Ted's teaching tips;The Big Picture

19th March 1999 at 00:00
Are children conservative about "modern" art and architecture? Can buildings that shock initially become classics?

Modern architecture What do you think of modern buildings like this? Exciting? Shocking? Ugly? Intriguing? Are there local buildings you love or hate, and why? When were they built and for what purpose? Should buildings be functional, visually attractive, or both? What about supermarkets, DIY stores, cinemas, sports centres: should we bother about their architecture, or are they just places we use?

History of buildings Think about buildings over the ages: Greek and Roman architecture, medieval churches, 19th-century civic buildings, 20th-century edifices like the Sydney Opera House. How and why does architecture change (building materials and know-how, functions, wealth of sponsor client)? What fashions come and go (eg revival of Greek and Roman columns in neo-classical buildings)?

Museums What is kept in museums and galleries (artefacts, paintings, sculptures)? Do you like museums, or are they dreary? Is there anything you would like to see from the past (the first Bible or Koran, the dag-gers that killed Julius Caesar, clothes worn by famous figures)?

Writing Describe features of 1999 that you would put into a museum for people to see in the future, explaining why. Write a story about a class of children being shown round your museum in the year 2500.

Ted Wragg is professor of education at Exeter University

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