted improvements would be made).

Hultquist, A., (2006), An introduction to dyslexia for parents and proffessionals [online]. London and Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

This online book goes into the various types of dyslexia, giving basic examples of how the children with dyslexia spell, not be able to retrieve certain words or read. It brings into account different levels of dyslexia - mild to deep dyslexia. Apparently there are many tests to identify dyslexia but she particularly talks about IQ tests. Other areas are covered such as laws and other reading disorders.

Martin, D., (2000), Teaching children with speech and learning difficulties. London: David Fulton Publishers Ltd.

This book shows how to spot a child that is having issues. It tells us about teacher's observation and shows examples of situations. The book has sections where it shows what questions the teachers should be asking themselves in regard to a student.

Muter, V., (2003), Early reading development and dyslexia. London: Whurr Publishers Ltd.

This book covers very early learning, going onto children with difficulties. From chapters 7 until 12 is specifically looks into the testing and teaching of children with dyslexia.

Reid, G., ed., (1996), Dimensions of dyslexia - Volume 1. Glasgow: Bell & Bain Ltd.

Information wont be that up-to-date but will still be relevant (it was reprinted in 2000 though). Each chapter is written by a expert or group of experts, so there is a lot of information regarding each section. Covers teaching, support, all types of assessments and further education.

Taylor, H., Anselmo, M., Foreman, A., Schatschneider, C. and Angelopoulos, J., (2000), Utility of kindercarten teacher judgements in identifying early learning problems. Journal of Learning Disabilities. 33 (2) 200-210.

In this journal, it is the teacher's view on the child's progress, to predict if they will struggle and how they will be in the future, based on their behaviour and if they are learning at such an early age. The authors do tests on groups of children in kindercarten classes.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Recording the past...

Hazel White's Website

Hazel White explained her experience over the years last Friday in a lecture and it was good to see examples of the work she has done. Her work and ideas have changed a lot in the space of about 10 years, I like how she has developed her work and moved onto different ideas. Her interactive jewellery is really interesting. She spoke about a past story of a relative and I liked the idea of something holding a record of that.
During the summer I joined, after watching Who Do You Think You Are?, as I wanted to find out who was in my family before me. I got quite far back but there was only two people that had made a name for themselves so there was info about them on a couple of sites. Shame I wont be able to hear about any of their lives personally, I only know little snippets my grandparents have told me from what they remember being told. I think jewellery (just a example, could be an electrical piece or something) that holds a record of you personally would be good for future generations wanting to see who was in their family before them - see if they act the same, same views, personality... etc. Most important, their stories.

Monday, 26 October 2009

A lot to read... sorry!

For Design Studies, we were asked to research into a certain topic extracted from a group brainstorm. Our brainstorm on TV Education is above. We went from children education to adult education, showing the difference between what things you learn from TV. We went into how TV education is actually designed. Other ideas such as computer games and merchandise were also said.

I decided to look into the learning (for children) in general. I could have looked intoit a lot more, writing more for each area, but there are just so many! I went from learning, to my own experience, to truancy, to a recent news report on children going into formal learning later and then finally to homeschooling. I started off with a spider diagram which went into 4 small Mindmaps. Seeing them together I feel a spider diagram is more useful as you can write so much more in the space provided. I maybe should have used colour, but I’ve not quite worked out a best way to do that.

Anyways, researching this has actually been a bit emotional for me… I wasn’t diagnosed with dyslexia until the summer before I came to university. So throughout my school life it wasn’t noticed. In primary I was put down a lot by teachers as my reading was terribly slow, my writing was so messy and I wasn’t good at structuring my essays (writing is better now, but the other two things still effect me). Apparently I used to “pull a sicky” whenever it came to Language.
In 5th year at High School I asked my English teacher if I could get extra help regarding close reading and he said “no, you get enough teaching as everyone else”. And my sort of art teacher when I was making my portfolio said to me “You won’t get into Art College”. It’s like thanks for the encouragement! I realised my nervousness, worrying too much about everything and generally thinking I’m doing everything wrong was because of the way I was treated in primary school and at high school. It’s subconsciously there, making me get all whelmed up when it came to talking to teachers. Obviously, I’m not as bad as I used to be. University is different, and that’s why I love it. I hated school so much, ever since I first started!! I still get stressed and worry a hell of a lot…

This got me thinking of a way kids could get tested for dyslexia early so they don’t end up like me! There should be a cost effective solution. A few people never actually realise they have it… so if there was a way to test a whole class early in primary school which could also point out people with reading and writing delays that may not be connected to dyslexia so they can get extra help also. There are many forms and levels of dyslexia, obviously some worse than others, but as soon as it has been found out, they can get the help they need. It needs to be simpler and not take a lot of time to do. It cost my family £700 to get me tested as we didn’t know if I’d be able to pass English to get into DoJ. Luckily I did pass because a few teachers noticed I may have a problem so they gave me extra time on my English papers (and on my Product Design paper) I really don’t think I would have been able to pass without that extra 15 mins! I think it’s the cost that puts schools off from testing students and this is why the kids struggle throughout their school life. Basically there needs to be a solution to this problem….

