This essay aspires to trace briefly the history of teaching artistry.
Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach—according to George Bernard Shaw, who also wrote that he never learned anything from a teacher, he taught himself everything; so maybe GBS had a little ax to grind. He got it quite wrong—the truth is that those who can do two things well, at the same time, in almost any setting, are teaching artists.
“A teaching artist is a practicing professional artist with the complementary skills, curiosities and sensibilities of an educator, who can effectively engage a wide range of people in learning experiences in, through, and about the arts.” I have read a dozen other definitions that are at least as good, and have written more than a few myself. Some people think that the lack of a consensus definition demonstrates weakness in the field; perhaps so, but please show me the consensus definitions of “creativity,” “teacher,” and “friend.” Part of the challenge of defining the role is its essential hybridity—it is neither one role nor the other, but intentionally both. In an economy of specific job titles, traditional silos, and government employment coding, this makes teaching artistry inconvenient to categorize, until the world catches up to recognize the new category. It is worth noting that surveys show that its two component professions—teachers and artists—are both held in low to moderate esteem in the U.S. public eye, or at least not in high regard.
Read the entire essay from Eric Booth.
In our last post we directed you to The Center for Arts Education. If you haven’t already, take a minute to look around this site—there is some really great information here. One article that caught my eye was this exciting program called Parents as Arts Partners:
“The Center for Arts Education’s Parents As Arts Partners (PAAP) program fosters the creation of innovative programs for New York City public schools working in partnership with nationally renowned as well as locally focused cultural organizations to engage parents and families in hands-on interactive arts education activities. Through these unique family arts programs, parents have the chance to become artists in a range of mediums—from mural painting to songwriting to dancing—and learn how the arts connect to and enhance their child’s overall education. Since the program’s inception, in 1998, there have been more than 1,200 PAAP programs in more than 500 schools, totaling more than $4 million in grants.” Read more
This sounds like so much fun for both parents and children! Plus, doing art projects at home or with their family is a great way of continuing the learning process for kids even after the school day is over!
The Center for Arts Education, a GREAT resource for news, information, advocacy and issues in the world of education, has a page on their website dedicated to honoring great teachers and mentors in the community. Fill out their form here and they will add your favorite teacher to their wall! A great way to honor an educator who has made a difference in yours or your child’s life!
Speaking of honoring a teacher…some of our students at Riverdale Neighborhood House wrote these lovely notes about their experience with their teaching artist Miguel, which were displayed alongside their work at the final art showcase in December.
Check out this post from Dec. 23 and this one from Nov. 19 to read more about the fall class at Riverdale Neighborhood House!
photo credits Sara Lise Raff