PGCert Teaching and Learning Unit 2018
Micro teach: Listening and Sound effects
Here are some reflections on the micro teaching session yesterday,which I really enjoyed and gained some insight into my own approach to planning and teaching, as well as from the other students ,which were all successful in similar and different ways.
Having written a session plan, thinking about teaching with objects in relation to sound ,I decided to choose an object that could be used and perceived as a sound effect, different from its original source i.e. the sound making object .
I thought it could be an enjoyable shared group learning task, encouraging students to develop listening skills and begin to acquire some of the imaginative thought processes used in making sound effects and film soundtracks and therefore learning how to approach sound, as an artistic process and medium e.g.. Filmmaking, radio, sound art,electroacoustic composition.
The time restraint of 10 minutes was a challenge, but I realised that there didn’t need to be too much activity or technical knowledge to engage with the object and listening was a skill to acquire an awareness of.
Initially, I chose two objects; a jar of dried beans( as above) and a newspaper, I divided the class into two groups of five to explore one object each. As the group was smaller than expected,I decided to choose one object and work in one large group.This in retrospect, was a better idea than planned as the limitations of the object allowed for deeper listening,contemplation and imagination and also allowed for the group to sit together and focus on one sound without distraction .
Introducing some context for sound effects and the exercise, I presented a very short powerpoint presentation, I introduced what a sound effect is and how it is used in film,radio and audio visual works. The idea was to encourage discussion (student centred) rather than just inform the group(deductive learning), but as time was limited some new knowledge as an introduction(presentation)was essential.
I also introduced how a sound object could be ‘performed’ (Foley) to represent something other than itself in sound design eg.cloth -birds wings, cornflour-snow,celery-broken bones , etc..
In a large group, I encouraged the students to explore the object and the sound properties it could create.I asked the group to pass the object around and close their eyes to imagine what the sound could represent and think about where this might be e.g.shells on a beach,in the forest…
During the exercise people who were experimenting with the object kept their eyes open and the rest of the group closed their eyes,listened and imagined.This worked well,there was a personal experience of listening, as well as a collective sharing of the exercise.
The group wrote down some ideas of what they imagined and each student demonstrated their sound with the object.
I then recorded the sounds created with a portable recorder (see Workflow). Kuldeep imagined the jar of beans as the sound of a frog and Sean imagined the sound of chains .
We then played back the recordings while the group wrote their observations and suggestions .
The Recordings have been uploaded to Workflow.
Reflections on Learning:
This micro teach was designed and planned to consider ‘object based learning’ and learning objectives and outcomes.The objectives included group work and collaboration encouraging discussion and creative exploration and a ‘wow’ effect of learning(Innovative Pedagogies Series Kirsten Hardie )through discovery and creative thinking.The micro teach was encouraging group work through practice and peer group discussion.This allowed for students to understand and learn new creative processes to making work through a new medium of sound. ie. making sound effects.
Through this practical workshop and object based learning students understood a key concepts to sound design,listening skills and collaborative group work. This would encourage creativity and inspire students to new ways of creative thinking in developing schemata.
Feedback from Students:
Feedback from students was given as observations and suggestions on post it notes (see photo above)
There were some positive feedback comments that actually matched my learning objectives and aims. eg.’inspiring creative thinking and giving students time to focus on listening alone and in a group’ (listening skills)
There was a helpful suggestion to disguise the sound objects and reveal them at the end to encourage a ‘Wow’effect (Hardie) which would encouraged further curiosity and engagement potentially.
Sound as a medium was new to most of my group and some students felt that they needed more of an introduction and guidance at the beginning ie. exploring the object as a sound object.
This micro teach was really helpful and I would be interested in developing it further for other teaching .I did have the opportunity to teach on BA Fashion Illustration where I developed and introduced the sound object based learning in a day workshop I ran at LCF.(see blog)