Get in the Conversation

People at EduCon 2.3 having a conversation.

The art of the conversation tends to be a lost one, and yet it is such an effective means of learning.  Listening and responding, call and response, you are almost in a constant state of learning and reflection.   Conversing is an important part of a teacher’s journey.  Here are some reflections on how I have grown as one who needs to converse with others.

The more I converse with people about what I do in the classroom, the more I learn.  It’s a natural process.  Before I was involved in all this back and forth both online and in person, it was just me creating things in my own head.  It was productive, don’t get me wrong.  I work well independently and in doing so I wrote my book, Inspired by Listening, and start this website.  But having conversations with others has brought me to new levels of understanding of arts integration, deepened my belief in it and has motivated me to not only continue my work but improve it.  I am constantly challenged by what others are saying and commenting on.  I love getting emails from people asking questions.  My favorite is being able to collaborate with others on projects and presentations.  I learn so much from others when we are able to talk together!

Tomorrow I am fortunate enough to be presenting at EduCon 2.3 with @doremigirl, @michellek107 and @kylepace on the topic of arts integration.  Our presentation is actually a facilitation where we will lead conversations on the importance of arts integration, what is happening now and what we can do to further its use in schools.  In addition, participants will be creating art as a means to further communicate their ideas.  (For more information on our #educon conversation, visit https://sites.google.com/site/musicandtechharmony/Educon23)  Earlier this month, Kyle posted Presentation vs. Conversation which sparked some good conversation through comments. (haha)  It got me thinking about all the conferences I have attended and how engagement was a key to the effectiveness of the presentation.  It’s exciting to see what will happen tomorrow as we gather educational professionals to have a conversation about arts integration.

At the beginning of the month, I presented virtually at the 2011 Reform Symposium on Getting Started with Arts Integration.  That presentation has sparked some great conversation through email and twitter.  I have been able to connect with more people about a topic I love and learn more and more as our conversations progress.

Speaking of Twitter, that alone has been one of the greatest means of learning through communication.  Yes, you can have an actual conversation through Twitter.  It’s not just a bunch of meaningless banter.  Well, there can be that too…  but for us educators, Twitter has provided an incredible platform for conversing with other educators around the world.  The learning is endless.

And for those interested in more focused conversations in education, you can join a chat.  There is one for arts education and integration as well: #artsed.  In fact, I am so happy to say that I will soon be moderating the evening #artsed chats for a short time while Joan Weber is out feeding her flame rehearsing for a play.

Skype is another means for conversation with others.  It has been a wonderful experience to converse and collaborate with my twitter pals for tomorrow’s presentation.  And I have more Skype conversations in my future with other wonderful educators.

This is my second year implementing PLaiC into my school.  PLaiC is a PLC which focuses on arts integration.  We meet face to face once a month and converse about all things arts integration.  The forum is meant to be supportive and encouraging as we discuss ways to reach our goals integrating the arts and collaborating with one another.  The best part is how we are able to connect with one another through language and stories – always learning from one another.

We all need to get in the conversation.  And I am realizing this more and more.

So, are you interested in arts integration?  Then get in the conversation!  I would love to hear from you and learn with you.  Your turn- let’s converse! ;-)

~EMP

(Next post – Conversations in the Classroom)

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Article by Elizabeth Peterson

Elizabeth Peterson has devoted her life to education and to reaching out to other teachers who want to remain inspired. Mrs. Peterson teaches fourth grade in Amesbury, Massachusetts and is the host of www.theinspiredclassroom.com. She holds an M.Ed. in Education, “Arts and Learning” and is currently enrolled in a C.A.G.S. program through Plymouth State University with a focus in “Arts Leadership and Learning.” Elizabeth is author of Inspired by Listening, a teacher resource book that includes a method of music integration she has developed and implemented into her own teaching. She teaches workshops and courses on the integration of the arts into the curriculum and leads an arts integration PLC (PLaiC). Mrs. Peterson believes there is a love of active, integrated learning in all children and from their enthusiasm, teachers can shape great opportunities to learn.
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5 Comments

  1. Anne Shealy says:

    Thanks so much for posting this. As an ELA/Rdg teacher, I find that interating the arts is incredibly powerful for all that I do. LIkewise, the conversations that we have about our teaching – whether they are at a conference, in the workroom, or on twitter, – are part of what fuels our teaching. We have learned the value of conversation in our teaching, now we must use the power of conversation in our own learning.

    Oh, and BTW, I used my Twitter conversations as a significant portion of my NBC renewal. Ihave build a powerful network of learners here and I was able to voice that in my NBC portfolio.

    It’s fun (and valuable) to find these like-minded individuals!

    • Anne, Thank you for your comment. I am really finding more and more that conversations are the way to get things accomplished. Well, as long as you and your team have follow through! Isn’t Twitter an amazing part of that?? I think it is so cool that you were able to use your Twitter convos as part of your NBC renewal. It’s nice to hear that they are being valued for something like that. (That’s rare…)

  2. Mary-Ellen Uhlarik says:

    After reading Get in the Conversation it makes me stop and realize the importance of connecting and communicating with colleagues. Reaching out to other teachers is such a resource that often times we don’t have time to do. In today’s world there are so many ways to communicate via the internet that honestly I do not take advantage of. I am hoping that through taking this class that I can dive into the different modes of conversation/communication (blogs, twitter) which up until now I have been hesitant to take advantage of…..

    • Mary-Ellen, You may have already started to notice how just by writing these comments, our thoughts are deepened. The community that the web can provide for us is really amazing. I’m so glad that you are seeing the possibilities here. :)

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