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tips for student teachers: demonstration and group work strategies

The resource for student art teachers

Teaching Strategy 1: Demonstration


A Visual Presentation or explanation of a fact, idea or process. (Lesmeister, 2003)


Why use Demonstration? Within Visual Arts there are a lot of hands on skills, which students need to

learn. As humans, from an early age we learn hands on skills, by observing how someone else uses their

skills. (A demonstration) Once we have been shown the skill we copy it and build upon it. Piaget

described this characteristic as Deferred Imitation (Fetherston,2008,P.2,Week3) for example a child

is watching someone sweep (Fetherston,2008,P.2,Week 3) and copies (Fetherston,2008,P.2,Week 3)

in response. This occurs within the sensorimotor stage which occurs from birth until the age of two.

Thus, because students have been observing various demonstrations throughout their life, it would be

important to utilise this as one of my teaching strategies within the classroom.

Characteristics of A demonstration:

1. Action: You have to show a physical example of a process or technique.

2. Verbal Explanation: You have to explain the concepts that link the process and technique also
describing the reasons why.
3. Student Audience: have the students gathered round, prepared and listening.
4. Student Action and response: After the demonstration, students display competency of the skills
and concepts they observed. (See second image below)

Above: Demonstrating in the classroom often involves visual aids (Mental tools).

Above: A student displaying competency of the skill and concept he or she observed after the

Variations of a Demonstration:
Physical demonstration: Kneading clay to show how to get the air bubbles out.

Written/ Visual Demonstration: Holding up a: Painting, Chart, Slide or Overhead transparency

(See above image). Vygotsky termed these as mental tools (Fetherston,2008,P.3,Week 4)

which develop our internalised speech and thus help us learn.

Audio Demonstration: Hearing a musical note.

Method Demonstration: Illustrates how to do something in a step-by-step fashion

(Levine.S, 2001,P.1) I.e. How to make a slab pot: Step1 you roll out clay so it is even, Step2


Result Demonstration: Shows the results of some activity, practice or procedure through

evidence that can be seen, heard, or felt. (Levine.S, 2001,P.1) I.e. Teacher displays the slab

pot she has made previously.


Outcomes of a Demonstration:

Students within Visual Arts gain techniques through observing a demonstration, such as: Mixing

paints, Clay construction, Lino printing, Mono printing, Mask making, Developing Photographs,

Graphic design skills, ect.

Students explore ideas in the arts by using direct experience, observation, curiosity, research,
imagination and emotions. They understand that there are many different starting points and ways of
exploring ideas in the arts. Direct experience and observation are based on their explorations of the
physical world around them. (Curriculum Council, 1998, P.53)

Students achieve the ability to problem solve and create art works with their new skills and

knowledge. Learning is facilitated when learners can create, invent and explore new and

personal ways to use new knowledge or skills. (Merrill, 2002, P.70)

From a demonstration, students can learn how to express their own ideas within their art work.

Students create arts works that communicate ideasThey make personal meaning and express their
own ideas: for example, they might make a song or improvise a play about playground experiences; or a
painting that communicates their ideas about pressures of competition and identity. (Curriculum
Council, 1998, P.53)


Demonstration can teach students about how an art work reflects aspects of society. I.e. Within

a painting held up by the teacher she might point out that the red paint, symbolises the blood of

those who fought in World War Two. Students experience a wide range of visual arts forms

from a variety of cultures and historical periods. (Curriculum Council, 1998, P.61) Students

understand how the arts vary according to time and place and apply this historical and cultural

understanding in creating and responding to arts works. (Curriculum Council, 1998, P.58)

Next Page: The Strengths and Limitations of A Demonstration

Previous Page: Introduction


Written content (c) Alyce Hoult 2008. Graphic Art courtesy of Jessica Allia 2008.

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Teaching Strategy 1: Demonstration
Strengths and Limitations of Demonstration
Teaching Strategy 2: Group Work
Strengths and Limitations of Group Work

April 2008

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