Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Artist to Artist Workshop

The above drawing was inspired by a great poem we read in our poetry session.

Last week I went to Fargo to take part in an Artist to Artist workshop designed to help teaching artists become better teachers. I found the experience inspiring, energizing and extremely helpful. When I graduated college in 2004 I had not taken one education class (in fact I avoided them like the plague). I figured I would be creating art, not teaching it. Six years later I find my resume is equally full of teaching experience and visual art experience. I found myself enjoying teaching art and realized I have a knack for it as well. However, having zero education background I found trial and error to be my best method of teaching skills. I would often say to myself, "I'm not sure why but things work better when I do this," or "Ahhh, it works way better when I do things this way." Getting a chance to learn and talk with other teaching artists was exactly what I needed.

Linda Ehreth from the North Dakota Council on the Arts and Barbara Cox from the Perpich Center for Arts Education were the two leading the workshop. The 8 hour workshop started with dance and movement. We then had an acting lesson, which was equal parts team building skills which was a lot of fun. I wrote Six Nails in our poetry lesson in the afternoon. Each session had a time for reflection and by the end of the day I felt like I was back in college for a day. I realized how much I missed critical thinking and being in a room full of peers who want to learn.

I wanted to post my evaluation (guidelines provided by artist to artist) of the workshop:

I came expecting:

to learn new teaching methods
meet new people in my field
to explore what it means to be an educator

I got:

new tools to help teach
a new outlook on what and how I teach art
an energized spirit

I wish:

I could attend this workshop 4 times a year

Now I need:

to implement what i learned
transfer the energy into results
to remember what i learned

Three things I value from this workshop include:

constructive assessment with peers
working together with talented people to enrich the lives of students
a collaborative passion for the arts

Next I will:

explore more challenging instructing opportunities
challenge myself to find new and better ways to teach art
use my critical friends (contacts) to soar to new levels of art education

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