Wednesday, April 01, 2009

IU South Bend Conference

We had a fantastic conference at IUSB! My sincerest thanks goes to Norman and Dr. Micheline Nilsen for inviting me to participate in this wonderful event!
Dr. Marvin Bartel delivered one of the most important keynotes I have ever listened to: "Learning and Assessing Imagination as Intelligence." The gold nugget of his presentation? "Children are the designers and engineers of the adults they will become." Translation? The kinds of early childhood learning experiences available to children are so important. Using and refining one's imaginative capabilities during the developmental years is so important for intellectual growth. Creative and divergent thinking capacities are refined during this critical phase.
I am so happy I am a choice based art teacher (Thanks Clark, Kathy, Diane and John!). I would not want to be anywhere else right now.
In the picture above, Miriam Marcus, a choice based art teacher who teaches at an urban high school in Flint, Michigan (pictured third from the left), shared with me the challenges and joys of employing choice pedagogy with her students. One of the stories she shared with me about students she taught knitting and crocheting was amazing. Her students create all kinds of hats, blankets and other clothing articles and accessories with wooden sticks and dowl rods.....those kids are working on their art all the time and it means a great deal to them to be able to use their new found knitting and crocheting skills. Students are creating art from a truly personal context. I was truly humbled after talking with her.
I was also able to meet other art teachers from Indiana, Michigan and N.Y.! Many folks were very interested in the choice approach after our presentions. I was more than happy to spread the gospel. What a great conference.