An Roinn Oideachais agus Eolaíochta
Department of Education and Science
Subject Inspection of
Technical Graphics (TG)/Technical Drawing (TD)
Roscrea, County Tipperary
Roll number: 65410K
Date of inspection: 21 March 2006
Date of issue of report: 26 October 2006
Report on the Quality of Learning and Teaching in Technical Graphics (TG)/Technical Drawing (TD)
This report has been written following a subject inspection in Cistercian College, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary. It presents the findings of an evaluation of the quality of teaching and learning in TG/TD and makes recommendations for the further development of the teaching of these subjects in the school. The evaluation was conducted over one evening during which the inspector visited the TG/TD classroom and observed teaching and learning. The inspector interacted with students and staff, examined students’ work, and had discussions with the principal and TG/TD teaching staff. The inspector reviewed school planning documentation and written preparation. Following the evaluation visit, the inspector provided oral feedback on the outcomes of the evaluation to the TG/TD teaching staff and principal. The board of management of the school was given an opportunity to comment on the findings and recommendations of the report; the board chose to accept the report without response.
Junior-cycle TG and senior-cycle TD are offered at Cistercian College outside the school's timetabled curriculum in an initiative designed to meet students’ needs in this all-boys boarding school. Lessons in TG and TD take place on two evenings per week at a time normally designated for supervised study. In the current school year there are no first-year students taking TG but there are small class groups in each of second and third years. Small groups from each of fifth and sixth years take TD.
The provision of TG and TD in order to meet the needs and interests of some students in the school is commended. However, an examination of the possible development of this level of provision is recommended, in light of the current level of up-take outside the timetabled curriculum, in order to determine the viability of including the subjects as options in the timetabled curriculum in future years.
Short-term programmes of work for TG and TD in line with curricular requirements have been developed and are being effectively implemented and a variety of resource materials has been developed by the TG/TD teaching staff.
All TG and TD class groups are of mixed ability and students sit examinations at the level appropriate to their abilities.
An appropriately ordered learning environment was created and maintained in all lessons evaluated. All learning activities were well-managed and students were motivated and challenged by them. Lessons were coherent, had clear aims and objectives, were well-structured to ensure
continuity and progression through the syllabuses and were appropriately paced in terms of the lessons evaluated. Homework had been and was given and this helped to ensure continuity with
previous and future lessons. Lessons were suitable for the time of year and took account of the differentiated needs of individual students. This practice is commended.
Appropriate teaching methodologies, in terms of students’ abilities, needs and interests, were employed and a range of strategies was used. The terminology and good drawing practices associated with TG/TD were continually used and demonstrated during lessons. This practice is commended.
Global and directed questions were used to revise material covered in previous lessons, to introduce new topics, to direct student attention and to summarise at the end of lessons. This practice is commended.
Stimulating materials, including three-dimensional models related to the topics being dealt with, were used effectively during lessons and this is highly commended as it promotes students’ development from concrete to abstract representation and is an essential element of the teaching and learning processes in TG/TD. Overhead projector transparencies, examination workbooks and handout materials were also used effectively and well-integrated into lessons.
TG/TD teaching staff moved easily around the classroom and engaged with individual students, assessing progress in the completion of classroom tasks. This also helped to ensure that individual students remained engaged with lesson activities and afforded opportunities to assist individual students when required. This practice is commended.
The whiteboard and overhead projector were used very effectively during lessons to focus student attention and to support learning. Demonstrations of drawing principles were of a high standard and whiteboards or overhead projector diagrams were presented incrementally in a manner that allowed the effective scaffolding of students' learning. This is commended as good practice. This good practice was further enhanced when TG/TD teaching staff spoke through demonstrations, allowing students to both see and hear the development of diagrams while completing their own drawings. Drawing processes and systems were demonstrated to whole class groups, to emphasise salient points to smaller groups, and to individual students. This practice is commended. The draughting skills displayed by the TG/TD teaching staff on the whiteboard when modelling appropriate constructions were commendable.
Classroom routines were evident during all lessons evaluated. These are particularly important when activity-based lessons are being undertaken and serve to ensure that the environment in the classroom is well organised and managed. This practice is commended.
The quality of students’ understanding was reflected in their ability to ask and answer questions during lessons and in the drawing skills and competencies exhibited in their individual drawings during work on lesson tasks. The quality of students’ drawings was of a high standard while remaining consistent with the range of students' abilities in the class groups.
The content of TG and TD students’ portfolios was appropriate and drawings displayed good standards of draughtsmanship and a mastery of the knowledge and competencies associated with syllabus topics. Students received affirmative written feedback on their completed drawings and issues that needed to be addressed in future work were also highlighted. This practice is commended. While emphasising the problem-solving nature of the work undertaken by drawing students in junior and senior cycle the promotion, in tandem, of high standards of draughtsmanship is also recommended. The use of the most modern drawing instruments should be continually promoted in all year groups and all students should be encouraged to use adjustable set squares and micro-pencils. Excellence in freehand drawing should also be promoted and efforts should be made to include elements of topic-related freehand drawing in all lessons.
An excellent rapport based on mutual respect was evident in all lessons evaluated. This promoted an atmosphere where students’ contributions were encouraged and welcomed during lessons. Students readily engaged with lesson activities and their work and contributions were appropriately affirmed. Students were enthusiastic, motivated, displayed their understanding of lesson concept and worked in an atmosphere conducive to learning. Ample opportunities and examples of students engaging in collaborative and independent learning were evident during lessons and students effectively communicated in TG/TD terminology.
A range of assessment modes related to curriculum objectives is employed in TG/TD. Drawn classwork is routinely assessed, commented on and graded. A similar system is operated for homework activities. Class tests are organised upon the completion of topics. These practices are commended.
The results of assessments are recorded systematically and are used to identify trends in students' achievement, to inform teaching strategies and to address the needs of individual learners. These practices are commended.
The results of students’ achievements in TG/TD are communicated to parents by means of school reports and further contact with parents of TG/TD students may be organised should the need arise.
Students displayed a high level of enthusiasm and curiosity for the subjects during the inspection and their skills and knowledge levels, relative to age, ability, and class level were appropriate.
The following are the main strengths and areas for development identified in the evaluation:
As a means of building on these strengths and to address areas for development, the following key recommendations are made:
Post-evaluation meetings were held with the TG/TD teaching staff and with the principal at the conclusion of the evaluation when the draft findings and recommendations of the evaluation were presented and discussed.