“Especially in my Art and Design classes, I set up the students like we are working in a design studio. We collaborate, discuss and provide constant, constructive feedback as a means to improve. They feel valued in this environment and it shows with the high-quality work they produce.” Dean Jacobs says. For Dean, the Arts and Design Teacher at Meridan State College (MSC), making sure his lessons have real-world applications is paramount. By approaching students not merely as school students, but also as young professionals, he inspires them to create work of which they can be proud.
Through Dean’s creation of the Meridan Design Group, students come together to create design material for school functions and events, like the primary school’s musical ‘The Lion King’. Working on actual design briefs allow the students to apply what they’ve learnt in class to create portfolio-standard work, while delivering professional creative to the school community. “When students realise that their schoolwork can lead to professional opportunities, they devote more quality time to creating favourable outcomes,” Dean says. Additionally, Dean has partnered with the University of the Sunshine Coast to create a bridge between secondary and tertiary education, and he is currently in the process of obtaining his Training and Education (TAE) Training Package, with a view to establishing a Certificate III in Graphic Design program at the school. Dean, who completed a Doctorate in Creative Arts, has integrated a strong focus on visual literacy in his lessons, ensuring students understand not only how to create visual solutions to design problems, but why they are creating them. He is proud to have introduced a growing graphic design culture at Meridan that has gained a lot of interest, especially with the calibre of work that is being produced. “The students are enrolling in the units because of reputation, and some fantastic talent is being uncovered. Nurturing and developing this talent is the reason why I decided to become a secondary teacher,” Dean says. Congratulations Dean on your nomination.