The Right Brain Initiative


Honing our reflective practice

February 12th, 2010 by Right Brain Team

Right Brain school team members and Professional Development Partner Deb Brzoska reflect on a video of students participating in a residency at Ardenwald Elementary.


“This time of reflection and evaluating student work is very important. This is what makes Right Brain different.”

This quote was high five-worthy to us at Right Brain as we’ve been tabulating participant feedback from our most recent professional development workshop. Back on January 28th, teachers, principals, and parents from three different Right Brain schools—Jackson from Hillsboro School District, and Ardenwald and Spring Mountain from North Clackamas School District—convened along with teaching artists to share their “stories from the field,” not only to bring closure to their Right Brain arts experiences, but to develop their own reflective practice as educators.

Using an experimental protocol that facilitator Deb Brzoska deemed The White Stag Protocol, after the lovely U of O venue provided for the workshop, each school was given a period of focused attention to share their school’s unique context and as well as selected students’ work from their Right Brain arts experiences. Arts experiences at these three schools ranged from theatrical improv residencies, to lively podcast productions, to collaborative literary arts projects, all co-created and taught by Right Brain artists.

As the many voices presented and responded throughout the session, it became evident that connecting professionals from across the truly regional Right Brain network can indeed provide the coveted cross-pollination so needed in education. Schools can then broaden their previous beliefs about what a meaningful arts experience can be, customized for their own school’s particular needs and strengths.

Some other anonymous quotes from January’s PD that gave us a smile:

“I was impressed with the support we were offered for the process.”

“The impact on student learning will look different for each school, or even each classroom.”

“How valuable it was to have time for the entire team to talk with the artist and get constructive feedback from the other groups.”

Participating Right Brain schools who didn’t attend this January session can look forward to an even more finely-tuned protocol for facilitated reflection in May. Right Brain sends our utmost thanks (and warm Valentine’s wishes) to the attentive facilities staff at University of Oregon in Portland and the School of Architecture and Allied Arts, who sponsored the event at the White Stag building.


Right Brain Team