Why are we teaching a knowledge-rich curriculum; how is it different?
We teach a knowledge rich curriculum to ensure previous skills taught in KS3 art and technology can be applied and retrieved when starting a new subject like Photography. As pupils don’t have access to this subject until GCSE, the knowledge they’ve acquired from KS3 are built on in terms of critical thinking and understanding of how to follow a guided creative process. New knowledge is shared through a building block structure; recognising the importance of mastering the technical aspects of the camera as a tool so that creative outcomes can be effectively accessed. These are taught through theory, applied to various areas of practice and supported with a planned recall process which is repeated over the course of the GCSE subject.
Why are we teaching this content?
We start off by teaching an introductory phase in Year 10 covering the manual controls of the SLR camera and how to manipulate lighting effectively. This is followed by two project briefs; one smaller, with the second being an extended project. The extended project allows students to implement the knowledge built throughout the preceding projects in more independent and personal ways. Pupils become more confident in their theoretical and practical understanding and how to apply this to their projects as we scaffold the journey. As pupils move through to Year 11, more open-ended projects allow pupils to further refine their understanding. It also allows them to use their imaginations, express their feelings and problem solve more independently as they work toward high quality and informed outcomes.
Why are we teaching it in this order?
We deliver what we identify as foundational knowledge at the start of Year 10 such as the technical aspects of the camera as a tool and how to begin expanding from this with introductory information regarding lighting both natural and studio. This builds confidence within the pupils with regards their ability to realise their planned outcomes. As we reduce the structure throughout the course, there are greater opportunities for pupils to become more independent whilst still exploring and focusing on the fundamental building blocks of the course structure. This independence also allows pupils to be exposed to wider and broader areas of photography.
What do pupils need to remember and be able to do in this subject?
Pupils need to remember the overall creative journey that they should be exploring. Pupils should be able to understand the context surrounding a photo, describe the formal elements and how these reflect the context, working toward a journey through the project brief which they should confidently experiment in throughout. Alongside this, pupils also need to remember subject specific terminology with regards to analytical, critical and evaluative thinking. Remembering and actively using this will allow pupils to progress in their understanding of works they explore. We want pupils to be expressive with motive whilst having the ability to make informed, personal and thoughtful decisions.
What methods do we use to help pupils secure this knowledge in long-term memory?
We use a wide range of methods to secure knowledge within long term memory. In photography we use regular classroom quizzing; reviewing previous and new knowledge that is taught. This method of continual recall, interleaved amongst practical tasks, helps to solidify skills that pupils haven’t experienced before as they haven’t studied photography before. Regular and informative review work based around the theme studied also allows students the opportunity to recall and implement prior and new knowledge.