Over the course of the past few months, we have been developing a working relationship with Long Wharf Theatre. The classroom teachers have been participating in the Educators Laboratory program. Teachers attend three professional development workshops that consist of two, two-hour workshops taught by professional actors and/or college theatre instructors. Teachers who attend these workshops are provided with tools and activities to actively engage students and promote a deeper understanding of subject matter through the arts. Goals of the program are:
To encourage student’s self-exploration through plays that examine the major issues of our time as well as the eternal commonalities of human life.
To empower students to seek-directed learning opportunities.
To engage students who are considered at-risk, low-achieving or not otherwise challenged in their academic situation to make a reciprocal investment in the learning process.
To help teachers master dramatic interpretation in order to enhance the learning potential of their students.
To nurture the intellectual and leadership capacity of teachers.
To integrate arts techniques into the general classroom curricula.
To involve both students and teachers in the study and understanding of dramatic text, as well as the process of theatrical production.
To build strong, sustained relationships between artists and teachers.
By participating in this program, students have been able to attend Long Wharf productions and have had the opportunity to participate in three workshops related to the productions, two pre-show workshops and one post-show workshop.
In addition to the Educator's Laboratory program, we have also been involved in the Partnering Artist In Residence program, PAIR. Through this program, a resident teaching artist works with the classroom teacher to incorporate the arts into the regular curriculum. The teaching artist comes into the classroom once per month and works with the classroom teacher to develop a lesson and activities that relate to one of the content areas.
This year both programs have been funded through grants, which have allowed students to attend the plays and to have the teaching artist(s) come into the classrooms free of charge.
Classrooms 1, 3 and 4 attended the play, Ride the Tiger, Class 2 attended the play Still Life of Iris, and Class 1 will attend Clybourne Park later this month. This has been a great opportunity for the teachers to learn new skills and for the students to be exposed to professional artists, theatre and creative ways to learn content material.