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Creativity takes courage

| June 24, 2014 | 0 Comments

By Pauline Constable

It was the great painter Henri Matisse1 who inspired the title of this article and its content.

Many ISASA schools choose to write the Independent Examinations Board (IEB) examinations. The IEB is “an assessment body… accredited by Umalusi, the South African statutory body responsible for quality assurance for school and adult assessments. The IEB offers external assessment in accordance with legislation… for schools registered with it at Grade 9 and Grade 12, at which point successful learners are awarded the National Senior Certificate…”2 One of the IEB’s core principles is that teachers are a school’s greatest resource. “Hence… [they] need a voice in how the [national curriculum] is developed, interpreted and assessed. As professionals they need support, stimulation and encouragement. Above all, they need to be part of a vibrant ‘community of practice’.”3

Come to a cluster group meeting Such communities are called ‘cluster groups’ and work at local levels so that teachers may regularly collaborate and share ideas. IEB visual arts cluster group meetings in Gauteng are attended by more than 70 teachers, whose schools support the importance of the visual arts in developing a well-rounded and balanced pupil. This notion is reinforced by the fact that many teachers leave each meeting with a wealth of new lesson ideas, image ‘e-banks’, booklets and PowerPoint presentations.

‘Show and Tell’ showcases the work being done in schools, and teachers freely discuss challenges and handy hints when teaching visual arts lessons. Guest speakers are invited to inspire and enrich the visual arts teachers by addressing topics ranging from using Williams Taxonomy to Assess Creativity,4 to deciding what skills require assessment and how to assess such subjective material in a constructive way. Assessment is no longer about the finished product or composition, but rather about the techniques, processes and skills used to create the artwork.

Generous donations from suppliers ScolaQuip and Jovi At the recent visual arts IEB Gauteng cluster group meeting held at St Benedict’s Preparatory School in Johannesburg, each art teacher was challenged to participate in activities that our pupils are expected to attempt.

Nervously, we all set about the tasks and were exposed to the same difficulties and experiences confronted by our pupils. ScolaQuip and Jovi generously sponsored the materials for our watercolour and clay sessions, with the latter’s brand manager Rehana Moolla conducting a workshop on techniques using the Spanish firm’s highly pigmented watercolour set. The delighted teachers also got their hands dirty crafting minimasterpieces using Jovi’s air-drying clay, after which they were presented with a complimentary bag of product samples.

During the meeting, IEB curriculum experts also gave examples of Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS) teaching and learning ideas.5 Mari Coetzee, art teacher at St Benedict’s High School, discussed what skills should be developed in preparation for high school art and gave a spontaneous lesson on drawing a pencil sketch of a gem squash, focusing on shape and light.

Matisse would have found it marvellous Matisse would have been proud of the IEB art teachers who created Durer’s Rhino6 with tin foil and recycled cardboard, monsters using ink and straws, and optical art using Koki pens and recycled CDs, and using different techniques and ideas for painting with watercolours. Thereza Giorza, senior tutor in the arts faculty at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), presented a talk on the philosophy of art to inspire and challenge school art teachers to introduce this to their art lessons.

If you are teaching in an ‘IEB school’ and you feel you’re losing out, reach out to your local IEB cluster group. Visit or for more details. Pauline Constable is the visual arts IEB Gauteng cluster group coordinator. She also teaches at St Benedict’s Preparatory School in Bedfordview, Johannesburg.

1. See, for example:
2. See:
3. Ibid.
4. See, for example:
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Category: Winter 2014

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