Even Better Together

Every three months I have the privilege of pulling posts from ALT/space online to create our associated print section in the Teaching Artist Journal.  I’m almost done with putting together our section for Volume 11(1), due in mailboxes by the end of January 2013.

This will be the fifth section I have constructed and I am always amazed at what I find.  Individual posts from our amazing contributors (could be you, too!) put together make an even stronger statement about what it is we do and how we do it.

In my introduction to ALT/space 11(1), I refer to this post as a place to make comments about my comments in my introduction in ALT/space 11(1).  (Such a recursive process, it makes my head hurt!)  At some point I thought, why wait until 2013 to reflect on how ALT/space can serve us as a profession?

So, I’m sharing my opening remarks to the new section now along with links to the stories that fill ALT/space 11(3), in order.  Enjoy!

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Introduction to ALT/space, Teaching Artist Journal, 11(1)

It’s amazing what has happened.  After only one short year of ALT/space online, our teaching artist contributors are consistently producing thoughtful, insightful reflections on their work in classrooms around the United States and the world.

And, if that isn’t enough, it has also become abundantly clear over the last year that this new approach to writing and thinking about our work has blossomed into an incredible resource for all TAs, regardless of discipline, years on the job, student population or geographic location.  What ALT/space has to offer is nothing less than the opportunity for us gain insights about our own individual TA practices using the reflections of a diverse community of contributors.

But how does that work, exactly?  And, what exactly do we have to gain, individually and collectively, from reading these stories?  Being a teaching artist is a particularly individual pursuit in the sense that, hopefully, what we bring to our teaching is the same sensibility that we bring to our art making.  That is to say, we bring ourselves.  And now ALT/space contributors are extending this process one step further by putting themselves in front of us.  There is no right or wrong in what they write, only their own particular reality, whatever that may be.

So, how do we gain insight from others’ personal stories of practice?  In this section in particular there are a couple approaches that can be used when looking for the common threads between the range of topics addressed in ALT/space stories.  To start, you can look at who they are teaching; there are a number of posts here about making art with teens.  But, as you are reading, perhaps you will also start to notice that whether our contributors are using high-tech or low-tech tools in their teaching, every story shows a TA intent on the same goal: to facilitate their students’ explorations of various media and techniques in the pursuit of making ideas visible.

But then again, that is just my take.  Maybe you will see different themes and interconnecting threads?  As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to leave your comments here, or to e-mail me directly at malke.rosenfeld@earthlink.net.

Blog it Out | Carol Ng-He
Happy Accidents | Suzanne Makol
Silent is Golden | Billy Miller
Engaging Diverse Learners: Arts & UDL in the Classroom (Final Reflection) | Richard Jenkins
Animation, Appropriation and Tech Kids Unlimited | Mark Dzula
Ophelia’s Fort | David Rufo

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I’m interested to hear your thoughts and observations, in real time, or in the future (if you’re coming to us from reading this in print).  ALT/space is built on reflections about individual TA practice, which in turn strengthens our profession as a whole.  Whether you connect to or learn from individual stories or from the patterns that emerge from finding similarities between them, we hope ALT/space is supporting the growth of your own TA practice.

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