Professional Development Day
Written by AFA Intern, Alexandra Price
October 30, 2015
On Saturday, October 17th, Arts for All hosted their fourth annual Professional Development day! Teaching artists and volunteers were invited to participate in a four-hour workshop of beneficial presentations, creativity and teaching exercises as well as snacks and conversation.
The day commenced with words and reminders from Executive Director, Anna Roberts-Ostroff, who focused on changes to policy as well as the gratitude of Arts for All for all it’s dedicated, talented teachers and volunteers. Moving into the principal activities, AFA teaching artist Robin Cannon-Colwell shared a presentation on assessment. She focused on its importance as a tool for measuring normally non-quantitative challenges such as gaining confidence and being able to track those changes. With visual aids, she was able to document differences in engagement and positive adjustments in her students.
TA, Robin Cannon Colwell presenting on Assessment and Evaluation
After a brief break, the event launched into an interactive and entertaining talk with guest speaker, Robin Bady. Award-winning storyteller Robin Bady has been called, “gutsy, big hearted, and street smart.” Whether performing for adults, children or families, Robin has a warmth and humor that brings her stories to joyful life, creating an electric and engaging rapport with her audience. As a teaching artist and staff developer, she has worked with the Brooklyn Academy of Art, CityLore, Henry Street Settlement, the Guggenheim Museum of Art and the Brooklyn Museum of Art, among others.
Robin lead the group through a series of exercises that expanded creativity, drew out confidence and initiated new thinking. Some of these activities included making human sculptures, additive storytelling, storytelling drawings and writing stories about the saddest and happiest moments in our lives. Her lesson for the day was that all disciplines of art have a storytelling element. Program Manager of Literacy Through the Arts and Program Committee Chair, Shawn Shafner, connected the storytelling component to a better understanding of students and realizing they too have their own stories that which effect their behavior and performance in programs.
Professional Development Day this year was geared toward giving the teaching artists and volunteers the tools they need to assess their programs and instilling Arts for All’s core values (Self-Confidence, Self-Expression, Teamwork, Resilience and Creativity) in their students and themselves!