by Jasmin C Hall
Friday morning's Sharing Good Practice session was a demonstration of a bricklaying construction class, hosted by Mr Lennox. Sharing Good Practice is the way teachers at Studio West take note of their colleague’s techniques, which can be utilised across different subjects to great effect.
"Too often you can be caught up in your daily tasks. It's good to stop and see how others work, and tackle their issues. It can help you find a new perspective on how to implement your own teaching strategies," said Mr McLoughlin, the school’s Business Engagement Manager.
In today's presentation three members of staff: Mr Pattison, Mrs Bell and Ms Wigham were challenged to build the beginnings of a brick wall using sand treated with lime, the industry standard mortar for temporary construction work.
"I find that bricklaying helps our pupils appreciate trade skills and gives them an understanding of the skills they have to develop in the world of work." said Mr Lennox, explaining the importance of the potential occupation for students.
"Bricklaying inspires competition amongst friends, achievement, pride, self-belief and an employment goal. The skills they build from these workshops are skills for life."
The staff participants were given a demonstration by Mr Lennox on how to use a trowel to collect the correct amount of sand-lime mix and instructed on how to slide it off in a thin line, to secure their bricks along.
Then they learnt how to check the flatness of their laid bricks by using a spirit level, and how to tap bricks down if they were uneven. Mr Pattison, one of the beginner bricklayers said:
"It was a challenging yet enriching experience to push myself out of my usual comfort zone and try out a new skill, but I think I need a bit more practice before I attempt to lay a brick wall around my house!"
Mr Lennox treated the session as a lesson, explaining the correct terminology of brick sides- the face, head and cheeks. Whilst the volunteers were working on their bricklaying construction, the remaining staff in the audience watched their progress. The observing staff were given a list of the beneficial aspects of a good lesson in any subject, such as listening, learning by mistakes, peer assessment and time management. Their task was to mark off when these positive, enriching aspects of learning were performed.
The exercise was a demonstration of how quickly a new skill can begin to take shape. Though not yet experts, the participants became confident in the techniques they had been shown.
It just goes to show that the confidence and motivation to get up and have a go is just as important as having the correct tools when you begin a new profession, hobby or subject! Nice time someone asks for volunteers, be brave and have a try!
About the author
Jasmin C Hall is a journalism student on placement with Studio West. All articles from Jasmin contribute to her professional portfolio and course examples