As part of a short development course @ Pulse Community Radio, with a couple of colleagues, I am working with a small group of school leavers, as part of the Department’s Activity Agreement Programme. The group are all boys and they are an interesting bunch. A few of them have plenty to say and some say virtually nothing. I’ve been using techniques I’ve learned from my more experienced colleagues in schools and social work (and even from my boss Alison) to help me engage with these young men. I want to see and hear evidence that they are thinkers and can articulate how they feel about experiences they might not necessarily have chosen for themselves.
Our most recent experience was to visit the fantastic SQA art exhibition @ Eastwood Park Theatre, where students from our secondaries exhibit their exam portfolio work.
We’d tried this before on a visit to GoMA in Glasgow and it went down like a lead balloon. With fingers crossed, we set them free in the exhibition space and asked them all to choose a favourite piece and be prepared to tell everyone else in the group why they liked it.
Now I get why you stick with teaching despite the difficulties. Each and every one of them chose a piece and spoke, some @ length, about why they liked it. They talked about how the art made them feel, how they liked the colours, what they thought inspired the artists and how it made them think about space. I was bowled over. And so were some of them I think…
Art makes me happy and I suspect that, on that day, it made them happy too.
If you haven’t already, go along to the exhibition. It’s inspirational and we should be rightly proud of our young artists.
Here is a selection of the boys’ favourite work.