For the other areas I covered, I only researched them... I wasn’t able to come up with ideas to help or improve them. I didn’t mind researching them though. It was a good week’s worth of research. Hopefully I won’t mind doing this when it comes to the dissertation :) And now that I have support for my dyslexia I’m sure it will be fine… bet I’ll still be worrying and stressing! :P

Monday, 19 October 2009

Just some thoughts...

I'm starting to accept that design isn't all about the visual aspect of it. Everything is designed in some way or another. I think I'll come back to this concept of in more detail after I've had a while to ponder over it. It has never really hit me before, but I'm glad it has now.

I was speaking to my grandad who was a research chemist. If you are looking to design something new, you consult what was there before. In his case he would consult books. I think it was Plutonium he mentioned (I do listen but my memory fails me a lot...) was a not-so-new-but-new-enough man-made element (again design!)... he had very little to refer back to, no books had been written about it. So he would have had to rely on experimentation and what people around him had found out. That must have been exciting to work with something new but also tough as you wouldn't know how it reacted or anything.

These days there aren't things that are completely new, you can find out everything about everything if you look for it...

I'm not too sure where I am going with this and its getting late, so I'll leave it there and perhaps think a bit more :)

Monday, 5 October 2009

A New Idea...

I've been having some issues lately with my vessel project in my Jewellery & Metalwork class. I had a set idea in my head, which is not a good thing to have as it distracts me from other possiblities and when that idea isn't possible, I am just back at the beginning. So I have learnt my lesson to not do that again!

I was partly set on soldering (I really like soldering...) metal shapes onto a bigger textured metal bowl... but the bowl itself was causing problems as I'm not a silversmith! It would just take too long to learn the skills in the time I have left on this project.

So I've gone back to looking at my sketchbook to see what I could put together. I've come up with an idea that involves fly-pressing instead (I'm practicing this tomorrow, I hope it turns out okay!) I believe it will work better with my idea. Watch this space...

My theme is water as it is a liquid container I am designing and making, I think it fits quite well plus water has a lot of movement in it so I can develop many repeating forms from it. Heres a drawn picture of my ripple idea before I go :)

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Tipping points and education

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell was a very interesting book. It is so amazing how the smallest and simpliest change can produce big results. Above is my Mindmap of the main sections of the book. I didn't go into too much detail but I think I got most of the important points.

I should probably read to book again because I have a feeling I'll pick up far more if I do or at least listen to the audio version all the way through. Takes me far too long to read a book, its really annoying. Literally my book collection is about 5 books! o_O

Anyway, going off a bit... I find it amazing how much research went into producing this book. Gladwell gathered so much information and put it in a way for the rest of us to understand. He repeats himself a lot so once you have forgotten something from the begining of the book he'll mention it again so you can see how the situations all work in the same way. I found myself repeating parts of the book to my family :)

As I was fairly confident in understanding The Law of the Few and The Power of Context, I decided to do a second Mindmap based on The Stickiness Factor section. It was the section I never really took in! Guess it wasn't "sticky" enough :P

I never realised how much testing and research goes into children's television. I didn't know how a child's mind works either. There is a fair bit more to them than we first thought.
I used to love being told stories...

Saturday, 19 September 2009

First post!

Well Hello :) I'm so new to this sort of thing. Never written a blog before but I think I'll eventually get the hang of it :D

I'm Rebecca. I do Jewellery and Metalwork at University. First week has past and I've enjoyed it.. however... I definitely need to work harder this year!

My first Design Studies lecture was interesting because even though I did higher Product Design I didn't realise how much more important the process of design was to the visual aspect of the design. I may have got a better grade than a C if I'd realised that sooner! I think a lot of my views will change over the next year.. which is probably a good thing :) It will open my eyes (how cheesy...!)

I just know this year and the next 2 are going to be good! :D