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!
(Next post – Conversations in the Classroom)