Working closely with educators is fundamental to our vision of making a permanent impact on our local school systems through the arts. Three times each school year, we bring together classroom teachers, music and art teachers, principals from all our partner schools and Right Brain teaching artists to take in a full day of new arts-based instructional strategies and other educational discoveries. Facilitated by our Professional Development Partner Deborah Brzoska, these sessions allow the group of educators to expand their skills in integrating the arts with other subjects.
By engaging in hands-on creative processes and by reflecting together on student work, teachers come away from these sessions with new realizations about how the arts can be seamlessly incorporated into their teaching, and what potential they can tap in their students through the process.
At the end of every session, we ask for feedback about their learning and what they continue to wonder about. Keep reading to see how educators reflected upon the most recent professional development sessions we held this winter.
BEFORE AND AFTER. Partner educators — teachers, principals and artists — voice the transformations that occurred during their professional development with Right Brain:
♦ “I used to think art and academics were hard to combine, but now I think art and academics are inseparable.” — Teaching artist
♦ “I used to think art was a final part of the learning process, but now I think art can drive the introductory or conceptual phase of learning.” — Classroom teacher
♦ “I used to think everybody was only concerned about test scores and standards, but now I think at least some people still see the creative process as important. Thank you, thank you, thank you!” — Classroom teacher
♦ “I used to think Right Brain implementation would be a huge change in instruction, but now I think that it is exactly what our students and staff need in order to stay fully engaged and inspired.” — School administrator
♦ “I used to think kids learned sitting down, but now I think kids need to move to help with learning.” — Classroom teacher
♦ “I used to think this was just an art experience, but now I think it is truly a collaboration and integration to get students to think critically with a deeper understanding.” — Classroom teacher
♦ “I used to think just presenting ideas got students to think and learn concepts, but now I think questions asked properly can guide students into higher level thinking.” — Classroom teacher
♦ “I used to think I had to cram in art, but now I think art enables access to learning.” — Classroom teacher
“AH-HA” MOMENTS. What two teachers pledged they would carry forward into their work:
♦ “Remembering that my most significant learning experiences in school always had a visual arts component.” — Classroom teacher
♦ “Recognizing that innovative and imaginative thinking must occur within the classroom to create an innovative and forward-thinking society.” — Classroom teacher