"Ceramics is in our DNA here in Stoke and this initiative is the perfect way to celebrate that heritage while getting young people fired up about learning."
Katie Leonard, Lecturer in PGCE Art
Staffordshire University has joined forces with the British Ceramics Biennial to promote the use of ceramics in mainstream education.
The STEM into STEAM initiative encourages trainee teachers to discover connected curriculum opportunities and aims to raise the profile of arts and culture in classrooms across Stoke-on-Trent.
Katie Leonard, a PGCE Art Lecturer at Staffordshire University and Clay School Development Director at the British Ceramics Biennial (BCB), is leading the project.
“This is about raising awareness of the arts and how we feel it should have parity with the STEM subjects – Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. Adding in an 'A' for art can make all those subjects really come alive and be connected in the schools across our city.” she explained.
“Ceramics is in our DNA here in Stoke and this initiative is the perfect way to celebrate that heritage while getting young people fired up about learning.”
This month, PGCE Maths and PGCE Art students came together to take part in workshops hosted by the BCB using Johnsons Tiles and origami to understand the STEM subjects. The associate teachers spent a day exploring clay and creating schemes of work and lessons, which will be delivered in Stoke-on-Trent schools in the new academic year.
PGCE Mathematics student James Chadwick will take up a teaching post at the Discovery Academy this autumn. He said: “I found the workshops really useful - I never thought that maths and art would combine so easily. Especially the geometry side of it and looking at shapes that tessellate has worked really well. I will definitely try and incorporate art into my maths lessons!”
Emily Stevens, studying PGCE Art, will also begin a teaching role in a Staffordshire school after she graduates. She added: “I think using clay is definitely an effective way of teaching children that STEM can go into STEAM really well. It will be nice to bring ceramics into schools, bring Stoke's industry back and put it on the map again.”
A further event this Friday will see 48 trainee primary teachers from Staffordshire University explore how ceramics can be used to teach children through visual narratives and includes workshops based on the Willow Pattern design.
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