During my experience teaching an animation after-school club, I have been involved in a unique pedagogical strategy that I call “multi-level teaching.” Basically, this structure allowed for participants at many different levels of education to teach and learn from one another and collaborate on animation projects. During the first round of the animation club, a university professor and her undergraduate art education students worked with me, as a graduate student, and a local middle school art teacher, to teach animation to adolescent students. All of these participants were co-learners and co-teachers about animation production and pedagogy.

 



High school student teaching
undergraduate college student.


In a later round of the animation club, my experienced students and I were able to teach a new group of undergraduates the basic animation concepts that they then could teach to the newer middle school club members.

So, the undergraduate volunteers were learning about animation, learning that students can become experts in complex processes, and learning strategies for teaching these processes in future. My students were learning that they have expertise to share, and how to share it, and I learned how to engage all of these different levels of learners in the process.

 


Four levels of co-learners


Based upon this teaching experience, I find multi-level teaching an effective strategy for:

  • Creating the opportunity for a dynamic and active learning.

  • Encouraging all participants to develop skills not only with the medium but also in communication and interaction.

  • Promoting collaboration and dialogue.

  • Underscoring the fact that everyone involved can be both teacher and learner.
In this case, the classroom benefited from involvement of a university faculty member, a graduate student in art education, undergraduate students, the high school and middle school art teachers, high school and middle school students, as well as the occasional visit from other technology teachers. In a different setting, similar beneficial interactions could be promoted by inviting pre-service teacher volunteers, interested parents, elementary school students, technology club members, or other groups to participate in the process of creating and learning about animation. Each participant brings a unique set of skills and interests to the process and contributes something special to the shared experience.


 
 
 

© 2008 Karin Gunn. All rights reserved.
Last Updated: February 2008