As well as being a successful Author on TES, Mael Matthews works as a professional artist, art examiner and has over 18 years of experience in education. We find out a bit more about Mael's background, how he juggles teaching with being an author and his advice for aspiring resources contributors.
Tell us a little about your teaching background.
I have been teaching for 18 years. Before that I was a landscape architect and worked alongside artists and sculptors producing artwork for public spaces in the UK. My main subject is art and design, which I teach to students in key stages 3, 4 and at post-16 level. I am also a senior art moderator for one of the examination boards and visit schools around the UK to check the standard of A-level marking.
I am now very excited to have taken up the role of head of learning in art and design at Clitheroe Royal Grammar School, one of the highest achieving schools in England.
What motivated you to sell your resources on TES?
I have always found it difficult to find relevant resources for art and design, therefore I started developing my own. Over the years, these resources have been used and adapted by colleagues in my art department. Now, through TES there is a way to offer my resources to a much wider audience. I am passionate about the need for high quality, pertinent art education and I hope that the sharing of my resources will help colleagues around the globe to develop their art provision.
As an author of art resources, what are some of the challenges you face?
I try to ensure that my teaching resources are informative, stimulating and easy to navigate.
They also aim to allow for individual interpretation by student and teacher. Prescriptive lessons should always be avoided because students should be encouraged to think for themselves - the next generation will need to be creative thinkers to be able to adapt to our fast changing work environment. Universities and employers are looking for people who can problem solve, rather than simply recall facts and figures.
In your opinion, where do you think art should sit in the wider secondary curriculum and how do you use your resources to reflect this?
There is a national decline in the number of students opting for art as an exam subject. I am aware of some schools reducing art provision at key stage 3 to make time for other subject areas. Also, fewer boys are choosing art at GCSE. My resources aim to encourage both boys and girls and make clear vocational links. Students need to be shown the validity of the subject at a time when the curriculum is becoming increasingly competitive.
It shouldn’t be forgotten that the creative industries are still one of the UK’s main exports. I feel that my resources demonstrate a cohesive approach to the teaching of art, linking with other subject areas and showing that artistic and creative ability can support students in other subject areas.
What is the most important piece of advice you would give to authors of resources in creative subjects?
Always produce resources that you would use - I use all the resources that I publish.
As teachers we have a huge responsibility to engage students and help them discover their full potential. The quality of the resources we use can contribute to this. It isn't just about teaching and learning facts, it's about teaching and learning how to learn and encouraging a joy of learning along the way.