As an artist-teacher, Purnima passionately models the union between the roles of teacher and artist (writer, art-maker, curator), believing teaching involves exercising creativity, artistry and research-led practices, whilst her professional art-making is often inspired by her teaching. As such, there exists a dynamic, mutual and reciprocal relationship in her role as artist-educator that creates authentic, meaningful, engaging and personal learning experiences both for her students and herself as educator. Moreover, her diverse experience teaching in leading schools, universities and museums, together with her research collaborations with The Melbourne Graduate School of Education, enhances her innovative practice.
With a passion for creative writing, visual arts and education, I am driven to develop student knowledge and skills in an innovative, motivational and creative learning environment. As an accomplished and practicing artist, author and education researcher with numerous successful exhibitions and work published both in Australia and internationally, I am enthusiastic about applying my knowledge to deliver authentic learning experiences for students.
I strive to create an environment which inspires learning, inquiry, curiosity and creativity through interactive and inter-disciplinary student centred pedagogy that encourages the expression of ideas and acceptance of responsibility for learning. This involves personalised learning by differentiating the curriculum and assessment to meet the needs of individual students, and also integrating and capitalising upon the rich multicultural perspectives that students offer.
I believe quality educators are active members in their profession and specialist fields, continually engaging in professional development and evaluation of teaching pedagogy in order to ensure continual improvement of student outcomes and responsiveness to the diverse needs of students. It is this philosophy combined with my reflective and proactive approach that underpins my practice and which ensures my students develop a love of learning.
I have contributed to English departments within outstanding, high achieving, international school environments across Australia, the UK and now in a world-class international school in Thailand. My expertise encompasses teaching the UK National Curriculum for Key Stage 3, the IGCSE and IB curricula for English Language and Literature subjects.
I create an inquiry-based creative learning environment that fosters students’ appreciation and critical understanding of global literature and global issues that authors explore. Having published much about learning environments and technology in education, I am acutely aware of how flexible learning spaces optimises deep learning and allows for teaching in a way that the research shows is most favourable to learning outcomes.
I have drawn on my active involvement in art and writers communities to provide practical experiences and the opportunity to connect students to contemporary ideas and writers, bringing a vast field of knowledge and understanding to the classroom.
- Facilitation of ‘Word is Out’ - a Key Stage 3 magazine run by the students that aims to promote student voice:Promoting Student Authorship
- Year 8’s exploration of Lois Lowry’s novel, ‘The Giver’: The Ceremony of Twelves
Having worked and researched alongside leading educationalists, including John Hattie, I have delivered professional development workshops and lectures in Europe, Asia and the Asia-Pacific - including Thailand, Australia, Dublin and Oslo - aimed at educators. These talks focus on my specialist areas of knowledge - the relationship between visual art and literacy, interdisciplinarity in learning, teacher-artist issues and solutions for embracing a teacher-artist identity. I recognise the benefits of first-hand research and real-world involvements towards supporting improvements in student outcomes and teacher wellbeing.
I have experienced the transformative power of connecting people with art galleries and museums and value the role of divergent thinking in creating high impact art experiences for diverse museum audiences, including underrepresented communities. I draw on my published research on Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS), museum education practices and pedagogies to create accessible, enriching learning experiences.
At The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) and the Ian Potter Museum of Art (Melbourne), I planned, delivered and evaluated a range of education programs to primary, secondary, tertiary students, and teachers. Through my roles as Education Officer and Learning Resources Developer, I developed customised interdisciplinary programs and resources to support and enrich students’ understanding of key knowledge and skills across subject curricula, with particular expertise in English, ESL and Art subjects. I have also trained English teachers through professional development sessions on how to use visual art in the English language and literature curricula in the classroom.
Learning Resource Samples
- Children’s Trail program and activity booklet to encourage children to look, think and respond imaginatively through drawing and creative writing:
- Development of the Potter’s ESL education programme and resource:
- Development of resources for use in the museum’s Tertiary academic program:
- Resource to support the contemplation, iResource to support contemplation, interpretation and reflection of museum artworksnterpretation and reflection of museum artworks: View worksheet
At the University of Melbourne, I delivered two subjects as both lecturer and guest lecturer, to Master of Teaching and Master Education students enrolled in the following subjects:
Learning Area Visual Art 1
This subject introduces teacher candidates to the core curriculum knowledge required to teach Visual Art in secondary schools - the learning and teaching that underpin effective classrooms and the research that supports these principles.
Teaching and Artistic Practice
This subject examines through practice, discussion and reading, participating students’ beliefs concerning the relationship and tensions of being an artist and being a teacher. Students engage in a personal artistic exercise, resulting in produced work or work-in-progress for an exhibition, as a method for exploring this issue.
Learning Resource Samples
Resources for Learning Area Visual Art 1
- Responding to art - the teacher as a questioner and a listener
- Responding to art: using galleries as a teaching tool / applying questioning strategies in a museum setting using original artworks
- Cultural sensitivities and art education: how can we frame classroom activities to encompass wider perspectives?:
Teaching & Artistic Practice
- Discussion of the teacher-artmaker phenomenon literature: View Workshop Slides