The discussion-based Q&A method at the core of The Superpower of Looking ensures that it is a highly accessible resource that gives space for students to input and share their learning and understanding throughout each lesson, based on what they see from their perspective.
When working with pupils with additional support needs, we advise following through the stages outlined in each lesson plan and adapting the vocabulary to suit the age and level of understanding of students. Teacher and resource consultant Penny Huntsman explains more in the following film from 2:00 onwards.
Using The Superpower of Looking can be of particular benefit for teaching students with specific additional support needs, such as exploring non-verbal communication with children with autism, e.g. discussing the emotions expressed by the various facial expressions in An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump, or providing children with dyslexia the opportunity to communicate visually and verbally rather than an emphasis on written communication.
With some students, it may be useful to gather together sensory objects that relate to the painting, such as tactile items and scents to provide another way to engage with the work. Stage 2 of each lesson features nudge questions which are often related to senses other than sight in order to provide multiple ways to engage with the painting.
Students with blindness or visual impairment
In order to use The Superpower of Looking resource with students with blindness or visual impairment, VocalEyes have produced audio descriptions of the lead artwork in each Superpower category which should be played to the student(s) before beginning the Superpower stages:
- Superpower History 1: The Adoration of the Kings AD
- Superpower Portrait 1: The Armada Portrait AD
- Superpower Everyday 1: An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump AD
- Superpower Landscape 1: Surprised! AD
- Superpower Still Life 1: Still Life, Flowers and Insects AD
For the remaining lessons, we advise providing your students with an audio description of the artwork at the beginning of the lesson using vocabulary suited to their age and level of understanding in the following format:
- Describe the painting's objective features: is it landscape, portrait or square? What is depicted? What is in the centre, at the top, at the bottom? What size, shape and/or colour are objects or figures? What techniques have been used? Use the Superpower Kit to remind you of the various elements you could describe to your student(s).
- What impression does the painting make on you, the describer, in terms of its atmosphere, setting and mood (refer to Light section in Superpower Kit)? Be careful that your personal impression does not pull too much focus from the objective details; discussion with your students beyond your initial description should focus on their impression of what you've described to them.
- You may wish to gather together sensory objects that relate to the painting, such as tactile items and scents to provide another way to engage with the work.
- Follow the Superpower lesson stages, providing further audio description when required to engage your student(s) with the suggested questions.
You can find more advice on giving audio descriptions via the following links:
- Sensing Culture: Audio Description
- 'Suggestions on how to describe pictures to blind people'
- VocalEyes: Audio