It’s always more fun when you enjoy what you’re learning about, and the smiles on the faces of the teachers taking part in the classes at the Berea Festival of Learnshops say that pretty well.
Art teachers from across Kentucky and the country descended on Berea this summer to take classes about different arts and to earn professional learning credits. One woman traveled all the way from Las Vegas to take part in a class about shadow puppetry.
“I came here to get my professional development time in my art field and to take new techniques to my class,” said Diana Williams, an art teacher at Nelson County High School, who was taking the landscape pastels class “This is my fourth time coming here, but I really like it. I really enjoy the classes. It counts as work, but it’s also really fun.”
Other teachers plan on combining different arts to enhance their students’ experience in the classroom, like Laura Wilson, a music teacher at Strode Station Elementary School (Clark County). She is using shadow puppets to highlight the drama in certain musical pieces for her students.
“I use traditional puppets in my classroom, and shadow puppetry is something that I’m interested in but have no training in whatsoever,” said Wilson. “I thought it would be really neat to mix these different cultural arts; the children get to practice on different elements and put the whole story together.”
Wilson also said that she appreciates the workshops because of the opportunity they provide for teachers in the arts to practice and network in their field outside of the normal school setting.
“This is my third year coming here,” Wilson said. “A lot of the professional tools provided to us in schools aren’t really geared to what we do in the arts, it’s much more geared toward reading, math and science. This gives us opportunities to explore our disciplines with artists all over the country. It’s fun and I always walk away with new information.”
The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) publishes Kentucky Teacher to communicate directly with the state’s 40,000 public school teachers. The stories of this award-winning publication include news, perspectives, and practical, workable ideas for guiding students to higher levels of achievement.