CommonGround, the annual gathering of New York State Arts Educators, is wrapping up today in Albany. David Steiner was there, giving a speech which I heard like music from another room. Afterward, there was talk among the group I was in about how we as arts educators need to start assessing our work the same way the teachers over in the math department do, which sounds perfectly reasonable, until you realize it's impossible. We all decided that the assessment tools we use are going to look different than the ones used over in the math department, and I think everyone agrees that we're going to need a few more minutes to talk about it.
I took a terrific workshop on planning with John Bertles of Bash the Trash, and chatted with Kaya Chwals of Urban Arts Partnership, and with Laura Reeder of Teaching Artist Journal. I felt lucky to be there. Presenting with colleague Annie Montgomery, I had productive conversations with fellow Teaching Artists from across the state, and some of my takeaways are below.
I think, perhaps:
- Teaching Artists need to be trained in assessment, and we need to start making the process of creating assessment tools a more routine part of the job;
- Teaching Artists need to understand the role of the arts administrator, because we can help. Also, many of us are dual role TA/administrators in small organizations with big workloads. Help.
- Providing ongoing professional development and training to TAs is vitally important, and budget cuts have reduced the amount of TA trainings organizations are able to provide. Are Apprenticeships part of the answer?
Despite what seemed like low attendance overall, teaching artists were there--I saw them--and I think we still have a future in this business.
It's Friday, and ATA is on Facebook with Teaching Artists galore.
Live it up!
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