Clay and Ceramics LEIRE

Course Objectives

In this course, students will expand their understanding, experience and creative skills in order to strengthen their foundation for the understanding and experience of aesthetic values related to materials, communication, function and didactics. The course will further develop students’ awareness of the potential and values of the subject, in which people, learning, culture and environment are vital components.

Students will:

  • develop their knowledge of children and youth’s aesthetic and creative skills using clay as a material, and they will develop their skills in teaching pupils with various interests and abilities.
  • develop their knowledge, cognition and ability to express themselves through aesthetic creative work using clay.
  • master the use of creative processes in problem solving, product development and aesthetic creative work.
  • systematically develop the necessary fine motor skills and technical knowledge in order to realise ideas and produce concrete results.
  • develop their ability to independently formulate and solve problems.
  • be able to use theories of form, colour and composition in order to evaluate their own creative work and that of others.
  • experience and acquire knowledge of art and design culture within the specialist subject field and develop active skills regarding our culture’s traditions and renewal.
  • acquire knowledge and experience of relevant research and development work within the subject field.

Course Description

Working with sculpture and utility objects in clay constitutes the main part of the course. An important aspect of the teaching practice is the opportunity students will have to try out and experiment with approaches and ideas acquired during the course teaching. Emphasis will be placed on students’ ability to work independently and to take responsibility for their own learning and study processes.

By alternating theory and practice, students will develop their ability to make decisions and defend professional practices. On this basis, the course will provide a background for improvement and an awareness of the potential and values of the subject in relation to the individual, schools and society. Knowledge, skills and familiarity with creative processes and aesthetic, functional, communicative and craft-related qualities are central elements of the course. In building further on the general knowledge emphasised in the foundation course, the students’ standards for insight, understanding of concepts and critical competence will be raised.

Course unit 1: Utility objects, Function, Form and Ornament

The work with utility objects focuses on practical creative work in clay in which the students acquire fine motor skills, technical and aesthetic knowledge in a coherent process from idea to finished product. Students will acquire understanding of the relation between function, form, surface and colour, and aesthetic expression.

Main elements:

  • Utility objects and function analysis
  • Low fire clays and glazes
  • Decoration and surface techniques
  • Relevant structure techniques
  • Form and ornament
  • Norwegian and international ceramics

Students will:

  • Acquire the necessary fine motor skills and technical and aesthetic knowledge to realise ideas in producing finished products.
  • work with low fire clays and glazes, slip and ceramic colours, throwing and slab building.
  • utilise the necessary aesthetic theories within form, ornament and image.
  • acquire and utilise the knowledge regarding traditional and contemporary expression in clay, both nationally and internationally.
  • develop the use of the terms and concepts used in the subject, and be able to analyse their own ceramic work and that of others.
  • acquire the necessary knowledge and information regarding safety and environment within the subject field.

Course unit 2: Sculpture and Three-Dimensional Aesthetic Work

This course unit consists of three-dimensional work in clay, both images/sculpture and work in the range between images and utility objects. Students will gain experience using clay’s expressive and communicative qualities.

Main elements:

  • Form and composition seen in relation to free three-dimensional expression
  • High fire clays and glazes
  • Modelling, slab and moulding techniques
  • Glazes and surface techniques
  • Norwegian and international sculpture

Students will:

  • learn to use clay as a means of expression and communication.
  • learn to appreciate the relation between form and surface in order to create an overall artistic expression.
  • work with high fire clays and glazes.
  • use modelling and other relevant building techniques to achieve the desired result.
  • understand and work with the entire ceramics process.
  • utilise Norwegian and international sculpture as a starting point and source of inspiration for their own work.
  • acquire the necessary knowledge concerning safety and environment within the subject field, especially in relation to materials which may be injurious to health; and in work with children and fire hazards.

Subject didactics

This includes the study of goals and possibilities of arts and crafts, and how one may organise instruction to fulfil the intentions of the curricula, particularly with respect to the learning and development of pupils in upper secondary schools. The methods stress interdisciplinary cooperation, and project work is an integral part of the course.

Students will be able to:

  • plan, carry out and evaluate teaching assignments in the subject, particularly in relation to upper secondary education.
  • participate in current subject pedagogical debates.
  • work with interdisciplinary projects, and on the basis of their own experience, knowledge and curricula, be able to justify and organise different teaching and learning methods.
  • prepare themselves to meet the learning and expressive needs of pupils and be able to inspire and guide them towards the development of active and inquisitive working methods.
  • apply subject didactic knowledge and experience from the teaching practice period as a basis for personal and professional growth, critical evaluation and further development of the subject.
  • have an overview of the current curricula and textbooks used in upper secondary schools.
  • reflect over the pedagogic consequences of teaching in their particular field of specialisation.
  • debate and reflect over the values which the subject can contribute to culture and society in general.
  • discuss how our relationship to the objects around us influences our daily life and the development of children and adolescents.
  • analyse and evaluate current study programmes and curricula.

Research and development work

The work on this topic will provide students with knowledge and experience in fundamental methods and approaches to the acquisition, development and processing of knowledge.

Students should be able to:

  • limit the field of study, devise approaches to problems, use source materials and present and evaluate results.
  • explain the main methods and approaches used for the acquisition of knowledge on the subject.
  • use research literature, databases, informants and other sources.
  • recognise the possibilities for renewing and combining methods within research and development work, based on the nature of the subject.

