The following Professional Development Workshops are designed for all teachers and administrators in Pre-K through high school as well as students of teaching and their instructors in colleges and universities. They are tailored to the specific needs of each school or program during the initial contact, i.e., the number of workshops (one or a series), budgetary requirements, and scheduling. Each workshop is a half-day or amplified for a whole day or two half-days. To support the inventive, thoughtful planning and compassionate implementation that are the essence of the art of teaching, the following questions guided my planning:
What should the preparation and professional development of inventive, knowledgeable, and caring teachers include?
How do teachers mediate between their core values and the growing requirements of an increasingly standardized profession?
What role, if any, can reflective tools and structures play in a teacher’s choices and the evaluation of his or her practice?
- In Developing a Stance, participants identify the significant life experiences that are the source of their core values. Connections are then made between those values and their relationship to the development of effective teaching strategies.
- In Storytelling, a childhood memory becomes a story and its subsequent transformation serves to illustrate the impossibility of complete objectivity in human relationships, specifically those occurring in the classroom.
- In On Reflective Practice, the process of reflection-in-action is examined during a collective teaching experience. In the discussion that follows, we consider the issues that can be revealed through multiple perspectives.
- At the conclusion of this workshop on Thematic Curriculum development, we reflect on its role in creating a community in which all teachers and students are involved in the learning process, across disciplines and grades.
- In Drawing the 4th R, three different drawing assignments of the same subject are completed. As the results are considered, our discussion centers on: What we have learned about teaching drawing; the reasons drawing from imagination rather than observation is common practice in many elementary school art classes.
- Criticism versus Assessment, a project that we engage in together is evaluated with a critique and a rubric. In our subsequent discussion, we analyze the differences between these two forms of assessment in the context of the future of the art of teaching in a climate of standardization.
- In the Infant Toddler Centers and Preschools of Reggio Emilia, Italy, the School Environment is The Third Teacher. After we contrast images of Reggio school environments with photographs and writings about the design of our own school spaces, we explore possible recommendations.