Layout of WordPress ePortfolio
I have shaped my WordPress ePortfolio journal, for the Teaching Artist module, by creating pages for key themes within this module. These pages, which can be found down the left hand side of my WordPress ePortfolio, are as follows:
The Teaching Artist PDP
The Teaching Artist Critical Appraisal Paper
The Teaching Artist Context Setting Paper
Teaching Artist Lesson Plan and Theoretical Account
The Teaching Artist Evaluative Report
The Teaching Artist Online Discussion
The Teaching Artist Journal Summary
By having titled pages designated for key themes, I felt that I was able to scaffold my learning meaningfully. I was able to contribute to each area of my learning gradually as my knowledge and understanding progressed throughout the module. Interestingly, I found myself working across several pages at the same time. I have realised that I tend not to work in a linear way and so it is imperative for me to move between themes when writing, as ideas organically arise and my knowledge and understanding develops. Furthermore, I have discovered that I prefer to thematically group and connect my learning, in order to appreciate the wholeness of my understanding.
In addition, the ‘Home’ page of my ePortfolio is where I have captured on-going reflections, comments and links to materials that have inspired my learning throughout the Teaching Artist module. Many of the entries made within the ‘Home’ page of my ePortfolio, have contributed to the above thematic pages but I feel that it is important to note that these entries are also, in a sense, self-contained. The ‘Home’ page entries were mostly written and uploaded in one sitting; however, the reflective material shared had been floating through my head, often for several days beforehand, taking shape. Each entry, made within the ‘Home’ page of my ePortfolio could also develop into a stand-alone page in its own right.
During my learning for the Teaching Artist module, I have worked organically between the ‘thematically’ titled pages and the ‘home’ page of my ePortfolio; documenting, reflecting on and placing information where is seemed to have most meaning, relevance and appropriateness.
Summary of Learning Journey
My learning journey, for the Teaching Artist module, began with my interest in creativity and creative development and what this means within Higher Arts Education contexts. My thoughts were inspired through my reading of Ken Robinson’s Out of Our Minds – Learning to be Creative (2011) , this book has proved to be a very useful resource. Learning about creativity drew me to learning about learning. As I embarked on documenting materials for the Critical Appraisal task, I realised that there were several gaps in my knowledge, in relation to learning theories, learning styles and the influential thinkers and educators who have helped to shape these fields. I felt a little ‘out at sea’ to begin with. In retrospect, I realise that I have always had a thorough practical understanding and conceptual grasp of learning theories and learning styles; they have been informing my teaching practice for the last ten years. However, my intellectual knowledge and understanding of the academic titles used to describe the theories and research that underpins my practice was all very new for me. I would say that the majority of my learning, for the Teaching Artist module, has been about enhancing my intellectual, academic understanding of learning theories, learning styles, influential thinkers and educators and connecting this knowledge to my teaching practice.
Through learning about the life and work of Maria Montessori, Friedrich Froebel, John Dewey, Erik Erikson, Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky, I began to understand about the thinking that has underpinned my work in the Orff Schulwerk approach to Music, Dance and Speech Education: the importance of active, hands on learning; the importance of play, creativity, balance of activity; providing opportunities for learners to construct their own meaning from tasks, to build their own knowledge and understanding; the importance of time and space and allowing learners to shape their own learning
My bibliography acknowledges several resources that helped me to understand more about these great thinkers and educators. Carol Mooney’s Theories of Childhood – An Introduction to Dewey, Montessori, Erikson, Piaget & Vygotsky (2013) was particularly useful.
As I began to learn about learning theories, in particular, Constructivism, Behaviourism and Cognitivist Theory, a clearer picture began to form. Furthermore, looking to the work of contemporary thinkers and educators like Jerome Bruner, Neil Fleming, Ken Robinson, Simon Sinek, Etienne Wenger, Stephen Brookfield, John Biggs and Phil Race (to name but a few), this picture has taken on greater detail. I feel more acquainted now with concepts and models like ‘Constructive Alignment’  and the ‘VAKT Learning Styles’ model . My knowledge and understanding of learning theory, learning styles and the influential thinkers who bring theory into practice is in no way complete, but I certainly feel that I have made meaningful progress throughout this module.
Furthermore, this knowledge has already begun to enhance my teaching as during the Lesson Plan, Theoretical Account and Online Discussion tasks, I realised that I was able to identify the learning theories that support my practice. This has given me a sense of confidence, knowing that my practice is rooted in established theory. Furthermore, it has made me more aware of the wide variety of thinking and opinions around teaching and learning. I believe that I am acquiring a higher level of verbal articulation when talking about my teaching practice and the teaching approaches that I use. Transparency of my practice; openness to change and development; deeper awareness, knowledge and understanding and taking the time to unpick the thought behind my creative and teaching practice, contributes to enhancing learning experiences for all learners. The Teaching Artist module has also drawn me to reflect more critically on how I evaluate my teaching practice; how I gather feedback and how I guide learners to reflect on their learning. I am especially interested in ‘meaningful learning’ and what this means for both learners and teachers. These are really interesting aspects of teaching and learning that I wish to explore more rigorously in future months.
 Robinson, K. (2011) Out of Our Minds – Learning to be Creative. UK: Capstone Publishing Ltd.
 Mooney, C.G. (2013) Theories of Childhood – An Introduction to Dewey, Montessori, Erikson, Piaget & Vygotsky (Second Edition) Redleaf Press U.S.A