What was the plan? How were things tested? 

Members of the Teaching Artist Advisory Board spent 8 months – researching, reading, learning, discussing, attending workshops, and observing each other teaching and came up with some initial ideas and rough initial framework outline.

The initial structure was then beta tested in community during the 2022-2023 school year with young people across both in-school & out of school residencies for early elementary students, upper elementary students, and high school students.

Another group of Teaching Artists then met after the

What actually happened? What did we learn when we did this work?

During the ~2 years of initial framework development and the beta testing we had a few discoveries, and adjustments – there are our quick takeaways:

  • Started as a curriculum framework- but quickly shifted to teaching practices instead.
  • Started as student focused but shifting to all the people in the room
  • Realizing it needs a broader focus than just what’s happening with students to expand to full classroom/school shifts – although recognizing this is possibly the hardest part for us to facilitate.
  • Surprising push back from the students. Students used to being told how & when to do things – they had to shift their understanding of expectations – and to having freedom in a classroom.  Needing to structure the process of getting them to feel more free – understanding their capability, and capacity.
  • Autonomy of dreaming & what it looks like to go big & then be able to get into the realistic – getting students to dream took time & work – bringing selves – and then also how do you not squash their dreams when you have to scale it back. How do you provide a pathway to what’s possible?
  • Also teacher partnerships were key! Getting them on board & understanding what & why we were shifting practices was super important.  They needed time to be students  & artists! (and this was with teachers who generally were on board to begin with – what will this look like with resistant teachers?) How & what do we need to communicate with school partners?
  • Balance of freedom & structure – how & when do you do that & how do you communicate this – offering clarity/transparency. The transition moments are tricky.
  • There is a concern from the students (!) around the final product.
  • It takes a lot of bravery from you as an educator to trust the students – sticking with their journey & letting them really take the lead – and discover what might happen together.