Once in a while something in the classroom happens that is just priceless. It might be the timing of a joke, throwing a ball of paper over your shoulder and across the classroom straight into the bin or a truly insightful comment of a pupil. Yesterday produced such a moment…..
It concerned a fashion assignment my fourth year pupils (15-16 year olds) are working on. A number of the girls were sitting at computers doing some preparatory work by researching nineteenth century fashion and contemporary designs. I don’t have any fashion orientated training, more a passing interest that has recently been stimulated visits to a number of museum fashion exhibitions. To my pupils, I think I am very much their art teacher and one with a particular interest in painting and sculpture.
As I walked around watching the pupils trawl through hundreds of photographs on a variety of sites one of the pupils stopped me and pointed to an image of a model in a dress on the screen.
“Do you know by any chance know who designed this dress sir?” she asked.
I looked over her shoulder, I could hardly believe the coincidence, it was one of the gowns that I had seen last year in the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague last year, and better still, I did remember who’s it was!
I paused for a moment and said, “yes, that’s by Jean Paul Gaultier”, carefully saying nothing more, and definitely not referring to the source of my knowledge. A couple of searches and clicks later and the pupil concerned had double checked my identification and found it to be true.
The best bit though was when the girl sitting next to her (and a bit of a fashion expert herself) slowly turned and looked up at me and said, “and you can tell that just by looking at the dress?”
“Yes” I said and walked away. As I moved on I glanced back, the look of dumbfounded amazement on the second girl’s face was truly priceless!
They say that a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing, but equally, a little knowledge , used sparingly can be a truly wonderful thing. You can walk away appearing to be, if not a genius, at least a contemporary fashion expert.
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