Friday, May 30, 2014

Reflections on the Spring 2014 Semester

Reflections on the Spring 2014 Semester
Faculty, Sobha Kavanakudiyil

Maya Angelou said, “Whatever you want to do, if you want to be great at it, you have to love it and be able to make sacrifices for it.” And boy did we do that this semester! 

We saw diligence and hard work, we saw laughter, sacrificing time that could be spent doing something easier, something less time consuming but probably less fulfilling. We are artists with passion, we are educators with strength, we are people who inspire.

Looking back, we began the semester watching Master Theatre Practitioner on Process Drama, Cecily O’Neill work with students from Repertory High School, deepening their understanding of The Inspector General.  Not only an amazing experience to have our candidates work with Cecily but to watch Cecily work with students was so valuable.

Candidates challenged themselves in classes to learn about how to present research, work with inclusive populations, discuss best practices in teaching English Language Learners or Emergent Bilinguals, and learn how to teach technical theatre and the history of theatre. For example in the History of Theatre class, candidates were asked to read the play, understand the history of the play, deepen understanding by making connections with why the play is relevant today, consider why it might be a good choice to produce in a school today, and what challenges producing the play would present.

Candidates were popping up at conferences this semester, as conference coordinators, as volunteers, as learners, as facilitators, as advocates, networking with emerging practitioners as well as experienced ones at events such as the NYU TA Forum, The New York City Arts in Education Roundtable’s Face to Face Conference (held at The City College of New York), and at TIOS in March.

We noticed that many of our candidates have been working in the field as teachers, teaching artists, and administrators; balancing artistry and education as well as school work and life!

We kicked off the end of the semester strong as well!  Family Art Saturdays classes mostly serving children under the age of 4 years; Family Arts Day premiered the Readings on the Road Performances, “Yuki and the Elephant; Hosting a special workshop sponsored by the Office of Arts and Special Projects with International Theatre Practitioners: Michael Finneran and Michael Anderson, open to not only CCNY Ed Theatre, but also the NYU Ed Theatre Community; And of course our Research/Artistic Share – presenting the research in various forms, including ethnodrama and documentary style!

This semester we also honored two of our students, Elizabeth Simmons with The Frances Blumenthal Award in Research and Stacey Bone with the Howard Wexler Scholarship, as well as Program Director, Jennifer Katona receiving the City College President’s Award for Outstanding Faculty Service in the School of Education!

We were reminded this semester of the strength of ensemble, the power of artistry in the joy of the work we do, and that the most inspired educators are those who are life long learners.  As we say goodbye to the semester and to our graduates, we also say goodbye to an inspiring practitioner and so I leave you with this quote from In Releasing the Imagination: Essays on Education, the Arts, and Social Change Maxine Greene said, “In my view, the classroom situation most provocative of thoughtfulness and critical consciousness is one in which teachers and learners find themselves conducting a kind of collaborative search, each from his or her own lived situation.”

To our Spring 2014 Graduates, may you have as strong an ensemble with your students as you have here in the CCNY Ed Theatre Program!
Happy Summer!

**to read about any of the above mentioned events, please go to our blogs:***

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