An RPPF with examiner comments
With a little guidance, every candidate should be able to score top marks on Criterion E: Engagement, which is based on the Reflections on Planning and Progress Form (RPPF). Reflection is an art form. And like any art form it can be learned. Below is a rather mediocre RPPF in the left column. In the right column, an experienced examiner has provided comments. Try to learn from these comments before writing your own RPPF comments or commenting on other RPPFs.
|Children’s art is not well known as a source of inspiration for artists, since it is often not seen as art. However the CoBrA artists recognized the unique aspects of children’s art.
|There's no reason to explain 'how the world works' in an RPPF. These sweeping generalisations do not show reflection on planning or progress.
|I know that they used it as a source inspiration for their own work, because I learned about this during a visit to the CoBrA Museum in Amstelveen. In this light, I wonder how children’s art inspired the CoBrA artists.
|It's good to write about one's source of inspiration in the first reflection. A sense of wondering shows engagement with the topic.
|I also have an aunt who is a child psychologist, and I know that she uses children’s drawings as a means of getting to know her patients. I wonder what she would think of these works of art by Noiret, Appel and Corneille.
|Again a sense of wondering is good. But it's not clear yet where this essay is going. So it is difficult to determine the value of the opinions of a child psychologist, as a secondary source.
|I have spoken with my supervisor, who is my visual arts teacher. She has suggested that I go to the CoBrA Museum again, visit the Stedelijk Museum as well, do some simple online research, and try to formulate a good research question for the next session.
|Watch out for words like 'simple', as this belittles the research process (and the Criterion E is about overcoming challenges). It's good to comment on the role of one's supervisor. It's also good to end the comment box with the future tense. What will happen next and why?
|I have narrowed down my research question with the help of my supervisor. At first I wanted to study CoBrA works as a backlash to the WWII, inspired by Paul Klee and his view of WWI. I wanted to do a pyscho-analysis of their works of art, as a modern-day psychologist would analyse children’s drawings.
|It's good to comment on how one's understanding of the research project has changed and why it has changed. But it's not clear from these comments why the psycho-analytical approach was inappropriate for the scope of research. What interests the candidate about the art as a response to war? That would be good to explore.
|My supervisor’s advice, to ‘keep it simple’, led me to focus more on the works of one artist, Paul Klee. She also told me that there’s a special exhibition going on there now on his work specifically.
|From these comments, it seems that the candidate is simply doing what the supervisor says. Even if this is the case, candidates should focus on why the supervisor's advice is valuable. If 'keep it simple' is the advice, comment on what was unnecessarily complex (such as multiple artists and pscho-analysis).
|I’ve already seen some of his works online through a simple Google search, and I’m fascinated by his use of simple abstractions, light and colour. I’m going to focus on the exact aspects of children’s art that inspired him, such as the importance of memory, imagination and life, and show how his art inspired other artists during the CoBrA movement.
|This should have been the first line of the first reflection. References to 'abstractions, light and colour' cleary show an appreciation of the primary source. Furthermore, showing how one artist inspired other artists is a good method for analytical essays in the languages and arts.
|My aunt has helped me acquire some typical drawings made by children, and we’ve had conversations about what typifies children’s style. I will go back to the CoBrA Museum to find evidence of this style in Klee’s artwork this weekend.
|Oh no! What happened to 'keep it simple'? It's not clear why consulting the aunt is valuable to the research. Although this is not an empirical essay, searching for evidence to support one's hypothesis is exactly scientific. It's good to end the comment box in the future tense. Note that this interim reflection has not evaluated any secondary sources, which should happen by this point.
Final reflection (Viva voce)
|After I visited the Paul Klee exhibition in Amstelveen, the essay seemed to write itself. It was difficult to narrow down my research to a few paintings, because there were so many great ones.
|It's good to see how this essay is becomes more focused throughout the process. Note that the reasons for excluding psychology and the aunt are not made explicit.
|At first I went a little overboard on Klee, and my supervisor reminded me to connect him to later CoBrA artists.
|Why does Klee need to be connected to CoBra artists, besides the reminder from the supervisor?
|I found that it was easy to comment on Karel Appel though, because it’s so easy to see how he was inspired by Klee, and how Klee was inspired by children’s art.
|Is the connection between Appel and Klee really so easy to make? What is easy about it?
|I also found it easier to write the essay once I knew that I would focus on certain aspects of children’s art that were typical of their drawings, such as spontaneity, freedom, colours, style and angles.
|Again it's good to see an apprciation of the primary source. This realisation may be too little too late. Ideally this kind of learning curve should be experienced in the initial steps. On the other hand: better late than never. This comment is very much on target for Criterion E.
|Once I broke down my EE into smaller chunks of research and writing, I found it easier to write.
|It would have been nice to read more about the writing process. What 'chunks' were to big? What is meant by 'chunks' exactly?
If you read Criterion E: Engagement carefully you will notice several references to the 'Approaches to Teachaing and Learning' (ATLs), such as 'conceptual understanding and skill development' and 'engagement with the research'. When writing comments on the RPPF, refer to the ATLs.