Learning Methods

The course is organised into two course units, a teaching practice period, an individual, written examination and a final project. The course units are independent elements and cover specific aspects of working with clay; for instance, work will be done with high and low fire clays and glazes, and appropriate techniques.

Course units:

Course unit 1: Utility Objects, Function, Form and Ornament


Course unit 2: Sculpture and Three-Dimensional Aesthetic Work


Subject theory and subject didactics (15 ECTS) is an integrated part of the course, and is included in the two course units.

Emphasis is placed on the students’ responsibility for their own independent work and ability to cooperate. Students are expected to spend a minimum of 37.5 hours per week working on their studies. They will be supervised by their teachers about half of this time.

Joint Theory for the specialist courses

Some of the subject material may be considered common for all of the specialised courses. This will be mediated largely though seminars/lectures for the BA programme, Subject Teacher: Education in the Arts. The subject material, which will be presented in these joint seminars, may vary from year to year; consult the syllabus reading list.

Other activities

In addition to these periods and the various parts of the course assessment (written home assignment and final project), there will be held arrangements such as ‘Open Door’, research days and possibly other external activities.

Project work, visits to exhibitions, and excursions are also a part of the course. The class will take part in excursions whenever this is appropriate. There may also be visits to exhibitions of interest and/or industrial concerns/businesses if this is suitable. Internal and external projects of interest can in special cases replace assignment periods, if these are considered to be equivalent in terms of syllabus content to one or more assignment periods.

Teaching practice

Three weeks of the academic year is reserved for teaching practice, which is normally associated with the teaching of crafts in upper secondary schools, folk high schools or other pedagogic environments for adults. Those students who are not currently studying to be teachers, or have not taken teacher training at an earlier date, will normally be assigned alternative practice.

Students will cooperate with their teaching practice mentors and subject teachers in planning, executing and evaluating their teaching arrangements. Students will work in groups during their teaching practice. The school will offer subject related and didactic challenges. The course involves the entire country, and the teaching practice may therefore be placed outside the university college’s immediate geographic area.

Teaching practice reports must be submitted, at the latest, one week after the practice period is completed. The report is part of the teaching practice supervisor’s background for evaluation. Both the teaching practice efforts and the report are used in evaluating the student’s overall performance.

Student council

Students choose their own student council consisting of 2-3 students who function as intermediaries between the teaching team and the class. When appropriate, the student council may participate in team meetings in order to discuss matters related to the planning of class activities.

Assessment Methods

There should be a relation between the aims, content, teaching and learning methods, and assessment of the course. The assessment will form an important part of the actual learning, and act as a means of allowing the individual student to both develop understanding of the aims of the course and to acquire insight into their own suitability for the teaching profession. The assessment will aid the student in acquiring an understanding of concepts and the subject’s special characteristics.

Reviewing and assessing teaching and learning methods, sketches, rough drafts, models and products, together with subject didactic reflection will reveal the students’ contributions and progression in the course; and provide insight into, and awareness of, their professional advancement and learning. The assessment is also intended as an aid to the individual student in the form of supervision. Students may, for example, receive feedback related to processes and results, and their ability to work together.

Both students and teachers must participate in the course assessment with the aim of further developing the course and preparing students for future work in developing their own teaching and schools’ activities. The assessment must therefore also include the content and organisation of the course, the student’s own work, and teaching and learning methods through the entire year.

All the assignments must be completed, submitted at the appointed times, and evaluated as passed in order to take the final graded examinations. Students are personally responsible for holding themselves oriented about assignment requirements, other requirements and deadlines. Missing assignments and failing grades on required elements may affect whether the student may continue with the course or take the final examination. This should be viewed in connection with the rights and responsibilities the student has according to the examination regulations at the university college; please refer to the Act Relating to Universities and University Colleges § 40.


Individual written examination; 5-day home assignment

The student will write an assignment with a subject theoretical/subject didactic focus on a given topic. There are specific requirements related to organisation, structure and the student’s ability to use the subject material. The written assignment should include a maximum of 10 pages, using 12-point font and 1.5 line spacing. See ‘Guidelines for Written Work at Telemark University College’.

Final project, 20 ECTS:

Twelve weeks are allocated to a project which carries out an in-depth study of an element of the subject area. The project is done individually and should integrate subject material from the course. The work on the final project should mainly relate to expression using clay. The project should include a didactic element. The goal is to allow the student to gain experience in executing independent work on the subject with a research element, and one which will provide an opportunity to specialise in one or several aspects of the subject, as well as develop the student’s ability for analytical and structured work. The result will consist of practical aesthetic work, thorough documentation, relevant theoretical material, and a written report fulfilling the normal requirements for report writing, and a comprehensive presentation.

The choice of topic will be made by the student in agreement with the subject teacher.

The final project has a mandatory requirement for supervision, and the individual student is responsible for contacting the subject teacher and arranging for supervision. Students will, in addition, organise their own syllabus literature related to the project, which should include about 200 pages; the syllabus literature should be referred to in the report.



Individual written examination, 5-day home-assignment


Final project


Please refer to Telemark University College Examination Regulations for further information.

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Minor adjustments may occur during the academic year, subject to the decision of the Dean

Publisert av / forfatter Marte Gulliksen <>, last modified Liang Xiaoli - 13/12/2006