Artistry in the Classroom: TC and YANY celebrate a unique teaching artist certificate program
At an intimate, Saturday morning gathering at Teachers College in early May, TC alumna and dancer Ling Tang performed a Chinese ribbon and fan dance with a long, multicolored scarf. Visual artist Kostas Kiritsis demonstrated how to make a short film with an iPhone, and Fabian Saucedo, an actor, director and hip hop artist, delivered a rap poem.
Ling, Kiritsis and Saucedo were among the artists who conveyed their personal, artistic responses to their experience in the Teachers College Teaching Artist Certificate program (TCTAC), which concluded its pilot year with the event in Horace Mann Hall.
[ WATCH: FOX 5 News Minute featuring TC's Teaching Artist Certificate Program (TCTAC) ]
Throughout this academic year, 11 teaching artists from Young Audiences of New York (YANY), including dancers, musicians, actors, poets, and digital artists, have gathered regularly to work with TC faculty across disciplines to strengthen their teaching practice. They grappled with big issues such as, “What does artistry look like in me? What shapes students’ artistry? What does ‘flow’ look like in my artistic and pedagogical practices?” And they considered smaller, logistical questions such as, “How does careful and thorough planning free a responsive, improvisatory pedagogy?”
Lori Custodero, an associate professor of music education who led the curriculum, says the program stands out because, unlike most professional development programs for teaching artists, the Teachers College certificate program engages and supports the teaching artists over a year, rather than “just a few days,” and “gives participants the necessary time to reflect and more purposefully integrate the resulting changes into their teaching practice.”
The TCTAC professional development program for teaching artists was created in 2016 by TC in partnership with YANY, which for 65 years has provided children in public schools with arts programs taught by professional New York city musicians, dancers, theater, visual and digital artists. The program is funded by Leslie Nelson, Vice Chair of TC’s Board of Trustees; her brothers Andrew Morse and Douglas Morse, YANY’s former board chair and current trustee; and YANY Board Chair Kim Greenberg, a TC alumna parent.
The Teaching Artists Certificate program acknowledges the increasingly important role played by professional artists as teachers in the nation’s schools amid declining public funding for arts education. The program grew out of work that TC and YANY teaching artists started a few years ago at the Teachers College Community School in Harlem.
The certificate program leverages the deep expertise of Teachers College to provide teaching artists with the best possible pedagogical and practical skills for teaching learners of all backgrounds. It enables participants to help children create art alongside professional artists who are also well supported in their role as teachers.
“We are very grateful for the thoughtful philanthropy that allows us to work together to ensure that children who need us experience exceptional arts education. When our teaching artists are well supported, they have the confidence to carry their work with children ever further.” — Eileen Doyle, Executive Director, YANY
“We so appreciate the community of learning and practice that our artists have gained through our partnership with Teacher’s College,” said Eileen Doyle, Executive Director of YANY. “We are very grateful for the thoughtful philanthropy that allows us to work together to ensure that children who need us experience exceptional arts education. When our teaching artists are well supported, they have the confidence to carry their work with children ever further.”
The TCTAC program gives YANY teaching artists the professional tools to offer their students the richest possible arts education experience using the highest educational standards. Rather than stressing prescribed formulas, the curriculum focuses on issues such as social and emotional development, the importance of acknowledging and sharing one another’s cultures, designing effective learning environments, interdisciplinary connections, observing and identifying artistic behaviors, and assessing artistic understanding.
At the wrap-up event at TC, the teaching artists presented an illustration of what they had learned, with some crossing artistic boundaries into unexplored genres. Amir Bey, a self-taught visual artist who worked with his students at P.S. 205x in the Bronx to create props and costume accessories for a year-end performance of “Aladdin,” offered a performance piece he had written to pay tribute to his fellow teachers and the professors: “There once was a circle of friends/ Who came together/ And shared and bared their essence of freedom/ And announced to the world, ‘We are here.’”
“Everything we did here gave perspective and context to what we were doing in the classroom.” — Amir Bey, Teaching Artist
A veteran teacher, Bey found the TCTAC program deepened and improved his practice. “Everything we did here gave perspective and context to what we were doing in the classroom,” he said. “It was very valuable.”
Leslie Nelson called the wrap-up session with teaching artists “absolutely fabulous. The TA cohort was outstanding in their presentations and it was so clear how much this program has meant to them. Lori [Custodero] has created something very special, and this morning resonated with the sense of pride these artists all felt not only in how they had grown as educators but also within their own craft.”
Published Wednesday, Jun 7, 2017