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A Level Personal Investigation

Posts: 1

Hi All!

It's that time of year where I am really scrutinsing my practice and how I deleiver my lessons/course. I feel like my current scheme of work is perhaps a little task prescriptive for A2 Fine Art students and wondered of anyone runs their Fine Art Projects in a more holistic/organic way? Obviously there needs to be some form of structure but I really want my students to develop persoanl and relevent responses of their own without having to 'box tick' if that makes sense, yet feel a bit worried about it being seen as a 'free for all'!!

Any comments/suggestions hughely appreciated!!


Joanna Arlington
Joanna ...
Posts: 1


Introspection is an incredibly important thing to do; too much of it might make you want to reinvent the wheel many times over... rather than looking at what is working well and what is not! (Make sure you do not throw the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak!)

Being prescriptive is helpful for some students and incredibly limiting for others so I think the most important thing is that you know how to adapt depending on the strenghts of your pupils. That's more easily said then done but I think that might be the holistic/organic element you are looking for!

With the personal investigation, especially now that at my school we have moved to the linear course, I have found that having a formal deadline driven initial few weeks, gives enough structure for them to develop good habits to continue to develop their ideas more independantly. It also gives them the confidence they need to invest in a topic they know, in a way, has been vetted by you.

First month is made up of short weekly tasks that require them to have done initial ideas/work for three topics they have selected (from helpful suggestions such as previous exam titles) critical analysis and artists reference pages relevant to those three topics along with self analysis and review of their work so far. I then ask them to select one of the three starting points they came up with to take further into their final personal investigation title. 

After that point the lessons are a mix of combined group critical analysis, group crits of each others work and the stages they are at (which include presentations and discussions of projects based on the assessment objectives) Gallery visits, necessary workshops (sometimes reminder skills) and lots and lots of tutorials (using a shared calander).

Another thing which I find very helpful and I am sure you already do it is keeping tutorial notes. I often type these up with the pupil during tutorials, including any references and images we have discussed and then email this to them immediatley (or after the lesson). The student is running the show but is supported by written and dated material (e.g look at this artists, go to this exhibition, do this piece, write this bit of analysis). This is also incredibly useful when assessing the student.

There are still deadlines in place but they are peronalised to the pupil. It requires you to be very organised and aware of what each pupil in your class is doing but also allows them so much more freedom to really develop and refine their work to create a truly personal project. 

That was probably not very helpful in the slightest and you probably do all of that but... sharing is caring.


Best wishes,


Joanna Laughing