The final installment of the Teaching Artist Training & Internship Program (TATIP) Saturday Workshops took place on December 12th at Studios 353 in midtown Manhattan. Program Director of Training & Internships, Patti Chilsen, and TATIP Facilitator and Author extraordinaire, Renée Watson, teamed up once again to lead the trainees through the final workshop and reflection.
We began the day with a community building and critical thinking game that used both kinesthetic and musical intelligence to get the group warmed up. The participants took turns being the leader, guiding the group with gestures and sounds that they had to keep in time with, as one participant guessed who was the actual leader.
Afterwards, the group reflected together on what it took to build a good classroom community and how theatre/movement games like these helped create that openness and trust.
We then played a TATIP favorite, “Emotional Taxi”.
Participants took turned leading the other “taxi occupants” in various emotions. Anytime a new person entered the vehicle, the others had to take on the emotions of the new person.
Next, we broke up the room into groups and gave each group a classroom “scenario”. They had to discuss the scenario and then act it out for the rest of the groups. Each scenario reflected a situation a Teaching Artist might encounter in the class, such as a difficult classroom teacher, a student who doesn’t want to work or who works too quickly, a classroom that won’t focus, etc. Each group took turns acting out their scenes and then the whole group discussed possible “classroom management” solutions with them for each situation they modeled.
After lunch, we reconvened to watch a Ted Talk by Chimimanda Adichie Ngozi called “The Dangers of a Single Story”. In this talk, Chimimanda talks about the dangers of only hearing one side of any story and the importance of all voices.
After an important conversation about how this affects not only our relationship with ourselves as perpetrators of “single stories”, but also our work in the classrooms with such varied communities needing to hear and to be able to tell themselves more than the “single story”, we moved on to exploring inspiring quotes from a diverse array of important philosophers of education (Maxine Greene, Cornel West, etc.). Small groups would gather around a select quote to read and discuss together. They then listed below one important idea they noticed and posted one question prompted by the quote in the group. Groups rotated several times, so as to have a chance to discover more than one philosophical approach. Afterwards, each participant chose a quote that they felt most connected to, and pasted the quote on a piece of wood. They then decorated the wood to deepen the connection and expression they related with it personally.
Finally, bits and pieces from each of the six sessions were reposted on the walls around the room chronologically. The participants circled the room with post-its in hand, reviewing all that had been covered in the six Saturday workshops together so far, making comments on what they learned, how it impacted them, and framing questions that still remained.
The last act of the day was to review the “Question Garden”, which participants had posted over the six workshops together. Renée and Patti took turns fielding the questions, responding with ideas and encouraging the class to continue to dig deeper with their inquiries.
Most of the trainees have now been placed in CWP in-school internships. (And some will be doing additional internship tracks with Focus Group Cohort members at BAC, Wingspan Arts, FreeArts NYC and Marquis Studios. We will meet again in January for our monthly meetings to debrief about what is happening in the residencies and to continue to workshop new topics. We will launch into the Elective Seminars, facilitated by many of our Focus Group Cohort organizations. Please standby for further updates in 2016!
Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!