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5 Ways to Use Language for Positive Effect in Art Discussions

As an educator, do you pay attention to the language you use when you are leading a discussion about art or objects? Do you notice how certain words, phrases and tenses can have a positive or negative effect on a group? Here are 5 ways you can use language for positive effect in your discussions. 1. Use neutral language Staying as neutral as possible as a facilitator encourages feedback from every participant and allows for multiple interpretations. Neutrality is a tricky concept (here's a good read on it) and this subject is always quite a thorny one in my classes

6 quick-fire ways to improve your Zoom confidence

What's your Zoom confidence like? Whether you're new to Zoom or you’ve already had a go (but are still unsure), it's important to feel confident when running sessions on Zoom. Perhaps you're afraid of the tech and want to feel in control of it? Or maybe you're worried that your sessions won't be as engaging as your in-person ones? Or maybe you feel your personality won't come across and you feel camera-shy? Whatever type of session you’re leading, I’m going to teach you how to set yourself up for success so that you can confidently create and lead interactive sessions

4 Myths about Online Learning: Challenge your Thinking

Do you ‘distrust’ or ‘dislike’ online learning? Maybe you’ believe that ‘in-person’ is miles better? Then, it's definitely time to challenge your thinking on these 4 common myths about online learning. I've attended some fantastic online classes over the past few months and I've led plenty of my own.⁠ ⁠ I've gone from teaching partially to fully online and I really love it. ⁠ ⁠ It's just as (and in some cases MORE) rewarding and engaging online. We can be more creative with artworks, cover more content around teaching techniques and get more practice/coaching done online. ⁠ ⁠ My

The Power of Reflection in Online Learning

So, this week marks the end of my 8 week Visible Thinking in the Museum Online (VTMO) course. 17 participants from 8 different countries (& 2 continents) came with me on a deep dive into learning how to create engaging and lively discussions about art and museum objects using my method ‘Visible Thinking in the Museum’ (a combination of VT elements and museum education practices). 23 thinking routines and 8 modules later - covering basic & advanced facilitation skills, questioning skills, slow looking, thinking routine selection, how to use information, teaching with objects and more - we are at the

Offline to Online Training: How to Quickly Adapt a Course

A different kind of post today. I honestly didn't know what to write today - I had planned a post but it didn't seem right right now with so much uncertainty and restrictions placed on our daily lives. With little sign of the Coronavirus crisis abating and more countries closing public organisations and encouraging social distancing, many people have been thinking about how they might offer online alternatives for their offline services. My business has relied on face-to-face contact for the last 7 years. I've already been developing new online courses over the last 6 months - my new Slow-Looking

Tips & Tools: Positioning on Guided Tours

How often do you think about how you position yourself on a guided tour? And how you position the group too? It can make all the difference! YOU: Before introducing an object/artwork to someone on your tour, see it properly for yourself. Look at it from a variety of difficult angles (as your participants would) and see what is easy or tricky to see from each position. Find the best spot to position your group so that they can all see well (and hear you too!). Literally, you should stand in a good position to reduce the strain on your body

Visible Thinking Routine of the Week: Beginning-Middle-End

⭐️VISIBLE THINKING ROUTINE OF THE WEEK ⭐️ BEGINNING-MIDDLE-END I absolutely love this routine. It has always been a STAR ⭐️ for me with groups of all ages. It never fails. Even with a group of IT Managers who admitted right at the start of our workshop that they 'don't do art museums' loved this routine and came up with some very imaginative storylines for some Jeff Wall photographs! BEGINNING-MIDDLE-END is our 5th VTR of the week and this one is the last thinking routine that we cover on our DAY 1 Introduction to VT in the Museum training (others are,

Thinking Routine of the Week: Headlines

⭐️THINKING ROUTINE OF THE WEEK ⭐️ HEADLINES This weeks thinking routine of the week is HEADLINES. This routine helps capture the essence or heart of an idea being discussed. It is also used for summarising and synthesising ideas. Composed of just ONE question that asks: 'If you were to write a headline for this topic or issue right now that captured the most important aspect that should be remembered, what would that headline be?' This routine works well at the end of a discussion and in combination with other routines (such as 10x2+Step Inside + Headlines). It's a good way of

Our 6 Most Popular Blogs of 2019

What did you enjoy reading the most in 2019? It's always good to reflect at the end of the year before starting a new one - and it was really interesting to see which of our blog posts were the most popular! Did you catch all of these? Scroll through this list, and catch up on our top blogs you may have missed throughout the year. 1. Visual Thinking Strategies and Visible Thinking No surprise this one - this blog has been a perennial favourite since it was first published way back in 2013. Update and refreshed for 2019, it

A Quick Guide to Facilitation Skills

On my Visible Thinking in the Museum trainings we teach participants facilitation skills for use on guided tours or educational programmes with art and museum objects. I use this image (above) of an angry teacher (!) to get the discussion started with the question 'What is facilitation?' What is facilitation? What is a facilitator?  The word facilitate actually comes from the Latin which means to ‘make easy’. A facilitator is basically a person whose role is to guide people through a process to an effective result. On a guided tour or educational programme, facilitation is centred around guiding processes and creating participation. How