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Linda Beadle’s Learning Logs

Pat Moloney talks about Linda Beadle’s Textiles 1 learning logs and the role of learning logs in general.

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Posted by author: Genevieve Sioka
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11 thoughts on “Linda Beadle’s Learning Logs

  • I agree. They are wonderful working documents and it is really interesting as well to see how they progress.
    I’ve been pondering Gareth’s comments towards the end about OCA’s lack of absolute deadlines increasing the risk of perfectionist tendencies. I recognise the temptation to hold onto work for too long, hoping to improve on it. But I think there is also a danger of seeing completing an assignment as an end in itself, and basing all one’s energies and sense of achievement on simply sending them off, regardless of whether you have achieved the learning aims or even given it your best shot. The answer must be to find a balance somewhere in the middle, which is easier said than done.
    I certainly have perfectionist tendencies and probably take longer than I really should over some things. But sometimes letting yourself explore interesting issues is a great way to deepen your learning. Not sure that I’ve got the balance right yet: I’m interested to know how others deal with this problem – and also what tutors and OCA personnel think.
    And now I’m starting to think about taking time to make a prettier logbook, on top of normal work. ; -))

  • In answer to Eileen, as a OCA Textiles tutor I would say deadlines are exceptionally important. As an former OCA student I tried to keep to them, probably trained by doing an OU degree beforehand, where missing a deadline meant the same as not submitting it. Later at Art College doing postgrad Textiles, if you missed the deadline, that was it, your work was unmarked and you were probably off the course. I am a perfectionist by nature, a real procrastinator, but had to learn to let it go at a certain point – and it forced me to resolve things within the time scale, as you usually have to do after college, designing for clients,companies or exhibitions. It is important to allow for exploration below the surface, but this so easily falls ove into procrastination; believe me, I know from my own past experiences. If you hit real life issues, bereavement, severe illness, ect then there is provision for the OCA student to extend the deadline, even the course time. Also in my experience the most creative students are often the ones who work quite quickly, plan timescales and keep to them, which might seem counter to creativity, but really I feel is part of it.

  • “The answer must be to find a balance somewhere in the middle, which is easier said than done.”
    I think this is absolutely right Eileen and the first assignment is probably pivotal here – it gives the tutor the opportunity to judge where the student is on the slapdash-perfectionist spectrum and provide feedback which should moderate either tendency.
    It might not be clear from what I say in the video, but draw a distinction between perfectionism stemming from a drive to keep exploring an idea, an approach or a particular set of materials and continual amendment. The first can be productive, the latter can be destructive, particularly when it arises out of a lack of self-esteem. However, while one can separate these types of activities conceptually, identifying them in practice takes self-awareness that is itself a skillset.

  • I am an OCA student and I feel that I have got about the right balance between putting my all into the projects and knowing when work just has to go without hanging onto it or doing needless amendments.
    However, I would not be able to do an OCA course without the possibility of being very flexible about times, as I am fitting in the course around a lot of other commitments. If I could not do the course over a long period I would not be able to do it at all.
    If I have delays or times when I have to leave my course it is not because I am procrastinating but I simply cannot give any more time to the course then.
    I also think it is important to remember that some students may need or want to take the course at different speeds and the suggested hours to spend on work can only ever be a rough guide.
    I did my first course with the OCA over two years as someone who was a complete beginner in art and my tutor always encouraged me to take as long as I needed and looked at it as a very positive thing that I was taking it in my own time and not rushing, and I made a lot of progress in my development as an artist. By contrast, my second course was completed in under six months as I became more confident and could devote myself to the course fully during this time.
    I have just started my third course and I have no idea when it will be finished, but I do not think it should be looked at as a negative thing that students work to their own pace, or that timetables have anything to do with creativity.

  • Sadly I am a deadliner,(meaning that I have such a busy schedule at times I could easily miss the deadline) So I feel it important to keep the log book up to date and complete the deadline in accordance with your tutor This dose not mean that you are more concerned about getting your work out on time. I just feel that you owe it to your tutor who has spent time looking at each assignment, and then setting the next deadline. After all that is what your tutor is there for, to get you to work hard to a set deadline. Not for you to say in many ways, (in my own time).

  • Great article and so useful – a huge spectrum of opinion dependent on a range of things including whether you are/can be a ‘deadliner’. Linda’s learning log is a great example and has some wonderful ideas on how to improve our own – thanks Linda and everyone involved in producing this article.
    One thing does occur to me…. when it comes time to submit log. books for assessment, it would be a heck of a job to identify and record which pages relate to which submitted project. The alternative is to leave the learning log without any record of links in which case the assessors would struggle (I suspect at the cost of some marks). I hope that this makes some sense…
    Any thoughts ?

      • Thanks Catherine
        great idea. Probably best to do this as I go along rather than be left with a huge task at the end when it comes time for assessment. An electronic BLOG methodology would take a bit more thinking about. (Sorry just thinking out loud.)
        Many thanks for taking the time to read this and comment.
        Best wishes

  • I would encourage anyone writing their log to treat it as a friend in the room with whom you have an animated and sometimes detailed discussion. Probably, like most students new to the concept of a log, at the beginning I was very conscious of the fact that my tutor would read it which rather shaped the way I approached it. However, about half way through the first book, I discovered that alongside comments on shows, textile artists or articles I had torn out of magazines, I had graduated to a dialogue with myself which was helping me resolve problems with my work, both practical and theoretical. It really helped to see my thoughts in writing. It didn’t require a thesis! Some of the entries were just quick ‘notes to myself’.

  • Everyone is talking as if the log book needs to be a physical book. I’m happy if a student wants to keep the log book online. After all – a Blog can be thought of as simply an online log book – and of course eliminates extra weight in parcels that visual arts students have to send . I find an online log really useful especially if a student wants to redo some work after a tutorial. They can photograph the new work and put it up online, rather than waiting until the next tutorial to show it to me. I know there is a wonderful physicality about collecting scraps, working diagrams, colour jottings, but could this not be put in the submitted ‘sketchbooks’ – pages of which can easily be scanned or photographed to add to the blog . I know some students have been confused as to the separate role of logbook and sketchbook – and of course a sketchbook might be used differently by a photographer or sculptor than a textile student. There is also this little problem of terminology. A sketchbook to me is a book for making drawings out of the studio – and can be any size that is convenient to carry. In the studio a ‘working notebook’ can be larger as it becomes the receptacle of all kinds of stuff – including reflective notes. Another thing – some students are frightened by the whole computer business, and this is a good way to get practice in scanning and uploading images – including getting the right resolution for the web. After all it is now becoming common practice to have an online portfolio. Some universities are now asking for one for addmission, before interviewing.

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