All resources on this site are written by Robert Watts, Senior Lecturer in Art and Design Education at the University of Roehampton, London.
Robert studied Fine Art and taught in inner-London schools before joining Roehampton in 2000, where he is Course Leader for PGCE Secondary Art and Design. He also teaches art and design modules on the BA Primary Education and PGCE Primary programmes and previously led the
MA Art, Craft and Design Education programme from 2005 to 2015.
Robert's research focuses mainly on children’s aesthetic experiences, using visual and child centered methodologies. In 2016 he completed a PhD entitled Children's Perceptions of Beauty: Exploring aesthetic experience through photography. You can
read two articles based on the research here.
Robert is the co-editor of two books, Teaching Art and Design 3-11 and Readings in Primary Art Education, and has published over 200 articles and projects in magazines, including Teach Primary, Child Education, and Right Start, a selection of which are featured on this site.
You can contact Robert here
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Printmaking with PGCE Primary Education students at Roehampton University, 2018
What are your key messages for student teachers?
I want students to become confident teachers through finding something they love to teach and seizing opportunities to teach it. If teachers can show children that they are absorbed by a subject – whether it’s book illustration or long multiplication – then children will be inspired to engage with it themselves.
Every term I visit student teachers in about 15 schools in and around London. It’s a privilege to spend time in classrooms and I learn something from every lesson I see. I love to watch teachers create opportunities for children to become absorbed in their work and I love to hear children’s voices as they articulate their ideas, experiences and interpretations of their worlds. My heart sinks whenever I hear a teacher telling children to be silent.
A six minute video starring Susan Ogier and Robert Watts
Find out about the programme
Find out about the University of Roehampton programme
What was your first teaching experience?
I arrived at my PGCE placement school a week late – having crashed my car on the journey the previous week – to find half the staff off sick and a deputy headteacher panicking at the prospect of covering a difficult Year 6 class.
‘They’re expecting me to teach them how to make linocuts’, she gulped, ‘And I haven’t got a clue what to do.’ I put down my bag. ‘I’ll teach them if you like’. The look on the deputy head’s face said I wouldn’t trust you with a toasted sandwich let alone this bunch – while simultaneously calculating that my presence meant she could escape.
The lesson went well. The deputy head told all the teachers He’s a genius! He can teach anything! She was wrong. I was useless and I could only teach one thing. Fortunately, it was how to make linocuts. I loved printmaking, and I’d done little else since leaving art school a few years earlier.
1991: An early brush with fame...The front page of the Surrey Comet, no less